Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records

Women didn’t go to the courthouse in 1853 … unless their husband was dead

I’ve noticed something while looking through court records over the years. First, it’s amazing how few of my ancestors knew how to sign their name. Second, husbands always got the chore of going to the courthouse. Unless they were dead of course.

In 1853, Marie Melanie Gautreaux had to let the court know that she had given her children and stepson their share of their father’s estate. As an aside, I believe Louisiana law dictates the surviving spouse gets half and the children split the other half if no will is written. I’ve been told this is a holdover from French possession, but I have no idea if this is true.

Anyhoo, this document tells me a number of things, which is why I love succession (or probate) records.

  1. It lists the daughters alive at the time and their spouses.
  2. It lists the sons alive at the time.
  3. It mentions a deceased son but not all of the deceased children. That means Julien died after his father but before this document was filed.

This document isn’t in the succession record itself. It’s in what are called Original Acts that have been wonderfully translated from French to English (big thank you for that). Dig when you go to the courthouse. Look through all of the index books: successions/probate, marriage, conveyance, civil suits, etc. You never know what you might find.

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