Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records

What Narcisse Templet left behind

I’ve been reading through successions – or, as you might know them, probate records.

Really, I’m avoiding cleaning out closets and finally parting with those Kate Middleton-style wedges I foolishly bought and then discovered I couldn’t walk in. Seriously. I teetered. I don’t know how she does it. Maybe this is what separates the royals from commoners.

But back to successions. These are a valuable genealogy tool in Louisiana because they contain so much information. They usually contain the death date, summaries of family meetings, the names of the surviving spouse and children (and sometimes grandchildren if a child died before the parent) and a list of property. In the 1800s, the list of property often included every pot and pan in the house.

Narcisse Templet died in 1865. He left a widow, Irene Melancon, and seven surviving children.

After his death, Narcisse’s property was inventoried and sold. Even blankets, rope, flour, spectacles and salt went into the sale pile.

It’s a fascinating look at what he left behind – and what his neighbors snapped up.

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.

Court records, Newspaper articles

A family of four vanishes in south Louisiana

If you flip through one of my mother’s yearbooks, you’ll see handwritten death dates scrawled underneath the pictures of three of her classmates. Brenda, Lucie and Robert Verrett weren’t just her schoolmates. They were her cousins in a Cajun-iffy way.

My mother can explain to you how the Verrett children were related to her. I cannot. Cajun lines tend to crisscross. We treat second and third cousins like regular cousins. It gets confusing.

What I do know is Brenda, Lucie and Robert went to school one Wednesday in 1966, returned home and vanished. Their mother, Barbara, also disappeared. Left behind were a bloody hammer and bloody bedclothes. Someone tried to set a fire inside the house to destroy the gory evidence.

The Verretts weren’t a traditional family. The parents, Robert Sr. and Barbara, were separated or divorced. Barbara took the kids and moved in with a man named Bernardo Mejia. That type of living arrangement might be normal nowadays. In the 1960s, it would have been the talk of the bayou.

I’ve always wondered if the untraditional arrangement caused a delay in the family being reported missing. It wasn’t until Mejia returned home from a fishing trip on Sunday that the police were called. Regardless, I don’t think the outcome would have changed.

Mejia discovered the doors locked and blankets tacked over the windows. His brand new Ford Falcon wasn’t in the driveway. He crawled through a window to get inside. Why didn’t he have his own house keys? Probably because no one bothered locking doors back in those days. They sure didn’t in the 1980s, when I was growing up.

By this point, no one had seen the kids in four days. Barbara was a housewife so her disappearance probably wasn’t as noticeable as the kids not showing up for school.

The Verretts weren’t the only ones missing. Mejia’s cousin, Roy, who was living with them, was nowhere to be found.

Unlike his Mexico-born uncle, Roy was born in Louisiana. His father was Chitimacha Indian. His mother was a Savoie, which means she was Cajun.

Roy had gotten in trouble for raping a woman but lucked out when the charge was lowered to simple battery.

He must have traveled to Mexico frequently because he had a fiancee in Nuevo Laredo. A few weeks before he disappeared, he visited his fiancee. Back in Louisiana, he stayed with his uncle and the Verrett family while working on a visa that would bring his fiancee to Louisiana. Just before the disappearances, the visa application was denied, supposedly because the fiancee was a known prostitute.

No trace of Roy or the Verretts was discovered for days. Heavy rains thwarted the search at first.

Those heavy rains also brought the mystery to an end. They exposed Barbara in the shallow grave where she was buried near Grand Isle. Nearby were the bodies of the three children, lined up in a triangular shape.

According to newspaper reports, Barbara had been strangled and a piece of cheesecloth stuffed in her mouth. Little Robert was shot in the head. The girls had been beaten. All were only partially clothed.

According to court records, all were shot.

As a child, I remember being told the children had gone to bed partially dressed in their school clothes without getting supper. The sense I always got was they didn’t have the best home life. I wish I could remember more about what my granny said.

What I do know is the discovery of the bodies set off a huge manhunt for Roy. He ditched the car in the French Quarter and wandered the swamps until authorities caught up with him. By that point, he was dazed from hunger and offered no resistance.

