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NEXT MEETING Saturday, July 27, 2002
North Branch Library, Gray, LA 1:00 p.m.
Our guest speaker at the June meeting
was as surprised as we were about the turn of events. Board member Patty
Whitney Gravois was not on the program as a guest speaker, and, indeed,
she just started the ball rolling and kept it going. Mrs. Gravois started
by asking for help in finding documents where unusual offspring were mentioned.
Those children with special needs, as they are often referred to at the
present time, have been mentioned in wills, powers of attorney, interdictions
and other documents, often with very hurtful words. Patty is interested
in these terms. She mentioned a few: “afflicted” “incompetent” “imbecilic”
“idiot” “insane” and others. She explained the origin of the term "Down
Syndrome” and a short synopsis of the change in attitude toward our
“Special Children.” It seemed to open the flood gates, for several of those
at the meeting knew of some cases, or had lived with and cared for some
offspring with special needs. It seems awkward to use the term “children,”
since we learned that we were often speaking about 40- or 50-year-old sons
and daughters. If you would like to correspond with Patty, you may write
her c/o TGS at the address above. Mrs. Gravois is the mother of A. J. Gravois,
12 years old, who has Down Syndrome.
After the close of the official meeting, Audrey Barnes Westerman and Nancy Lowrie Wright conducted a special “document analysis meeting” which was attended by about a dozen members. We examined a power of attorney dated 11 November 1881, written in script, in English. Audrey showed us how to determine if a document had been recorded with the official documents of a parish, and other details that some of us had not noticed at first. She showed us a transcript of the document, and gave us pointers on making transcripts on our own. Nancy and Audrey then handed out copies of the subject of next month’s meeting. Sound like fun? Maybe you would like to join us. If you know of someone who stayed for the last session, ask them for a copy of the Civil Suit No. 40, Terrebonne Parish, LA. Better yet, get up a group and work on it together before the meeting. But even if you haven’t seen it before, you are welcome to stay for the gathering after the regular meeting.
SEMINARS AND REUNIONS
Lafourche Heritage Society will hold its Twenty-Sixth Annual Seminar On History and Genealogy on Saturday, 17 August 2002, at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Thibodaux. Speakers during the day will include James Bourque, Michael Conover, Eddie Richard, Loubert Trahan, Emory Webre and Elton Oubre.
Oubre, author, genealogist and historian, will lead off the first morning session with the topic “The Colonial Settlement of the Bayou Country,” a review of various groups of pioneer settlers, their origins, and where they settled.
Emory Webre, author, genealogist and historian, will follow in the second morning session with the topic “No Disunionists, The Life of Miles Taylor,” bayou resident, plantation owner and Louisiana Congressman prior to the Civil War. In the afternoon, Webre will talk about “Louisiana Students at Schools in the 19th Century,” an overview of Louisiana students and the in- and out-of-state schools they attended between 1825 and the 1860's.
The last session of the afternoon will be a panel of distinguished directors of the Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian (CAFA), including Eddie Richard, who will talk on plans for the “Louisiana Purchase 2003 Celebration,” and on the “French Immersion Programs.” James Bourque will speak on “Family Reunions, Nova Scotia, 2004,” Loubert Trahan on “Who and What is CAFA?” and Michael Conover on “Genealogy Holding Family Organizations Together.”
Participants who have pre-registered will be included in the count for a buffet lunch. Same day registration will be accepted at the door, but will not include lunch. Registration and coffee will be from 8:30 a.m. The program will begin at 9:15 a.m.
To pre-register, please send name(s) to be received no later than 6 August 2002 with check made payable to Lafourche Heritage Society in the amount of $28.00 for each participant. Mail to P. O. Box 913, Thibodaux, LA 70302. A limited number of book vendors will be welcome at no additional pre-registration cost; however these will need to be first to reserve a table in advance. Direct any questions to Doris Mae Ledet, 985-447-7595, or to Elton Oubre, 985-446-8662, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stevens Family Reunion will be held at the Hammond Lions Club on Morris Road on the second Saturday in September, 14 September 2002. It was decided last year to include the Calmes Family since so many of the Steven Family members are also related to the Calmes Family. Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. so come early and stay as long as you wish. You are encouraged to bring the children — there is plenty of room outside for fun and games. Each attendee over 12 years of age is asked to pay $3.00 to defray the cost of renting the Lions Den and other incidentals. Please bring a food dish and soft drinks of your choice (no alcohol, please). Also bring pictures, mementoes, artifacts, etc., that may be of interest to those attending. There will be a short business meeting, during which time recognition will be given to the outstanding attendees. New births in the family will be announced as well. A short memorial service will honor those of the family who have passed away since the last reunion. If you know of someone who has passed away during the year, please bring pertinent information so that person will be remembered. Please pass the word so that any family members who may not have received any notice of this meeting will be aware of the reunion and feel invited. Contact Doris H. Johnston, P. O. Box 865, Hammond, LA 70404, phone 985-542-6198, email doris@I-55.com
HELPING THE SOCIETY
We often receive calls and letters complimenting our work in the society, especially the publications: books, quarterlies, etc. One question is usually forthcoming: “How do you do it?” And the answer is always “We have a lot of help.” And it is true. The society is nothing unless the members contribute in some way. Maybe it is wrapping a gift for a door prize at the meeting, baking something to share with the other members, sharing family information, writing a query for the quarterly, writing a longer article for the quarterly, or doing research at a cemetery or courthouse. All of these are good and necessary ways you can contribute. And we need these for survival as a society.
I’m leading up to some very concrete requests for help. We need well-written queries to include in our next quarterly. Include as much information as you are sure of. If all you can provide to start with is “I think my grandmother had Native American parents,” do some more digging. Names and dates and more names and more dates. Surnames (last names) are good, but some in South Louisiana are so common that the surname alone is hardly any help at all. First names are very helpful, especially if it is the original name given at birth or christening, not the nickname (although this can help, too). If you can’t find the exact date, make an “educated guess” — many people marry in their twenties and are married before the first child is born. OK, so there are many exceptions, but any date is better than no date. Just indicate your uncertainty with a question mark. Every researcher has a “brick wall” or two in their work, so, if the family was in this general area at some time or other, give us some clues and maybe someone has encountered the same puzzle and solved it and is willing to help you. You can help us by writing out your query and mailing it to Jess Bergeron at the address above (email or snail mail). Jess will try to look up some information, but he may turn it over to Audrey Westerman for publication in our quarterly. This will reach almost 400 different pairs of hands (more if you count our library memberships) and you may be surprised at the amount of help you get. One of my personally unforgettable thrills was the package of family sheets that I got when I first started on this genealogy road. And it was in response to a query in an area genealogy society publication. Do yourself a favor. Try it. What can you lose?
We need help researching for articles to include in the newsletter. Admittedly this is not for everyone. And in fact, with the heat index in the 100's we do not recommend cemetery research for anyone of any age. Period. But how about a nice air-conditioned court house? Don’t know where to go and what to ask for? Believe it or not, we were all where you are at one time. Ask someone. Ask what a succession is. Ask what a conveyance is. Ask where the marriage records are kept. These are public records. Who is the public? You are. Why do they keep these records? For people to use. OK, you may have to insist on your rights, every now and then, but if some public servant is not aware that he (or she) is a public servant, maybe someone needs to let them know. Ask to speak to the supervisor (who usually tends to be more open to reason) if you can’t get what you need. Perhaps you would be more comfortable with a mentor at your side to help. Ask Jess or Phil or Nancy or Audrey or any board member to put you in touch with someone to help you get started. Then, before you know it, you will have an article or two for the quarterly, and then you will make a lot of people happy. Including yourself.
My last request is rather specialized. If you have family or friends in the Pointe-aux-Chênes — a.k.a. Pointe-aux-Chien — area, you may be able to help with information about that area. I have undertaken to revise, re-package, and re-publish the book by Laïse Ledet, They Came They Stayed. It was decided that it would be feasible to package it as a CD rather than a printed book in order to preserve the pictures and the data. I am in the first stage: gathering information to be included. Someone has volunteered to scan the pictures and we are now deciding what resolution and compression we will use. I feel that that part of the project is in good hands. The information that I need now is any corrections and/or additions that you may have made to the book. Some people wrote these in their books. If you have a copy of the book, would you take a quick look to find the pages where corrections or additions were made? And could you send me those corrections or additions? I would surely appreciate it. It would be a great help if you have the source, such as the marriage record, or a reference book, so please include any information like that which you might have. My address is at the top as Newsletter Editor.
Patty W. Gravois needs help organizing the special files in the North Branch Library. We have several vertical files which need to be re-arranged and re-organized in the library. Ms. Mercedes Pertuit left us some family files that are rather loosely organized. They need to be indexed so that they will be more useful to researchers. Like to do that sort of thing? Also, Ms. Myrtle Mayet left an obituary collection that is priceless, but, again, needs and index. Patty has done the Bergerons and is working her way through the Bourgeois. If you have any connections to any local families, you may be very interested in those files. See Patty at a meeting or contact her through the society.
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