Louisiana History

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Parish Formation[edit | edit source]

Parish Formation and Dates

Brief History[edit | edit source]

The following important events in the history of Louisiana affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

  • 1714: The first settlement was established at Natchitoches.
  • 1717-1722: Forced immigration from France brought a few thousand settlers. A few thousand more, attracted by free land, came from German-speaking areas of Europe. The importation of African slaves began.
  • 1718: New Orleans was founded.
  • 1731: French crown colony
  • 1735: Chickasaw Indian Wars
  • 1755-1785: After they had been expelled from Nova Scotia, 5,000 French-speaking Acadians settled in Louisiana.
  • 1763: France ceded Louisiana to Spain, after the French and Indian War.
  • 1769: Spain took control of Louisiana and began new record-keeping procedures.
  • 1782:
  • 1803: The Louisiana area was purchased by the United States from France. Although France owned Louisiana between 1800
  • 1803 it was still administered by Spain until just before the United States took possession.
  • 1804: The territory was divided, using the 33rd parallel as the boundary. The northern portion became the District of Louisiana, and the southern portion became the Territory of Orleans.
  • 1805-1807: (March 3,) The Territory of Orleans was divided into counties, but the functions of the counties were soon taken over by smaller civil divisions called parishes, which followed the boundaries of the old Spanish ecclesiastical parishes.
  • 1810: Spanish West Florida between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers, including Baton Rouge, was occupied by the United States and became part of the Territory of Orleans.
  • 1812:
  • 1835:  The Caddo Indians ceded their land in northwestern Louisiana a moved to the Brazos River area in Texas.
  • 1836-1837:  Sabine Indian War
  • 1844:
  • 1860: Census recorded 400,000 slaves
  • 1861: Louisiana seceded from the Union. It was readmitted in 1868.
  • 1898: Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
  • 1910-1920: Great Migration of African Americans to the north (240,000)
  • 1917–1918: More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
  • 1930's: The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
  • 1940–1945: Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
  • 1950–1953: Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
  • 1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
  • 1964–1972: Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.

Historical Content[edit | edit source]

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, parishes, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies.

  • A Bibliography of American County Histories [1][2]
  • United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress [3][4]

State Histories Useful to Genealogists[edit | edit source]

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, parish, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Louisiana are:

  • Louisiana: A Narrative History [6]
  • A History of Louisiana [7]

United States History[edit | edit source]

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [8][9]This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [10][11]This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [12][13][14]This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Louisiana's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Louisiana history." FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search lists many more histories under topics like:


Websites[edit | edit source]

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Louisiana, Parish Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. FHL book 973 H23bi
  2. {[WorldCat|12356760|disp= at various libraries (WorldCat)}}
  3. Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. FHL book 973 A3ka
  4. At various libraries (WorldCat)
  5. Louisiana History, By Florence M. Jumonville; Compiled by Florence M. Jumonville, Edition: reprint, illustrated, Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002;ISBN 0313282404, 9780313282409, 782 pages.
  6. Davis, Edwin Adams. Louisiana: A Narrative History. 2d ed. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Claitor's Book Store, 1965. FHL book 976.3 H2d
  7. Fortier, Alcee. A History of Louisiana. 4 vols. New York, NY: Manzi, Joyant, and Co., 1903.FHL film 1036330 items 1-4
  8. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. FHL book 973 H2alm
  9. At various libraries (Worldcat)
  10. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. FHL book 973 H2ad
  11. At various libraries (Worldcat)
  12. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G and C Merriam, 1971. FHL book 973 H2v
  13. Limited view at Google Books
  14. At various libraries (Worldcat)
  15. Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w
  16. At various libraries (Worldcat)