Roy told police that Barbara angered him by criticizing the woman he planned to marry. Barbara characterized the woman as a whore and questioned why Roy would go to so much trouble to bring her to Louisiana.

That night, everyone went to bed, while Roy simmered. He was furious that Barbara would criticize his fiancee when she was known for frequenting the bars. He grabbed a hammer and went into the bedroom where Barbara was asleep with little Robert. He clubbed her to death and shot Robert when the commotion woke him.

Then, he headed to the girls’ bedroom, where he shot them. He shot Lucie three times but she was slow to die so he hastened her death with the hammer.

After loading the bodies into his uncle’s car, Roy tried to dispose of them in Assumption Parish but got spooked when a truck turned onto the shell road where he was parked. He drove back to Berwick with the bodies still in the car. He tacked blankets over the windows, returned the bodies to the house, walked around town, washed blood from the outside of the car and waited for nightfall.

Under the cover of darkness, he drove to Lafourche Parish, where he dumped the bodies. Then he returned to Berwick and filed his tax return.

Roy was convicted of murder in the Verrett deaths but that wasn’t the end of his adventures.

In 1967, Roy escaped from prison on Easter Sunday. Agents checking on shrimping violations found him 11 days later in the Avery Island Canal near New Iberia. He was just eight miles from open water, where he could have headed to Mexico. He later told reporters he was trying to get to his wife and children in Mexico.

I hate to end this talking about Roy. So, I’ll end it by talking about the Verretts.

They are buried peacefully along the bayou in a little town called Amelia. The children’s school pictures adorn their graves.

Court records, Penisson Family

Henriette Boudreaux Penisson’s will

One of these days, I’ll figure out everything the courthouse offers in the way of genealogy records. I know about successions, coroner’s inquests, conveyances, civil suits, marriage records and criminal cases. Today, I discovered mortgage records.

Tucked into the mortgage records at the Assumption Parish Courthouse in Napoleonville is a will for Henriette Boudreaux Penisson, who died in 1900. I looked for a succession record and couldn’t find one. Why her will would be included in mortgage records is beyond me.

Henriette was my great-great-great grandmother. She brought 10 children into the world.

Here’s page two of her will:

It’s in French so I’ll have to get to work translating it. This will take a bit.

Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records, Montet Family

Marie Josephe Montet Boudreaux

Marie Josephe Montet Boudreaux died in 1844, requiring her widower, Jean Joseph Boudreaux, to inventory her property. From what I can gather, standard practice in the 1800s was for the court to appoint a few men to go out to the house and tally up the household goods.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 9.09.28 PM.png

She wasn’t fabulously wealthy. But the appraisers counted every single kitchen utensil.

Here’s what she left behind:


Three tables

A mantlepiece clock

Demijohns and lard pots

Crockery ware

Kitchen utensils

Carpenter’s tools

Farming utensils

Old iron

Grind stone


Grey horse

Bay horse

Yoke of oxen

2 milk cows

4 sheep

A negro man named George

A tract of land on Bayou Boeuf

$199 in cash

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 9.09.38 PM.png

The inventory also lists the surviving children who were present when the appraisers repaired to the Boudreaux homestead “on the Bayou Boeuf”:

  1. Henriette Adelina, wife of Jean Baptiste Penisson, and her husband (since wives weren’t allowed to authorize anything in those days).
  2. Azelie, wife of Jean Baptiste Giroir
  3. Marie, wife of Robert Love
  4. Pierre Lucien
  5. Felicite, wife of Valgrant Verret
Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records

The drowning of Robert Woodside in 1860 sparked a succession battle longer than the Civil War

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.04.51 PM.pngMost succession records (probate records if you’re not from Louisiana) feature widows, widowers, daughters or sons. The most interesting thing – other than finding an actual death date – is when the widow is in a rush to wrap things up because she wants to remarry.

So I was surprised to come across a succession filed by a steamboat captain in Assumption Parish probate records. But I guess you have to go to the courthouse and fill out paperwork when your passenger jumps overboard and drowns.

Here’s the story of Robert Woodside:

George Washington Ebert was the captain of a steamboat named the Argyle. In 1860, he landed in front of T & E Burbank’s plantation in Assumption Parish. Woodside was onboard but decided to jump from the boat about 10 o’clock on the morning of March 14. He drowned.

Normally, the sheriff would be called and then the undertaker. But Woodside had property with him: a trunk and several slaves. The slaves were Charity, 40; Rosetta, 20, and her young children; Patsy, 20; Cloe, 25, and her young children; and George, 30, and his young daughter. The slaves were carrying bedding, two black trunks, pillows, chairs, a yellow trunk and a churn.

It’s not clear where they were going. Woodside’s plantation was in Mississippi.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.30.19 PM.pngBecause the accident happened in front of Edward Burbank’s plantation, the slaves were placed under his guardianship. Meanwhile, the court started sorting out Woodside’s estate. This would drag on for years – so many years, in fact, that the Civil War was fought and settled while Robert Woodside’s succession case raged on.

The case is a fascinating read. Woodside was a bachelor it was eventually determined. This took some time to sort out because how much do you know about a man from out of town who drowns in your bayou?

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.27.36 PM.pngWhat Woodside did have in abundance (not including slaves) were siblings. The brothers were James, Thomas, William, John, Alexander and Samuel. The sisters were Nancy, Jane and Sarah. Most of them were dead but some of them left children. It all had to be sorted out, which meant calling in witnesses to figure out the family tree. Woodside had relatives scattered across Louisiana and the southern U.S.

Meanwhile, Burbank was demanding compensation for the slaves freed by Mr. Lincoln and Captain Ebert wanted compensation for his services. It was a tangled web.


Court records, Genealogy tools

Louisiana courthouse records online, M-Z

Here are the rest of the online records available at I’ve broken them down by parish.

Often times, you have to go to an LDS library to look at the records on a library computer. Other times, you can explore to your heart’s content from home while watching 1980s episodes of “Miss Marple.” Or whatever cranks your tractor.

I’ve included scanned in books with parish history.  Also, I’m including cemetery records, which might seem pointless now that we have However, headstones fall into disrepair and become unreadable. It’s often useful to look at old transcriptions.


No records available without going to a library


Marriage records, 1875-1899

Private land claims


Black Lake Full Gospel Cemetery

DeSoto Columbian, 1836-1858

Driver’s licenses, 1918

1898 voter registrations

Flora School, 1915-1916

Legal records, 1739-1769

Marriages, 1810-1820

Marriages, 1813-1817

Marriages, 1821-1823

Marriage licenses, 1915

Medical licenses, 1870-1919

Natchitoches Courier, 1825

Natchitoches Enterprise, 1890

Natchitoches Times, 1906 

Natchitoches Times, 1915

1898 voter registrations

Poll taxes, 1912

Sons of the American Revolution


Autopsy records, 1904-1924

Birth records

Case papers, 1846-1880

Death certificates, 1854-1869

Death records

Death records with index

Directory, 1870-1873

Emancipation dockets, 1827-1915

Estate files, 1804-1856

Index to St. Louis Cathedral marriages, 1720-1730

Index to successions, 1805-1880

Index to successions, emancipations, interdictions, 1894-1902

Index to wills and successions, 1807-1846

Indigent insanes, 1909-1915

Inquests, 1844-1916

Insane asylum commitments, 1882-1919

Insanity cases, 1884-1894

Justice of the Peace marriage index cards

Marriage ledgers

Marriage licenses

Marriage licenses, 1834-1888

Masonic Lodge Cemetery

Missing persons, 1906-1925

Naturalization records

New Orleans directory

Newspaper marriage index


Obituaries scrap album

Odd Fellow’s Rest Cemetery

Parish court cases, 1813-1851

Poisonings and rapes, 1881-1895

Protestant cemetery records

Registration of foreign born citizens

Requests for release of bodies to funeral homes, 1910-1924

Vital records

Voting registration records, 1891-1952


Index to marriages

Index to probate records, 1800-1870


1810 Census

Pointe Coupee

Early marriages


Amiable Baptist Church minutes

Rapides Parish history

Red River

No records available without going to a library.


No records available without going to a library.


History of Sabine Parish

St. Bernard

Parish records

St. Charles

No records available without going to a library.

St. Helena

Echoes from the past

Family records

Marriage licenses, 1840-1849

Succession records, 1804-1854

St. James

No records available without going to a library.

St. John the Baptist

Biographical sketches

Clerk of Court records

St. Landry

Alienation record index, 1877-1879

Conveyances, 1805-1817

Conveyances, 1817-1821

Conveyances, 1821-1819

Conveyances, 1829-1841

Conveyance index, 1805-1891

Index to successions, 1808-1971

Marriage records

Misc. records

Naturalization and immigration records

Probate records, 1889-1893

St. Martin

Marriage records

St. Mary

Ledger of tax collector, 1821-1868

Records of Attakapas District

St. Tammany

Cemetery records

Dubuisson Cemetery

Marriage index

Marriage records

Marriage records


Grace Memorial Cemetery

Legal records


No records available without going to a library.


Deeds, 1827

Marriage records

St. Eloi Cemetery


1850 Census

History of Union Parish

Marriages, 1839-1852


Marceaux Family Cemetery

New Catholic Cemetery in Abbeville

Shell Beach Cemetery

St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery


Hixon funeral home records

Vernon Parish cemeteries


Cemetery records

Legal records, 1891-1897

Mt. Nebo Baptist Church minutes


Marriage records, 1871-1900

Webster Parish centennial, 1871-1971

West Baton Rouge

No records available without going to a library.

West Carroll

No records available without going to a library.

West Feliciana

No records available without going to a library.


Briley’s memorial history and cemetery director of Winn Parish

Court records, Genealogy tools

Louisiana courthouse records online, A-L has a bit of a treasure trove when it comes to parish court records in its online card catalog. Unfortunately – frustratingly – only some of them are accessible from home. For the rest, you have to go to a Church of Latter Day Saints’ library computer.

Here’s a list of what’s available by parish without leaving home. To find them, go the website’s catalog and search using this format: United States, Louisiana, (PARISH)


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Index to marriages, 1913-1983

Marriage records, 1913-1928


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Conveyance records, 1813-1832

Conveyance records, 1852-1855

Donation records, 1867-1875

Index to probate, 1813-1971

Inventory of estates, 1788-1852

Marriage index, 1800-1971

Marriage records, 1790-1926

Record book of slaves, 1813-1844

Successions, 1855-1872, 1880

Wills, 1841-1879


No court records currently available without going to a library.


No court records currently available without going to a library.


No court records currently available without going to a library.


No court records currently available without going to a library.


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Marriage records

Succession files, 1840-1927


No court records currently available without going to a library.


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Descendants of John Dosher


Church minutes of Mt. Paron Primitive Baptist Church

History of Claiborne Parish


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Courthouse records index

Grove Hill church records

Marriage license records, 1843-1900

East Baton Rouge

No court records currently available without going to a library.

East Carroll

No court records currently available without going to a library.

East Feliciana

Diary of Evans Dunn

Life and times of Robert Benton

Sketches of pioneers


Donation index, 1911-1946

Index to marriages, 1912-1950

La voix des Prairies

Marriage records


Index to Marriage Book A

Notarial records


Biographical sketches


Index to probate, 1861-1971

Index to successions, from 1868

Marriage index, 1868-1971

Miscellaneous book, 1868-1892

Vendor index L-Z, 1868-1932 


1830s entries for land claims

Police Jury minutes


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Card index of funeral records for Mothe Funeral Home, 1933-1991

Marriage certificates, 1846-1856

Marriage certificates, 1865-1877

Minutes to probate records, 1825-1836

Police Jury minutes

Jefferson Davis

Cemetery records

Index to marriages, 1913-1970

Stories of Jefferson Davis Parish


No court records currently available without going to a library.


Abstracts from the courthouse


Index of marriage records, 1910-1936


Marriage and cemetery records


No court records currently available without going to a library.

