Wednesday, October 9, 2013
In July 2013, I started on the journey of tracing my maternal grandmothers back to Africa. I found my g-grandmother (Victoria) in the censuses of 1900-1940 with not much problem. Then the first wall! I could not find anyone before 1900. I then turned to the Catholic records. Hint for those in south Louisiana - even if you are not Catholic today, your relatives could have been. I found the baptism records for Vicotoria, which was the information that turned out to be the most critical in my search up to now. That record gave me her date of birth (1866) as well as her mother and father's names (at that point, I did not know the names of her parents or the correct year of birth). So, I printed out the 1880 census for the parish (Pointe Coupee) and looked line by line for over a month. I gave up and decided to go line by line in the 1870 census for two weeks. EUREKA!!! I found an entry that matched the data from the Catholic record. Another piece of information in the Catholic record was that my family resided at a certain white residence. Could this be the plantation they lived on before the slaves were freed? Long story short, it was and I have now found my g-g-g-grandparents (Clair Jeanpierre- born 1839/40 and Vincent Jeanpierre born 1835/6) all the way back to the 1840 Slave Schedule on the plantation belonging to the person referenced in the baptism record. The Catholic Diocese also gave me a record of Vincent's parents with their births going back to 1810. So, I have now have covered from 2013 to 1810 (over 200 years) on my maternal side. The reason I could not find them in the 1870 and 1880 censuses by the last name is because the census taker reversed Vincent's name. Next step, take a trip the courthouse in New Roads, Louisisana. This is scheduled for maybe November/December.