Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy
Guide to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana|
Location in the state of Louisiana, United States Genealogy
Location of Louisiana in the U.S.
|Founded||March 24, 1840|
|County Seat||Lake Charles|
|Address||1015 Pithon Street|
PO Box 1583
Lake Charles, LA 70602
- 1 Parish Information
- 2 Parish Courthouse
- 3 Calcasieu Parish Organization
- 4 Places / Localities
- 5 Records and Resources
- 5.1 African American
- 5.2 Bible Records
- 5.3 Biographies
- 5.4 Cemeteries
- 5.5 Census Information
- 5.6 Church Records
- 5.7 Land and Property
- 5.8 Local Histories
- 5.9 Maps
- 5.10 Military
- 5.11 Newspapers
- 5.12 Obituaries
- 5.13 Probate Records
- 5.14 Repositories
- 5.15 Taxation
- 5.16 Vital Records
- 6 Societies
- 7 Websites
- 8 Thanks to the Calcasieu Wiki Contributors
- 9 References
Parish Information[edit | edit source]
Description[edit | edit source]
The County was named for the Atakapa word for crying eagle. The County has Lake Charles as its seat and the County was created March 24, 1840. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Record Dates[edit | edit source]
Parish Courthouse[edit | edit source]
Calcasieu Parish Organization[edit | edit source]
Historical Facts[edit | edit source]
When Louisiana became a state, the large, sparsely settled area between the Atchafalaya and Sabine rivers was designated St. Landry Parish. As the parish became more populated, settlers began to complain about the long horse or wagon journey they had to make to Opelousas. By 1840, the area had enough settlers that the Louisiana Legislature took note of their complaints and created a new parish out of the southwest corner of St. Landry Parish. The new parish was named Calcasieu in honor of the region's principal river. 
The name Calcasieu (pronounced Cal-ca-shoo) comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this name. 
Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]
In 1870, Imperial Calcasieu underwent the first of two reorganizations. On 16 March 1870, Louisiana Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth signed an act providing for the creation of Cameron Parish from land then lying in both Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes.
The May 3, 1912, issue of the American Press reported: "In one of the most representative meetings ever held in the state, as well as one of the most harmonious, it was decided at the parish convention in this city [Lake Charles] last night to divide Imperial Calcasieu parish into four parishes. Amicable agreements were made upon the lines of division."
The divisions were as follows:
- Part set off for Jefferson Davis Parish 12 June 1912.
- Part set off for Beauregard Parish 12 Jun 1912.
- Various parts taken to add to other existing parishes, Rapides 1852, St. Landry 1852, Vermilion 1871, Allen 1912.
For animated maps illustrating Louisiana Parish boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Louisiana Parish Boundary Maps" (1805-1990) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
Record Loss[edit | edit source]
1910 The parish courthouse, as well as most of downtown Lake Charles, was destroyed by a disastrous fire on April 23. Many of the records of the parish were burned or damaged.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
- Burned Counties. By Michael John Neill at 24-7 Family History Circle.
- When the Records are Gone. By Arlene Eakle at Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Blog.
- Burned Counties Research in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
Places / Localities[edit | edit source]
Populated Places[edit | edit source]
For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:
Records and Resources[edit | edit source]
African American[edit | edit source]
- African American Resources for Louisiana - Links to Family History Library and Online Resources
- African American Cemeteries, listing by county
Bible Records[edit | edit source]
- Calcasieu Parish Bible Records (USGenWeb Archives)
Biographies[edit | edit source]
- Index to Calcasieu Parish Biographies (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish Biographies (Genealogy Trails)
Cemeteries[edit | edit source]
The following web sites may have additional information on Calcasieu Parish cemeteries.
Census Information[edit | edit source]
- 1840 1840 Census - Text; 1840 Census - Images (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1850 1850 Census - Text (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish Census Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish Census Quick Facts
Church Records[edit | edit source]
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Louisiana denominations, view the Louisiana Church Records wiki page.
- Early Churches of Calcasieu Parish (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish Church Records (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Current Churches of Calcasieu Parish (USGenWeb Archives)
List of Churches and Church Parishes
Land and Property[edit | edit source]
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Louisiana Land and Property for additional information about early Louisiana land ownership. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse where records are also currently housed.
Local Histories[edit | edit source]
Local histories are available for Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories see the wiki page section Louisiana Local Histories.
- A Timeline History of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana
- Calcasieu Parish history information (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish places on the National Register of Historic Places
- On This Day in Southwest Louisiana History
- Thomas Rigmaiden's Diary - Thomas Rigmaiden, Imperial Calcasieu's first school teacher, kept a diary from 1836 to 1865. The diary entries are a great resource about the people and events of early Calcasieu Parish.
- Calcasieu Parish History Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish LA Historical Records (ldsgenealogy.com)
Maps[edit | edit source]
- Maps of Louisiana (1805-1990)
- Family Maps of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
- 1895 Map of Calcasieu Parish
- GIS Maps of Calcasieu Parish - Downloadable/printable pdf maps, including cities, political districts, parks and Government buildings.
