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.




Genealogy tools

What does my Ancestry DNA mean?

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I was not the best science student in school. Reading, yes. Writing, fine. Math, surprisingly, yes. Science, no way. Don’t ask me why. My father is a scientist. My grandfather is a scientist. Apparently I didn’t get those genes.

So, months after getting my Ancestry DNA results, I’m trying to figure out what they mean. Anyone else in the same boat?

Some of it I understand. My ancestors came from the British Isles and France. Well, I knew that already.

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My ancestors traveled to Acadia. Knew that.

Ancestry has extremely high confidence that my DNA matches the DNA of my grandparents. Knew that.

I’m related to Aucoins, Penissons and Giroirs. Knew that.

What I’d really like to know if it’s true there was a Spanish grandmother in the family tree as my granny always insisted. Still don’t know that.

Genealogy tools

Family photos on Etsy

The Holland sisters

I’ve come across family photos in antique stores, and they always make me a little sad. It’s like seeing a wedding dress at an estate sale. No one valued these sentimental things enough to hold onto them. What is wrong with people?

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Walter Merriam Pratt. From a bit of quick Googling, it looks like he grew up to run his own paper company.

The other day, I was on Etsy – where I spend far too much time – and came across vintage photos from family photo albums. Why you’d want to buy a picture of a Victorian era baby from someone else’s family is beyond me, but apparently there’s a customer base for that.

This baby isn’t identified, but I have a similar photo of my grandfather as a chubby baby. I don’t plan to sell it on Etsy.

Some of the photos even have identifications. So if you never thought about looking on Etsy for your long lost family photo album, you might want to take a tour.


Genealogy tools

Writing down family stories

xzbwg4egr7y1c2ywjgnhfa.jpgI found this piece of paper while going through an old file folder. It’s in my Granny’s handwriting. Since she’s now gone, this is priceless to me.

My grandmother on the other side of the family is the genealogy buff. When my mother married into that family, the genealogy bug must have spread. Suddenly, Granny Hebert was scribbling down her own family history.

On the note above, she wrote down her father’s family.

Granny Hebert was born to Albert Gauthreaux and Isabelle Giroir Gauthreaux. Albert’s lineage is a little confusing. His parents were Cordelia Gauthreaux (or Cordilier in the baptism record) and Amarante Aucoin (or Merante). Amarante was married twice. A son by her first marriage – Oleus Montet – married Isabelle’s sister, Louise. See how confusing this gets?

Cordelia and Amarante had three children of their own: Albert, Azolin and Cecilia. Cecilia is a bit of a mystery. Granny was very close to Azolin’s children, but I never heard her mention Cecilia’s children. Apparently she married and died young but had at least a few children. I have no idea where she’s buried or who her children were. Now – with Granny gone – I’m curious about Cecilia. She’s a loose end, and I hate loose ends.

There, on a scrap of paper probably written when I was a baby, is Cecilia and a husband whose name I’d never heard before.

I’ve also come across notes that I took – and quickly forgot – when Granny was alive.

For example, I’ve written down that Granny was 4 when her mother died. Her sisters were 1 and 3. A boy who died at birth would have been 2. The youngest sister had just learned to walk.

Genealogy is about stories, at least for me. It’s heartbreaking that Isabelle died so young with such young children. It’s heartbreaking that Baby Pearl had just learned to walk when she lost her mother.

Go to the oldest member of your family and ask them to tell stories. Older people often love to visit the past. And your family tree won’t just be names. It will be alive with stories.