Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

Cajun Genealogy in the 20th Century

     The 20th century brought a change to the Cajuns' way of life. Cajun children, by act of the legislature, had to attend school and speak English. Wars carried them to other places and they got to travel. Oil industry brought in new people and jobs. Today's Cajun may be indistinguishable from any other American; though you can still find Cajuns who live much as their ancestors did. The sections discusses: 
Census Records | Church Records | Courthouse Records | Compiled Works | Other Resources
CENSUS RECORDS
    The 1900, 1910, and 1920 census and soundex records are available in microfilm. They have not been indexed as a set. However, there are some indices of smaller areas; for example, the Terrebonne Parish 1900 and 1910 censuses have been indexed and published.
     You are getting into a time when the population is getting larger, so there are more records to search through.  If the census hasn't been published in the area you are looking at (and most haven't), your best bet is to start with the soundex. 

CHURCH RECORDS
    Rev. Hebert's works (South Louisiana Records and Southwest Louisiana Records) extend into the beginning of the century. For the years following his work, succeeding years (to the 1920's) for Terrebonne Parish and the surrounding area are covered by TGS's South Louisiana Vital Records. Some other records are published in various books and periodicals. Since we are now reaching a time where some individuals contained in the records are still living, there are fewer records published. For the past 70 years, you'll most likely have to go to the church where the record was created (this applies to both Catholic and Protestant records).

COURTHOUSE RECORDS
    Documents filed in the courthouse often list family members and relationships. As mentioned earlier, the courthouse is the repository for marriage records, successions, land records, and a variety of other records. There are often indices available that make it easier to locate someone.
     A more detailed discussion of courthouse records is at Cajun Genealogy in the 19th Century

COMPILED WORKS
    Again, the books now cover smaller areas and time periods. The total number of Acadian descendants in Louisiana reaches tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands.  You need to look at the specific area (person, place, surname) in which you are interested to find information.  Check out the Book List page, though it is by no means complete. 

OTHER RESOURCES

  • NEWSPAPERS:Newspapers are good sources for obituaries, birth notices, and marriage information.  Some have had their information indexed, especially the obituaries.
  • PEOPLE:The best and easiest resource is often the older members of the family. They can often give information that will take you back to the 1800's.
  • FAMILY DOCUMENTS: Your family (and that includes collateral relatives ... aunts, uncles, cousins) may have copies of marriage licenses, oral history, birth certificates, etc.
Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert