Templet family

The mystery of Lizzie Tompley

Lizzie wasn’t a common Cajun name a century ago. Think about it. You’ve heard of Lizzie Borden. How often have you heard of Lizzie Boudreaux?

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Lizzie Tompley was living with the LeBlancs in 1870.

So I was puzzled when I came across a Lizzie Tompley living with Etienne Carville LeBlanc and Josephine Emiline Templet in 1870. Not only is the name unusual, but I don’t know which branch in the Templet family tree produced Lizzie.

Now I know who Etienne and Josephine were. I just have no idea who Lizzie was although I have a suspicion.

Josephine Emiline Templet – known as Evaline – was the sister of my g-g-grandmother Anaise. They endured what must have been a sad childhood. Their mother, Louisa Josephine, died in 1858, leaving behind a number of young children: Emiline/Evaline, 12, Anaise, 10, Charles, 9, Philomene, 6, and Uranie/Irene, 4

Presumably, their father, Charles Valsin Templet, was still alive but it wouldn’t have mattered. Back then, children were divvied up when a mother died young. The same thing would happen to Anaise’s children when her husband died early in the life. The cycle would be repeated with the children of Anaise’s granddaughter (my g-grandmother).

But back to Louisa. I don’t know what happened to Evaline after her mother died, but census records tell us that Anaise and Charles went to live with their Aunt Marcelite. Philomene ended up with Uncle Basile from her grandfather’s first marriage. Little Irene was taken in by Aunt Adeline. These were all Louisa’s relations. Apparently their father’s relatives, the Templets, had no room at the inn. Or so I thought.

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I believe this is Lizzie in 1860.

Trying to figure out who the heck Lizzie was, I searched for her in the 1860 census.

There she is in St. Mary Parish with Jean and Zeolide Templet. Jean was Charles Valsin Templet’s brother. Are you still with me?

Some Ancestry trees list Elizabeth as the daughter of Jean and Zeolide Templet. I don’t think that’s correct. She’s listed below the other children, as she would be if she were an orphan or adopted daughter.

My suspicion – and I could be completely wrong – is that Lizzie was the youngest child of Charles Valsin and Louisa. I think – and again, I could be totally wrong – that Louisa died bringing her into the world. A succession record, which would list the surviving children, was filed when Louisa died. That succession record is missing from the courthouse. No doubt it was checked out and never returned. So that’s a dead end.

Plus, if she was Jean and Zeolide’s child, why was she living with the LeBlancs later on? It seems more likely that she went to live with Uncle Jean and Aunt Zeolide as an infant when her own sisters were too young to care for her. After big sister Evalina married, it makes sense that she sent for Lizzie and took her into her household.

My grandmother’s mother died at age 22, leaving three very young children. Granny went to live with her godparents. Her father later remarried and sent for Granny. The godparents, who only had one child of their own, refused to relinquish her. I can’t say that I blame them. They’d raised her since she was 4, and she arrived malnourished because of her family’s poverty. Jean and Zeolide had tons of children. One less mouth to feed might have been a blessing.

I know what happened to Lizzie later in life. She grew up and married Joseph Schmidt in 1879. In yet another dead end, they didn’t bother to tell the clerk of court or the priest their parents’ names when they married.

Their children included:

Mary Elizabeth, born Aug. 10, 1870

Josephine, born June 3, 1885

Edwin, born Dec. 14, 1886

Louis Joseph, born Aug. 28, 1887

In 1900, Lizzie died, leaving behind a husband and several children. Here’s the obit:

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This was recorded under Gibson, Louisiana. So I called the diocese, which has a very helpful archivist. He searched and came up empty on a burial record that would list the names of Lizzie’s parents.

She remains a mystery.

But I keep coming back to the spelling of Templet on the 1870 census. It’s not Templet. It’s Tompley.

Louisa’s son, Charles, went through life as Tomplait. That’s the name on his headstone in Texas. The name on Irene’s grave is Tamplet. They didn’t embrace Templet. For them, it was Tomplait or Tamplet. Or maybe Tompley?



Newspaper articles, Templet family

Sheriff’s Sale for the Templets

I’ve been trying to track down what happened to Anaise Templet’s parents, Charles Valsin and Louisa Josephine Boudreaux Templet, for years. I believe Louisa died in 1854 since there’s a succession record notation for her. Sadly, the record itself is missing.

Then I came across this entry in a Louisiana newspaper. I’m fairly sure this isn’t my Charles and Louisa since Louisa had a child in 1854 so Charles couldn’t have been dead in 1850. Still, how sad this is:

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I’ll translate:

It will be offered in public auction on Wednesday, 4th day of December, 1850, at 10 o’clock in the morning, on the spot, by AF Hickman, sheriff and auctioneer duly commissioned and sworn in and for the aforesaid parish the properties hereafter described belonging to Mrs. Widow Charles Templet:

1. An earth or dwelling located at Bayou Pierre Part, in this parish, measuring five arpents of face on fourteen acres of depth, bounded on one side by the land of Narcisse Trahan, and on the other, by that of Joseph Frioux , together with all the buildings and improvements that depend on it (except the house occupied by Valery Templet). The vendense reserves the right to remain at the said dwelling until next January, 1851.

2. A Cow, a Genisse and a Pirogue.

3. The household, cookware, etc.

Templet family

Sunny, winter days boiling sugar in Cuba

Havana in 1900

Imagine it’s 1906. Cuba’s just become a republic. Colorful cars aren’t yet a thing in Havana. But it’s sunny, tropical and the sugar industry is booming. Sounds like the perfect place for a guy from Donaldsonville to boil some sugar!

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Bernard Edgar Templet

Bernard Edgard Templet (distant relation) went to Cuba more than once. He first visited in 1906 to work as a sugar boiler. He returned shortly before Christmas in 1917, sailing from New Orleans aboard a fruit company’s steamer.

It sounds like the 1917 trip was quickly planned. A letter in his passport file indicates he requested a new passport just a week before sailing.

Christmas in Cuba! It must have been exciting.

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Gaston Bordis

Already in Cuba was Bernard’s nephew, Gaston Sosthene Bordis.

Gaston was the foreman for a sugar house in Salamanca, Cuba. His passport records indicate he lived in Cuba for six months out of the year. Back in Louisiana, he served as a deputy sheriff.

Indeed, Gaston applied for passports again in 1918 and 1919.

I learned all this from passport records. I had no idea that it was once possible to sail from Louisiana to Cuba for a job in the sugar industry.

Genealogy tools, Templet family

Applications for Seaman’s Protection Certificates

I love to stumble across genealogical records that contain photographs. The other day, I stumbled across something called seaman’s protection certificates from 1916 to 1940. These were passports that seamen used as proof of citizenship. They contain dates of birth, addresses and photographs!

The collection is on Ancestry. Just for fun, I pulled photos of seamen born in Louisiana with the last name Templet.

Here’s Henry Templet. born Oct. 23, 1900, in Lafourche Parish. He was a chauffeur looking to board the S.S. Hancock County.

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Here’s Maxime Templet, born Aug. 15, 1904, in Napoleonville. His father was Emile Templet. Maxime had a tattoo on his arm and wanted to leave his studies to board the S.S. Warwick.

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Here’s Adam L. Templet, born June 8, 1905, in Plattenville to Jules Templet. Adam had a scar on one of his fingers.

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Assumption Parish Genealogy, Templet family

That will be $150 for those 10 court documents


The last time I was in the vault at the Assumption Parish courthouse, I noticed a new sign. Photographing court records is against Louisiana law.

Now this is annoying. The old records that I need are in heavy, hardbound books. I have to lug them over to the copy machine, heave them onto the copy machine and then heave them back off to flip the page and make more copies. By the time I was finished, I was dripping with sweat (I copied a lot of records).

I also was a lot poorer when I left the courthouse. Those Xerox copies are $1 per page. I don’t get paid for my sweat and labor in making them.

I also wondered: Is it really against the law to photograph court records?

Then I went to the Terrebonne Parish Courthouse and saw the same warning.

I did a little Internet research and found this:

A. The clerk of court is the legal custodian of all of its records and is responsible for their safekeeping and preservation. He may issue a copy of any of these records, certified by him under the seal of the court to be a correct copy of the original. Except as otherwise provided by law, he shall permit any person to examine, copy, photograph, or make a memorandum of any of these records at any time during which the clerk’s office is required by law to be open. However, notwithstanding the provisions of this Paragraph or R.S. 44:31 et seq., the use, placement, or installation of privately owned copying, reproducing, scanning, or any other such imaging equipment, whether hand-held, portable, fixed, or otherwise, within the offices of the clerk of court is prohibited unless ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

I get it. Clerks of court need to make money. But do they have to drive the family tree researcher into the poorhouse to do it?

Riddles, Templet family

The Anaise riddle

I’ve been fairly successful in sorting out much of my family tree, and new information is always coming along to surprise me. The past tends to do that. Just when you think you’ve discovered everything, a new bit of information surfaces.

The one person who is a mystery is my great-great-great grandmother, Anaise Templet Giroir Larose.

I’ve never heard the name Anaise before or since. My grandmother always pronounced it ‘Naise.’  Believe it or not, there were two Anaise Templets born about the same year in Assumption Parish. Who would have thought it?

My Anaise was born to Charles Valsin Templet and Louise Josephine Boudreaux. The 1850 census for Louisiana shows Valsin with his wife, daughters Marie and Anais and baby Charles.

Here’s the little family:


That would mean Valsin and Louise had Marie in 1846, Anais in 1848 and Charles in 1849. Except the baptism records show they had Josephine Emeline in 1846, Marie Heloise in 1848, Charles in 1849, Philomene Victorine in 1852 and Marie Uranie in 1854. No mention of an Anais.

So I suppose that Marie in the census is really Emeline and that Marie Heloise in the baptism records possibly was meant to be Marie Anaise (which means she may have later had a child out-of-wedlock).

I’ll just go to the 1860 census and figure it out, right? Well, there’s a problem with that. Louise seems to have died about 1858. Unfortunately, her succession is listed in the index book at the Assumption Parish Courthouse, but the record itself is missing. The nice clerks at the courthouse shrugged and said an attorney probably took it home and forgot to return it back in the 1800s. Sigh.

After their mother’s death, the children were divvied up among the relatives.

Charles and Anaise went to live with the Besses. Charles Besse was a Canadian schoolteacher who married Louise’s sister Marcelite. The Besses had nine children so maybe they didn’t even notice the two extra ones.

1860 Assumption Parish census

So what happened to Emeline, Philomene and Irene (Uranie)? Well, Louise came from a big family.


Sister Adeline took in Uranie. Half-brother Basile took in Philomene.  There were 15 people in Basile’s household so what was one more? Emeline – or Evaline as she later called herself – found shelter somewhere because she soon married.

There’s no clue on what happened to Valsin. I can only assume he gave all his children away, changed his name to Lincoln and bought a really tall hat. Or maybe he died. Yeah, he probably died.

But back to Anaise.

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Anaise’s great-granddaughter: My granny with her daughter Olive.

Anaise married (I assume) a man with a rather fabulously alliterate name: Eulice Edmond Giroir. There’s no marriage record that I’ve been able to find, but as they baptized their children, I assume the priest would have insisted on them being married.

They had five children in five years: Augustin, Augustine, Alice, Marie and Valcin. Then Eulice died. My grandmother said Eulice died when the youngest child was just a baby.

Anaise farmed out the children but kept Valcin according to census records.  Augustin – my great-great grandfather – either visited her or ended up back with her because he told stories about her going off to work the fields every day while he stayed back at the house with his baby brother. Poor Anaise. She had a very hard life.

Then, in 1895, Anaise remarried. She married a man named Felix Leonide Larose. She would have been close to 50 at the time.

Anaise and Felix are on the 1900 census in Assumption Parish. After that, they disappear. I’ve traced what happened to all of her children (except Valcin; he married, had a few children and vanished), but I don’t know when Anaise died or where she’s buried.

It’s funny isn’t it? I can’t really tell you when Anaise’s parents died, when her first husband died or when she died. I can’t really tell you when Anaise was born or when she married her first husband. Did she only show up to be recorded for the census taker?

Loose ends like that drive me crazy. I so badly want to know the rest of Anaise’s story. Maybe, one day, I’ll stumble across more details.