Military[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]
- 1861-1865 - Louisiana Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection
- 1861-1865 - Louisiana Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- 1883 - Calcasieu Parish Pensioners on the Rolls as of January 1, 1883 (Genealogy Trails)
- 1898-1950 - Louisiana Confederate Pensions, 1898-1950 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- Confederate Pension Applications - The Louisiana Secretary of State's searchable database contains over 49,000 names that were included in pension applications submitted to the Board of Pension Commissioners.
World War I[edit | edit source]
- 1917-1920 - Louisiana World War I Service Records, 1917-1920 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
World War II[edit | edit source]
- 1940-1945 - Louisiana First Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1940-1945 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- Calcasieu Parish, World War II Casualties, Army and Air Force
Newspapers[edit | edit source]
- Lake Charles American Press - Online subscriptions or day passes to the ePaper allow users to search the entire archives.
- Chronicling America - Calcasieu Parish - Directory of Calcasieu Parish newspapers, Library of Congress website
- Calcasieu Parish News Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish Newspapers and Obituaries (ldsgenealogy.com)
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
Obituaries[edit | edit source]
- Calcasieu Parish Newspapers and Obituaries (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Calcasieu Parish Obituaries and Death Notices (Genealogy Trails)
- Calcasieu Parish Obituary Records (USGenWeb Archives)
Probate Records[edit | edit source]
Probate records before 1845 were kept in probate courts. Since 1845, they have been kept by the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy clerk of the district court. Many of the probate records are included in the notarial records with the deeds and mortgages. In some parishes they are known as “succession” records.
See the Wiki page Louisiana Probate Records for more information about probate records in Louisiana.
Content: Probate records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, and adoptions.
Online Probate Records
Repositories[edit | edit source]
Public Libraries[edit | edit source]
- Calcasieu Parish Public Library
411 Pujo St.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
- Louisiana Digital Library
Online library containing photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, and oral histories that document history and culture
- McNeese State University Archives and Special Collections
Taxation[edit | edit source]
Louisiana tax records can be used in place of missing censuses and provide lists of residents during years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years. For more information, see Louisiana Taxation.
Vital Records[edit | edit source]
Louisiana statewide registration of birth and death records began in 1911. Births and deaths are kept by the Louisiana Vital Records Registry. Marriages were recorded by each parish, and the records are at the parish clerk of court office. See also How to order Louisiana Vital Records or order electronically online.
See Louisiana Vital Records for more information on getting Louisiana records.
Louisiana Records and Statistics Information ~ where and how to order information.
Birth[edit | edit source]
Birth records going back 100 years are housed by the Calcasieu Parish Health Unit. Phone: 337-478-6020.
- Calcasieu Parish Birth Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish LA Birth Records (ldsgenealogy.com)
Marriage[edit | edit source]
- 1837-1957 - Louisiana, Parish Marriages, 1837-1957 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- Calcasieu Parish LA Marriage Records (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Calcasieu County Marriage Announcements (Genealogy Trails)
- Calcasieu Parish Marriage Records (USGenWeb Archives)
Death[edit | edit source]
- 1850-1875, 1894-1960 - Louisiana Deaths, 1850-1875, 1894-1960 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- Death records - Louisiana Secretary of State - Search the Louisiana death records database and order certified copies of death certificates for deaths that occurred in Louisiana over 50 years ago. Search by deceased's name, parish or month of death.
- Calcasieu Parish LA Death Records (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Calcasieu Parish Death Records (USGenWeb Archives)
Societies[edit | edit source]
- Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society
PO Box 1214
1635 Hodges St.
Lake Charles, LA 70601-6016
- Brimstone Museum and Historical Society
800 Picard Rd
Sulphur, LA 70663-4362
- Starks Historical Society
664 Old River Road
Starks, LA 70661
- Brimstone Historical Society - Sulphur
- Louisiana Historical Society
- The Southwest Louisiana Genealogy Society, Inc.
- Daughters of the American Revolution
Louisiana Chapter Locator
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.
Local Centers and Libraries
Websites[edit | edit source]
- Louisiana Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- FamilySearch.org FamilySearch Catalog for Calcasieu Parish.
- Calcasieu Parish LAGenWeb Project, a member of The LAGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (USGenWeb Archives)
- Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Calcasieu Parish Marriage Project - transcriptions of marriage applications and other marriage records as recorded in the parish court house and state archives.
- Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, Genealogy and History (Genealogy Trails)
Thanks to the Calcasieu Wiki Contributors
[edit | edit source]
Anyone can be a contributor. Contributors are people who write and edit the pages for FamilySearch Wiki. Thanks to the following contributors for helping to build this page (in alpha order). Help grow the wiki and add content today!
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Calcasieu, Louisiana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcasieu_Parish,_Louisiana."
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Page 289-293 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 267-268.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed., Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana p. 289 (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Benoit, Robert. "The Division of Imperial Calcasieu." Lake Charles American Press. 15 Jan. 1989.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcasieu_Parish,_Louisiana, accessed 31 December 2019.