Genealogy tools

FamilySearch Digital Library

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 6.23.33 PM.pngFamily Search has a nice collection of digital books, including a huge selection focusing on Louisiana. Here’s the handy dandy link:

I love libraries, but sometimes it’s hard to visit between the demands at work and home. Plus, not every book is available at every library. Still, libraries should exist forever.

Now that’s that clear, here’s a sampling of what Family Search’s digital library has.

Death notices from Assumption Parish. These were the granddaddy of obituaries. In the days when newspapers weren’t printed daily (wait … in the days before newspapers were printed daily), these would be handed out to alert folks about funerals:

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Succession records from St. Helena Parish:

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And more! Happy exploring!!!


Genealogy tools, Montet Family

Inflation calculator

I know that Joseph Florentin Montet (my ancestor) left an estate worth $10,278.39 when he died in 1886. But I don’t know what that really means.

An inflation calculator helps. Here’s a handy dandy one: 

Are you ready to find out if he was a rich man or a poor man? Are you excited?

He was worth about $279,000. The cash he had on hand would be about $43,000 in today’s dollars.

Isn’t math fun?


Genealogy tools

Death from teething?

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The grave photographed above belongs to Louisa Catherine Adams, the daughter of John Quincy Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams Sr. Little Louisa is buried in Russia, where she died while her father was working abroad.

I’m reading a book about a journey that Louisa Sr. took from St. Petersburg to Paris shortly after the fall of Napoleon. It’s a fascinating read of tsars, wolves, thick forests, icy rivers and fields littered with unburied soldiers. Included in the book is a recounting of little Louisa’s death.

According to history, little Louisa died of teething when seven of her teeth came in at once. She was just a year old. Obviously, they didn’t have Baby Orajel back then, but I squirmed uncomfortably at a description of the lancing of the baby’s gums before she died. And, I wondered: Can babies actually die from teething? I’ve seen this cause of death before in my own family tree.

Admittedly, teething is no picnic for mom or baby. It involves a lot of drool and tears. But, again, can it be fatal?

Hippocrates himself – physicians take his oath to this day – linked teething to convulsions, fever and loose bowels. Queen Anne’s personal physician believed infants had a 10% chance of dying from teething. Anne, it should be noted, was pregnant 17 times and outlived all of her children.

My point is parents used to be terrified that their infants would die from teething.

Nowadays, doctors scratch their heads at the fear over cutting a tooth. Some have suggested historic babies actually died from SIDS. That wouldn’t have been the case for little Louisa, who suffered for days before dying. There was nothing sudden about her death.

The likeliest explanation is that the teething caused a high fever that just couldn’t be controlled in those days or that the death was coincidental to the teething. Be thankful for antibiotics.


Genealogy tools, Montet Family

Montes who aren’t Montets

In researching the Montet family, I often look at what could be misspellings of the name. Sometimes I strike gold. Other times, I find Montes who aren’t Montets.

That’s what happened when I looked at New Orleans death records. I’m sharing what I found in case they’re useful to someone else.

Here’s Mary Alice Monte, the daughter of John R. Monte and Alice Scroggins:


John and Alice also lost a son:


Genealogy tools

Alexandria in 1872

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 12.33.58 PM.pngHere’s a fascinating map of the town of Alexandria in 1872. Before the population explosion that started around 1900, mapmakers could be very detailed.

The entire map is here:,0.062,0.15,0.095,0

But I’ve zoomed in to show you just how detailed it is.

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Can you see yet what it shows? I’ll zoom in more.

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Yep! It has actual names. I’m not sure if these were businesses or residences. My guess is it was a mixture of both.



Genealogy tools, Military Records

Mathew Brady’s Civil War Photos

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Mathew Brady – or someone in his team – captured this image of Oscar James Dunn, who was lieutenant governor of Louisiana and the first African American lieutenant governor in the U.S. It’s said he died of arsenic poisoning.

No doubt, you’ve heard of Mathew Brady. He was a photographer who captured invaluable images of the Civil War.

His photos are free – at least for now = on Fold3.

I looked for my g-g-grandfather, J.S. Hebert. Alas, I didn’t find him.

But I did find a little bit of a dispute between the National Archives and the descendants of William Jasper Blackburn.

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Is this John or William?

This photo is identified as John A. S. Blackburn. The family says it’s actually William Jasper Blackburn, who represented Louisiana in Congress.

The only other photo of William Jasper that I could find is on his findagrave page. And it’s the same Mathew Brady photo. So I don’t know who’s right.


Genealogy tools

Louisiana Digital Library

Did you know that Louisiana offers an online, digital library with “more than 144,000 digital items from Louisiana archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories, making unique historical treasure accessible to students, researchers, and the general public in Louisiana and across the globe?”

Sounds exciting, huh?

So let’s see what’s there. First, here’s the handy dandy link:

The library draws on a number of other archives: the Louisiana State Museum, state universities, Vermilionville Living History Museum (a must if you’re ever in Acadiana), etc.

Some of it is interesting. Some of it is not, at least to me. But some of it gets more interesting than you’d at first think.

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A report on people who died in New Orleans from yellow fever in 1878. 

I took a dive into the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting to be enthused. But I found a yellow fever collection that intrigued me. Everything you’d want to know about yellow fever is in there.

Buried in the collection is a report on New Orleans yellow fever deaths in 1878.

Nicholls has a collection on veterans of Southeast Louisiana.

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Emilene Ann Bourgeois in her dress uniform. 

The university interviewed local veterans and collected photographs and stories from them. The interviews were videotaped. You can look through the gallery of photos online.

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The Strand under construction in the 1920s. Notice the old-fashioned cars on the street to the left. 

LSU-Shreveport has collected photos of the Strand Theater in downtown Shreveport. This is a grand theater that hosts movies and plays. My parents took me to see “Singin In the Rain” there when I was a kid. It was a special screening (I’m not that old!), and I was so struck by the palace-style movie theater that it was hard to watch the movie itself! Howard Hughes once holed up in a hotel just around the corner from the Strand when he was staying in Shreveport for a bit.

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Here’s a residence that had seen better days in Pointe Coupee Parish. 

The Louisiana State Museum collection doesn’t disappoint. It has amassed a treasure trove of materials, including photographs and oral histories.

Just of the museum’s collection is a series of house photos. You’ll find residences that no longer stand.