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16 January 2019

CGS Library Collections: Louisiana

The embossed and colored cover of the
Historical Encyclopedia of Louisiana is
one of the most impressive in our library
An occasional series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

The CGS library section for the state of Louisiana occupies three full shelves and includes fourteen boxes of journals that cover the entire state; one box for St. Landry County; and three boxes for New Orleans. The largest set of journals – the Louisiana Genealogical Register – covers the period 1969 to 2018, so it is very comprehensive.

Our collection includes three volumes of census records each quite thick and packed with data. The title Love, Honor and Betrayal caught my eye. It covers the period 1778–1784, was published in 1964, and was compiled by Elizabeth Becker Gianelloni of Longwood Plantation, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. The book’s foreword sets the stage nicely for what lies within: “Ragged bundles of papers in forgotten drawers and dusty volumes from dark shelves recount in flowing French and courtly Spanish phrase authentic stories of that robust aggregation who were the colonial settlers in the Province of Louisiana. Happily, each year now sees some small progress in exhuming these records and recreating the days and ways of the humble as well as the famous among them.” On page 3 there is a record dated 16 November 1778 titled “Breach of Promise,” where we learn that “Margarita has been placed in the Convent of the Ursulines in New Orleans by her husband,” and that her father, Antoinne Marmillion petitions for her release.  What other gems might be found within these pages? 

The Historical Encyclopedia is also richly
illustrated on the inside
The cover of The Historical Encyclopedia of Louisiana edited by Ellis Arthur Davis is exceptional – brown leather with embossed and multi-colored images from the state including the capitol building, a river boat and more. The forward of this book tells us that “The history of Louisiana is as romantic and colorful as that of any State in the Union.” It goes on to explain, “This work is thoroughly illustrated with appropriate pictures showing the History as well as the progress and attractions, with panoramic views, street scenes, public buildings, parks, and views depicting Louisiana industries.”

A must-have reference for anyone doing
research in Louisiana
One of the more recent books in this group is A Guide to Genealogical Research at the Louisiana State Archives by Judy Riffel, published in 2008. This is a guide book to resources available at the state archives. It appears to be a must-have reference for doing research. The book covers all types of records, in twelve chapters and five appendices.

On a lighter note, we also have Ancestor Hunting,   a compilation of six years of Shreveport Journal newspaper columns written by Mildred deWeir Smith Watkins from 1963 to 1969. Mildred was quite prolific; the book runs to 847 pages, with an index.

Next time you’re in downtown Oakland you might want to come into the library and see what you can find on Louisiana.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

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