Louisiana Research


General Information


A great starting point for genealogical research is census records. Since Louisiana became a state in 1812, the earliest Federal census schedule for Louisiana is 1810 and continues through the latest published census, 1940. Unfortunately, the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire before it was microfilmed. Census records prior to 1810 can be obtained through the French colony of Louisiana from 1699 through 1732. The genealogy collection has the following materials for the territory of Louisiana:

  • “The Census Tables for the French Colony of Louisiana from 1699 through 1732” – Charles R. Maduell, Jr.
  • Louisiana Census and Militia Lists – Albert J. Robichaux, Jr.
  • Louisiana Marriage Contracts, Volume 1, 1725-1758; Volume 2, 1728-1769 – Alice Forsyth.
  • Marriage Contracts, Wills and Testaments of the Spanish Colonial Period in New Orleans, 1770-1804 – Charles R. Maduell, Jr.

Louisiana did not maintain statewide birth records until 1918 and death records until 1952. The State Archives maintain online indexes of birth records occurring more than 100 years from the end of the current calendar year. Death records are also maintained by the State Archives. Online indexes of deaths contain deaths that have occurred more than 50 years from the end of the current calendar year. The Orleans Parish Marriage Records Index is also found on their website: https://www.sos.la.gov, opens a new window.

Records of Louisiana births, stillbirths, christenings, and marriages can be searched for free at Family Search: https://www.familysearch.org, opens a new window.

Death records are also found online through Ancestry.com and Family Search. The Social Security Death Index is an important source for deaths since 1962. Cemetery records are another source for death records.  Tombstone inscriptions are found in cemetery records. The St. Tammany Parish Library has print volumes of cemetery records for most parishes of Louisiana. Records of New Orleans cemeteries are available on microfilm and cover many prominent cemeteries in Orleans Parish.

Church records are primarily of marriages and baptisms.  Selected church records found in the genealogy collection are:

  • Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records.
    • Includes records for several parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.
  • Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records: Pointe Coupee Records, 1770-1900: Individuals without Surnames.
  • A Guide to Church Records in Louisiana – Donald Hebert.
  • Index of New Orleans Confirmations, 1789-1841 – Donald Hebert.
  • Marriage Dispensations in the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, 1786-1803 – Shirley Chaisson Bourquard.
  • Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
    • Includes records for several parishes: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and St. Tammany.
  • South Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records of Lafourche-Terrebonne Parishes, 1794-1920.
    • Includes records for parishes: Lafourche and Terrebonne
  • Southwest Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records of Settlers, 1750-1909.
    • Includes records for several parishes: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermillion.
  • An Index of Old Cemetery and Church Records in Louisiana – National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Louisiana.

Family histories are helpful in finding Louisiana ancestors.  Family histories are published books that have the family lineage of many prominent and founding families of Louisiana.  Selected Louisiana histories in the collection are:

  • A Potpourri of Historical Data Concerning the Founding Families and Individuals of Washington Parish, Louisiana – Ernest Russ Williams.
  • Central Louisiana Families in 1880: A Genealogical Guide to Rapides Parish during the Post-Civil War Period – Verda Jenkins Ruff.
  • Creole Families of New Orleans – Grace Elizabeth King.
  • The First Families of Louisiana – Glenn R. Conrad.
  • German Coast Families: European Origins and Settlement in Colonial Louisiana – Albert J. Robichaux.
  • Old Families of Louisiana – Stanley Clisby Arthur.
  • Southwest Louisiana Families in 1777: Census records of Attakapas and Opelousas Posts – Winston De Ville.

Passenger Lists are excellent in tracing immigrant ancestors.  Passenger lists of the port of New Orleans are available through the following print materials:

  • The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783: The History and Passenger Lists of the Islenos Volunteer Recruits and Their Families – Sidney Villere.
  • The First Families of Louisiana – Glenn R. Conrad.
  • New Orleans Irish: Arrivals, Departures – John Finn.
  • Sicily to New Orleans and Beyond – Frank Palisi.
  • Select passenger lists for the Port of New Orleans are also available on microfilm.

Land and estate records for Louisiana can be found in the collection.  Some print materials on Louisiana land records are:

  • Early Settlers of Louisiana as taken from Land Claims in the Eastern District of the Orleans Territory – Walter Lowrie.
  • Family Maps of Louisiana (series set covering many parishes of Louisiana) - Gregory Boyd.
  • Federal Land Grants in the Territory of Orleans: The Delta Parishes – Charles R. Maduell, Jr.
  • First Settlers of the Louisiana Territory: Orleans Territory Grants from American State Papers.
  • Louisiana Land Titles: An Inventory of Land Office Records at the State Archives – Ory G. Poret and John Spencer Howell.
  • Spanish Land Grants in Louisiana, 1757-1802 – Ory G. Poret.

