The first explorers to come to Louisiana were Spanish. They came to the area in the 1500s, beginning in 1519 with Alvarez Pineda. In 1528, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca followed. Then, in 1541, the area was explored by Hernando de Soto. More than 100 years later, in 1682, the area was claimed for Louis XIV of France by Sieur de la Salle.
In 1731, Louisiana gained its status as a crown colony of France. However, the area was ceded to Spain two years later, when the French and Indian Wars came to a close. In 1764, the part of Louisiana that lies to the Mississippi River’s east fell under the control of Great Britain. In 1800, France reclaimed control of the reason. However, Napoleon sold it to the United States three years later. The southern section of the region, which was called Orleans Territory at the time, was made a state in 1812, becoming Louisiana as we know it today.
The State of Louisiana was named by the French explorer Sieur de La Salle in 1682 to honor King Louis XIV of France. The State Nickname is “Sportsman’s Paradise” (formally Pelican State). The State Motto is “Union, Justice, and Confidence ” .
Getting Started with Louisiana Genealogy and Family Trees
How to Search for Louisiana genealogy Data – Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi, and position within the southernmost regions of the United States has combined to give Louisiana a very long and diverse history. Most people are well aware of the different cultures that come together in the state, and many also have some sort of familial connection to the region. There is a lot of demand for materials for Louisiana genealogy research, but it does take a bit of preparation to know how to obtain it effectively.
Best Ways of Searching for Louisiana genealogy Data – In this day and age when we need to “look something up” we don’t wait to head to the library, but will instead use a mobile device with Internet service or a regular computer. This is something that genealogists can do as well thanks to the impressive amount of digitized material available. Consider that in searching for Louisiana genealogy information you can head online and use Louisiana’s resources to begin acquiring facts and copies of the materials needed.
Remember, however, that just because there are so many resources online it does not also imply that ALL of the information for Louisiana genealogy is available in this format. Though Louisiana has a large number of convenient resources, there are still many organizations and groups that have yet to digitize their collections. This means that your research for Louisiana genealogy materials will also have to incorporate offline locations.
It is extremely efficient for a genealogist to learn about the tools to use for Louisiana genealogy, and how to recognize which are online resources, and which are not.
A Modern Method for Louisiana genealogy Research – It is the public records to so easily qualify as the most frequently used resources for Louisiana genealogy, and they are found in the following places:
- Local Records – state research will normally begin in a county clerk’s office or website, and then head to the historical societies, local genealogical societies, small local libraries, and school or college libraries for Louisiana genealogy data. These are materials that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
- Vital Records – these will always cover the basic birth, marriage, divorce, and death records from county, state, and national archives. These might also contain cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, military records, immigration and naturalization details, and passenger lists and records as well. These are going to be available as online or offline resources for Louisiana genealogy.
- State Records – from probate information to private manuscripts, surname lists, newspapers, state census information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, maps, estate information, genealogical folders, death records, deeds, birth certificates, cemetery information and more, such records are available as online and offline resources for Louisiana genealogy.
The Very Best Resources for Louisiana genealogy – To be successful, you will need to learn which resources work for Louisiana genealogy projects. Below we have indicated some of the best for Louisiana genealogy:
- Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry, P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160; Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/louisiana.htm .
This is where anyone can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even online.
Additional state and local records can be found at the:
- Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809; Website: http://www.sos.la.gov/tabid/83/Default.aspx .
With its impressively long history, the state of Louisiana has a huge amount of material available for Louisiana genealogy research. Currently it is possible to access passenger manifests, a Confederate database, an array of vital records, and more through their website.
Also, consider using the Louisiana State Library’s Page at: http://www.state.lib.la.us/.
Finally, these popular websites provide a tremendous amount of state-specific details to those in search of details for Louisiana genealogy projects.
- Family History Library (familysearch.org)
- RAOGK Volunteers for Louisiana (raogk.org)
- Louisiana Genealogy Network Community (plus.google.com)
- Louisiana State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Encyclopedia of Louisiana (knowla.org)
- The Louisiana Family Group Sheet Project (fgs-project.com)
- USGenweb – Louisiana Genealogy (lagenweb.org)
- Free GenForum Message Boards – Louisiana (genforum.genealogy.com)
- Free Rootsweb Message Boards – Louisiana (boards.ancestry.com)
- Cyndis List Louisiana Links (cyndislist.com)
- Louisiana Mailing List (rootsweb.ancestry.com)
- Louisiana American History and Genealogy Project (usgennet.org)
- Louisiana Migrations Project (alabamagen.bravepages.com)
- Louisiana (wikipedia.org)
- Louisiana Genealogy Look Ups (geneasearch.com)
- USGenWeb Archives Project for Louisiana (usgwarchives.net)
Louisiana Ethnic Group Research
An impressive array of primary source materials exists, in addition to the census materials cited above, in both parish offices and at the Louisiana State University collections in Baton Rouge. In addition, a major ethnic group in Louisiana, the Creoles de couleur, has a unique place in its history.
The Amistad Research Center, located in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library of Tulane University, provides resources on the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights.
Both Louisiana State University and offices in each parish hold extensive collections of source materials relating to African Americans. There is also a lot of information available about the “Creoles de couleur.” in various Louisiana archives and repositories.
Researchers should check the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library for information on civil rights and human relations relative to African Americans in Louisiana.
African-American genealogical guides can also be found on the website for the New Orleans Public Library. The Louisiana Division Special Collections and the African American Resource Center should also be consulted, as well as the New Orleans City Archives.
- African American Resource Center (nutrias.org)
- Guide to African-American genealogy sources in its Louisiana (nutrias.org)
- The Forgotten People: Cane River’s Creoles of Color (amazon.com)
- Louisiana African American Books (amazon.com)
Louisiana was home to many Native Americans long before the French or Spanish settled there. Currently, there are members of several tribes in Louisiana, including the following: Choctaw, Chitimacha, Tunica-Biloxi, Houma, Coushatta.
Both civil records and church records often list Native Americans.
- Louisiana Native American Books (amazon.com)