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This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Research

CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Publisher and Contributing Writer

Over the last few weeks St. Landry Now has been publishing information on how to research local community and family history. The purpose of this is to help those interested in history and genealogy, which is becoming a very popular hobby. This third and final part of the series looks at other ways to help in researching family and community.

Historic Documents

Historic documents could provide a wealth of information about the subject you are studying. Here are some valuable links to help you with that research:

Know the Archivists in Louisiana

Archivists can provide you with information and ways to help you do better research. Here is what you should do:

  • Know the Archivists in Louisiana
  • Know their Database
  • Know Louisiana Archives & Manuscripts Association – LAMA – www.louisianaarchivists.org
    • Get the LAMA Newsletter by joining the organization
      • Get past issues online for free.
    • LAMA website provides links to Louisiana Archives and Special Collections on the Web

Historic Society & Genealogy Groups – Preservation Groups and Museums

These types of organizations can share information they have collected, as well as information from their members, with you.

  • Join your local Historical Society and Genealogy Group
    • Imperial St. Landry Historical and Genealogy Society
  • Join your local/area preservation groups, museums, etc.
    • Preservationist of St. Landry Parish
    • Opelousas Museum & Interpretive Center
    • Creole Heritage Folklife Center – Museum
    • Le Vieux Village
    • Orphan Train Museum
    • Rural African American Museum

Other State Historical Societies

  • While doing research on family, often we need to get information from other states. Contacting their historical societies is the thing to do.
  • Working on a book about a diary my grandmother wrote in 1901, I reached out to the historic societies in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. They were great to work with.
    • From those other state historic societies, I received documents, historic photos and contact information.
  • Find list of all Historical Societies in the United States on the internet.
  • Find list of most Historical Societies in other countries on the internet.

Cemeteries

  • Visit town and area cemeteries.
    • Sous Cette Pierre Repose by Susan Burleigh Douget – A great book to use to locate graves in the St. Landry Catholic Church Cemetery
  • Attend St. Landry Church Cemetery Tours: Voices from Our Past.
  • Search out family graveyards on historic properties (be sure to get permission)
  • Find A Grave – www.findagrave.com
    • Mary Katherine O’Neal Creamer (#47100380) www.facebook.com/marykatherinecreamer  
  • The USGenWeb Project, St. Landry Parish Archives – the website of obituaries and marriage records from The Opelousas Courier (1852-1910) and The St. Landry Clarion (1890-1921).
    • Bryant Walker, Regional File Manager
    • Mary K. Creamer (contributor)

Historic Photographs

Photos can be useful for information

Historic Documentaries, Movies & Subject blogs

Viewing historic documentaries, movies and subject blogs can help you to know what was going on in another decade or another century. Understanding that time and that culture will help you in doing your research.

  • Historic Documentaries
  • Historic Movies – Example: While conducting research for a story I was writing about the opera houses of Opelousas, I watched the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as “The Man Who Owned Broadway.” The movie traced his life from his childhood when he and his family traveled the US performing at opera houses and entertainment venues at the end of the 19th century into the early 20th century. That gave me an idea of what it was like for the many acts that played the opera house in Opelousas and the St. Landry Parish area.
  • Historic Blogs
  • Internet Genealogy Sites

DNA Testing & Genetic Genealogy

Those of us who do historic and genealogy research today are so lucky to have DNA testing and genetics available. It is a great way to make connections with family we never knew. Take advantage of that tool while doing your research. Get your DNA tested and encourage others to do the same.

  • Make sure you are using the right company when you get a DNA test.
    • Guideline #1: Don’t judge a brand by how popular it is.
    • Guideline #2: Try to stay in the USA.
    • Guideline #3: Make sure actual scientists are involved with your DNA Analysis

The USGenWeb Project, St. Landry Parish Archives

This project allows you to not only get information, but submit information on Louisiana, St. Landry Parish, other neighboring parishes plus Opelousas and neighboring towns. The following may help you to use the project:

  • Get Information
  • Submit Information – Use forms on site for submission of information.
  • Guidelines for Submitting Forms
    • Files can be sent as an attachment or in the body of an email message.
    • Attachments should be saved as an ASCII Text File with a “.txt” extension.
    • Choose File/Save As/ ASCII DOS Text (your program may call it DOS Text or ASCII text….) 
    • The first line should contain the Parish Name, Louisiana Archives, Name of type of information, Name of individual, group, article title, etc.
    • Next should be the following copyright notice:
    • Below copyright notice include contributor information: 
    • EXAMPLE: File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: (Contributor Name and Email Address) and (Date submitted) 
    • Next the Source where the information was obtained: 
    • EXAMPLE: The Opelousas Courier (Opelousas, La.) 1852-1910, February 02, 1889, Image 1 
    • Next the body of the Article, Obituary, Death Notice, Birth info, Marriage info, or other information which is the main body of the information being submitted.
    •  Add additional notes after the body content with a header such as “NOTES by Contributor” at the beginning. 
    • Last: Submit the text file to the appropriate Parish File Manager found on the Louisiana Archives table of contents page at: http://usgwarchives.net/la/lafiles.htm   If it is a submission of general content pertaining to Louisiana, but not identified with a specific Parish, submit the file to the State File Manager found on the same page.  

Facebook and other social media

There is valuable information often posted on this FaceBook pages and groups. Here are a few examples of some of the group you many want to join:

  • Opelousas Tales Group
  • Opelousas Memories Group
  • Imperial St. Landry Genealogical and Historical Society Group
  • Opelousas Historic District Group
  • Washington, LA – Through A Lens
  • St. Landry and Opelousas Memories
  • Louisiana Historic Towns Remembered
  • Bayou History Center Group
  • Alex Genealogy
  • Louisiana Creole Group
  • Breaux Bridge Memories

Historical Resources on the Net

In today’s world there is so much historic information available over the internet. Here are some ways to find information that may help in doing your research:

  • The most common method for finding historical information is to use a search engine or directory.
  • There are also places that link only to historical sites.
  • When researching on the internet, remember the 5 W’s
    • Who? Is the writer an authority on the topic?
    • Where? Where was the information published? What domain did it come from?
    • What? Is the information relevant to your search?
    • When? Is the informant current
    • Why? What is the purpose of the information?

Copyright & Registered Info on the Net

  • Just because it is on the public world wide web does not mean it is not protected property.
  • Much of what you find on internet is copyrighted, registered, licensed, trademarked, etc. (Books, photos, etc.)
  • Some information, images and photos require a fee to use.
    • Getty Images, Inc. – American stock photo agency, based in Seattle, Wash. Has over 80 million still images and illustrations and more than 50,000 hours of stock film footage. Targets creative professionals, media and corporate. Their images are protected, a fee is charged to use most of their images. Own many historic photos in their collection. They are also able to track what is used from their collection.
    • University, Museum, Organization Collections
    • Private Collections  
  • Some will just require credit given to use their intellectual property. They may provide wording for you to use.
  • Remember to give credit where credit is due.

Happy Researching

  • Have fun and learn about your family and your community

This ends the series on Researching Local and Family History.If you have questions or want more information, contact carola@StLandryNow.com

Series Navigation<< Researching Local and Family History – Part Two