History Genealogy

Researching Local and Family History – Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Research

Contributing Writer

This week we continue with part two of Researching Local and Family History.

Family Reunions

A good way to get more information if you are doing genealogy research is to attend family reunions. The reunion can be of your own family, or even other families (with approval from the organizers.) Many of the people you meet at these reunions can lead you to information about your family.

Church Histories

Many local and area churches have published histories that can be a source for valuable family and community information.

City Directories

City directories are useful for placing people in a place at a particular time. They can tell you where an ancestor lived and worked and can help you locate ancestors in census years. They usually contain an alphabetical list of citizens, the names of the heads of households, their addresses, and occupational information. Sometimes a wife’s name will be listed in parentheses or italics following the husband’s. Might also include death dates for individuals who had been listed in the previous year’s directory, names of partners in firms, and forwarding addresses or post offices for people who had moved to another town.

Where to find City Directories

  • St. Landry Chamber of Commerce – a  local collection
    • Ancestry.com. –  U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995
    • Some Libraries have collections.

Historic Newspapers

Historic Newspapers can provide you with first-hand information about what was happening in your local area. From these papers you can get information on people, and all that was going on in your community at various times during its history. Here are some of the places to find those historic newspapers:

  • Chronicling America
    • chroniclingamerica.loc.gov – Free
  • Newspapers.com
    • www.newspapers.com – Monthly fee
  • Times-Picayune Historical Archives
    • nl.newsbank.com – Monthly fee
  • Daily World Archive
    • dailyworld.com – Monthly fee

Chronicling America website: www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

This site gives you access to Historic Opelousas Newspapers like the following:

  • St. Landry Whig
  • Opelousas Courier
  • Opelousas Patriot
  • Opelousas Journal
  • St. Landry Democrat
  • St. Landry Clarion
  • Star-Progress

Chronicling America is an easy website to use:

  • Type in subject on search line
  • Press Go
  • It will take you to all the US newspapers about your subject
  • Be more specific – type in Opelousas after subject
  • It gives you the option to view by
    • Relevance
    • State
    • Title
    • Dates

Finding Chronicling America Newspapers:

  • Go to list of newspapers by states.
  • Search Louisiana list
  • Example: Find St. Landry Whig – Opelousas
  • Brings up info of what papers are available.
  • Information about the Whig, etc.
  • Has calendar of issues available by date

Historic Letters – Family Letters

Letters were one of the few means of communication for many years. If you are lucky enough to have some of those early family letters, they are so valuable in doing research. Other families’ historic letters can also provide information you may be searching for.

Next week, part three of this series looks at other ways to help in researching family and community. If you have questions or want more information, contact carola@StLandryNow.com

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