The Florida Parishes are important in performing local genealogical research. Originally, the West Florida Parishes included all of the area north and east of Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi border. In 1811, Governor Claiborne of Orleans Territory carved this area into four parishes: Feliciana, Baton Rouge, St. Helena, and St. Tammany Parishes. In 1819, St. Tammany was divided and the north half became Washington Parish. In 1869, Tangipahoa Parish was created from parts of Livingston, St. Helena, Washington, and St. Tammany Parishes. Some sources on Florida Parishes in the genealogy collection are:

  • An Index to the 1820 Census of Louisiana’s Florida Parishes and 1812 St. Tammany Parish Tax List – Mary Elizabeth Sanders.
  • Florida Parishes Genealogical Newsletter, 1985-1996.
  • Index to the Archives of Spanish West Florida, 1782-1810.
  • Women in the Florida Parishes – Donna Burge Adams.


Louisiana newspapers are an important source for finding births, marriages and death notices occurring in Louisiana. Many of the older issues are available on microfilm. Another source for selected Louisiana newspapers that are digitized is the Library of Congress Chronicling America website https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/, opens a new window. Issues range from 1836 through 1922.

The St. Tammany Farmer and select Louisiana newspapers can be found on microfilm in the collection. 

Military research for Louisianans participating in the War of 1812 and the Civil War can be found in these sources in the collection:

  • 1890 Louisiana Census Index: Special Schedule of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and of Union Veterans of the Civil War – Ronald Vern Jackson.
  • Civil War Pensions in Louisiana, 1924-1933: Veterans & Widows.
  • Civil War Records of the Florida Parishes of Louisiana.
  • Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana.
  • Pre-Civil War Military Records of the Florida Parishes.
  • Rapides Post on Red River: Census and Military Documents for Central Louisiana, 1769-1800 – Winston De Ville.
  • The Soldier’s Grave: Military Burials in the Rural Cemeteries of Tangipahoa Parish – Yvonne Lewis Day.

There are many nationalities that migrated to Louisiana during the colonial period of Louisiana and later years.  Sources in the collection for ancestors who migrated to the area include:

Cajuns/French Canadians

  • Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step-by-Step – Timothy Hebert.
  • Acadian Church Records, 1679-1757 – Winston De Ville.
  • The Acadian Coast in 1779 : Settlers of Cabanocey and La Fourche in the Spanish Province of Louisiana during the American Revolution – Winston De Ville.
  • Acadian Families in 1686 – Winston De Ville.
  • Louisiana’s Acadian Coast Census Index, 1766-1769-1777 with Annotations – Phoebe Chauvin Morrison.

Other Groups

  • The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783 – Sidney Louis Villere.
  • The Canary Islanders of Louisiana – Gilbert C. Din.
  • Cane River Creole Genealogy Research Guide – Louisiana Creole Heritage Center.
  • The “Foreign French”: Nineteenth-Century French Immigration into Louisiana – Carl Brasseaux.
  • The German People of New Orleans, 1850-1900 – John Fredrick Nau.
  • Germans of Louisiana – Ellen C. Merrill.
  • New Orleans Irish: Arrivals, Departures - John Finn
  • The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent – J. Hanno Deiler.

Other Louisiana Print Sources:

  • Death Notices from Louisiana Newspapers, Volumes 1,2,3,4, 5, and 6.
  • A Guide to Printed Sources for Genealogical and Historical Research in the Louisiana Parishes – Yvette Guillot Boling.
  • New Orleans Marriage Contracts, 1804-1820: Abstracted from the Notarial Archives of New Orleans – Charles R. Maduell.
  • Searching for your Louisiana Ancestors --- and All That Jazz! – Virginia Rogers Smith.

Louisiana Periodicals in Print:

  • Gumbo Roots – West Bank Genealogical Society
  • L’Heritage – St. Bernard Genealogical Society
  • Le Reconteur – Le Comite des Archives de la Louisiane (this periodical is also available online)
  • The Louisiana Genealogical Register (1954-) – Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society
  • New Orleans Genesis (1962- current) – Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans
  • Tammany Genealogical Society Newsletter – St. Tammany Genealogical Society
  • Terrebonne Life Lines – Terrebonne Genealogical Society

Microfilm records for Louisiana:

  • St. Tammany Parish, Florida Parishes and select parishes’ court records containing probate records, succession records, conveyance records, and voter’s registration lists.
  • Birth, marriage and death indices for New Orleans.
  • Cemetery records for New Orleans cemeteries.
  • Passenger Lists for the Port of New Orleans.
  • Mothe Funeral Home Records.
  • French, Spanish Records for Colonial Louisiana
  • Sanborn Fire Maps covering towns and cities of Louisiana.

Online Sources:

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