Court records

District court report in Donaldsonville Chief on Dec. 30, 1871

Adjourned Session-Hon. Raphael Beauvais, Judge.
We continue the synopsis of business transacted at the District Court
Tuesday of last week:

Lapene & Ferre rs. No. 1311, Alex. 0. Landry, Ursin Babin, intervenor; Nicholls & Pugh, attorneys for plaintiff, Fred. Duffel, Esq., attorney for intervenor; on motion of defendant’s attorney, this case was fixed for trial Friday, the 22nd inst.

Augustin Allenian ves. No. 1779, Joseph Ferrier; Nicholls & Pugh, attorneys for plaintiff, R. N. Sims, Esq., for defendant; on motion of attorney for defendant the judgment for default rendered herein was set aside and answered filed; case fixed for Wednesday.

John M. Lusk, administrator, vs. No. 1786, James D. Henderson et als; R. N. Sims, Esq., attorney for plaintiff; judgment by default entered against defendant.

Victor Maurin ef ale vs. 1778, The Common Council of Donaldsonville;
R. N. Sims, Esq., for plaintiffs, Nicholls & Pugh, for defendants; on motion, leave was granted defendants to file a motion to dissolve the injunction herein, fixed for Thursday.

E. Marqueze & Co. rs. No. 1789, V. Paul Landry and A. T. Gautrcau;
Legendre & Poche for plaintiffs; judgment by default against defendants.

Victor Maurin et als vs. No. 1793; Charles F. Smith, Tax Collector of Ascension parish; R. N. Sims, Esq., attorney for plaintiffs, Fred. Duffel, Esq., for defendant; leave granted defendant to file answer, and case fixed for Friday.

Jean Lapeyrolery vs. No. 1796, Edward Braud, fils; John A. Cheevers,
Esq., attorney for plaintiff; judgment by default entered.

Raphael Mousse vs. No. 1799, The May or and Common Council of Donaldsonville; Nicholls & Pugh, attorneys for defendants; exception filed by defendants, and case fixed for

J. B. Leche vs. No. 1800, J. B. Arthur Claverie; Nicholls & Pugh, attorneys for plaintiff; judgment by default entered against defendant.

Azelie Babin, wife of Phirmin Duplessis, .t ale vs. No. 1801, Widow James Anderson ; Nicholls & Pugh for plaintiffs; judgment by default against defendant entered.

McCall Bros. vs No. 1806, J. B. Wilkinson et als; on motion of R. N.
Sims, Esq., attorney for plaintiffs, this case was fixed instanter and judgment
rendered against defendants asprayed for in plaintiffs’ petition.

The Grand Jury now came into the court and presented the following report of the result of their labors :

State of Louisiana vs. John Carr; indictment for horse stealing. A true bill.

State of Louisiana vs. Boston Hewsley; indictment for throwing concentrated lie with malicious intent. A true bill.

State of Louisiana vs. Morgan Mitchell and James Lewis; indictment for an affiay. A true bill.

State of Louisiana rs. John Curtis; indictment for horse stealing. Not a true bill.

To the Honorable Raphael Beauvais, Judge of the Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Ascension: The Grand Jurors of the State of Louisiana in and for the Parish of Ascension respectfully represent, that we have visited the perish prison and find it in a good and clean condition; the prisoners are well and sufficiently fed with good, healthy victuals, and expressed themselves satisfied. We have also examined the Courthouse, the Recorder’s office and the Clerk’s office. The former is in a good state of repair and only requires caps to be placed over the chimney. The Recorder’s office and the records therein are in a tolerable state of preservation, except the index, which is old, worm eaten and all loose, and which should be made as the law requires. We would further recommend that an iron safe be purchased for the safe keeping of valuable papers, notes, etc., which may be deposited with the Recorder, and which might also be used by the Clerk of the Court as a place of deposit. We would also recommend that iron bars be fixed to the transoms over the doors of the Clerk’s and Sheriff’s office.

Signed: G. GAUTREAU,

It was ordered by-the court that a copy of the above report be served on
the President of the Police Jury of Ascension Parish.

The court now adjourned until Wednesday, the 20th instant, at 10 o’clock A. M.
We defer publishing additional proceedings until next week.