First Families of Louisiana



First Families of Louisiana

When the American flag was raised in New Orleans on 20 December 1803, and the Louisiana Purchase instantly doubled the size of the United States, those who were already living in Louisiana became U.S. residents, and citizens shortly thereafter. In 2003, to celebrate both the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Territory and its own 50th Anniversary, the Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Society established the First Families of Louisiana lineage certificate program both to recognize the heritage of those new Americans of 1803, and to promote improved standards of genealogical research and documentation. If you have a qualifying ancestor, we invite you to apply! Please note that this is a "certificate" program, not a separate membership organization. There are no separate dues or fees beyond the initial application fee.

Basic Qualifications:

  1. You must have an ancestor who resided within the present boundaries of the State of Louisiana on 20 December 1803 (including the Florida Parishes), and be able to prove it with acceptable documentation.
  2. You must be able to show descent, generation by generation, from that ancestor, and be able to prove it with acceptable documentation.

Applications will be examined on behalf of the Society by an experienced research genealogist, who will rule on whether these qualifications have been met. If not, a request will be made for further information or proof, usually with suggestions or recommendations on how to obtain that information. Last but not least, a certificate -- suitable for framing, of course -- will be issued to each applicant for each successfully documented lineage.

Note that you need not be a member of the Society to apply -- although members do receive a discount. (You will find that if you make as many as six applications -- and many people do -- you will save money by joining the Society.)

What qualifies as proof and acceptable documentation, and how should it be presented?

  1. Primary sources are preferred over secondary sources. This includes (but is not limited to) such official sources as birth and baptismal certificates, death and interment records, civil marriage licenses and church marriage records, wills and probate or succession files, deeds and land transfer records, military service and pension records, voting and tax lists, civil suits and other "courthouse" records, and government censuses. Remember that not all kinds of sources are equally valid as evidence for all kinds of events.
  2. Sources created at or near the event itself are preferred over those created years later. This includes contemporary government records, contemporary Bible records, and contemporary personal letters, among other sources. Louisiana is fortunate in possessing an enormous quantity of surviving colonial sources recording contemporary events, the majority of them published.
  3. Family stories and traditions, published family histories and lineage compilations, newspaper accounts, and the application files of other lineage societies are not acceptable as proof.
  4. You must provide copies of all documentation used to satisfy the eligibility requirements.

All statements of fact in the application must be accompanied by citations to the substantiating documentation. Copies of all documentation should be attached, including photocopies of all primary sources. Do not send your originals - they will not be returned! Photocopies of secondary and published sources also are required.

Applications must be made on the forms provided by the Society. These are available in the back of each issue of the Register, and also at the Society's website. The website also includes more detailed information and guidance on proper source citation, examples of citations to commonly used Louisiana sources, discussions of types of evidence, a list of suggested style manuals, and other relevant topics.

The First Families program is gradually publishing successfully documented lineages in the Louisiana Genealogical Register (your signature on the application gives us permission to do this), not merely in outline but as a full narrative, including source citations. Details on living persons which are included by necessity in the application will not be published. It is planned that data on qualifying ancestors will appear on

First Families of Louisiana     

This individual is part of the lineage of a certified
Colonial Louisiana Ancestor
by the
Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Society

(Click "First Families of Louisiana" for details)

This "First Families of Louisiana" banner is displayed on the Person page of the qualifying ancestor when an application is approved. This also results in that individual being listed in the First Families of Louisana category.

Please note: You may not add this banner to any Person page on your own.

Certified ancestors

The following colonial Louisiana residents, represented by successful applications, now have pages on WeRelate (with full documentation), together with their families and descendants:

Pierre Lanoux (c.1745–1817)                      Paul-Marie Boudreaux (1771–1846)
Karl Frederick d'Arensbourg (1693-1779)                      Jean-Baptiste Bara (1700–1782)
Alexandro Cousso (bef 1755–bef 1807)                      William Dawson (1772–1831)
Pierre Joachim Haussy (1683?–1754)                      Jean Pierre Keller (c.1731?–1789)
Marie Celeste LaMatte (bef 1796–1836)                      Joseph Simon Landry (1775–1819)
Samuel Wells (bef 1755–1800)                      Laurent Sigur (1742?–1816)
Don Juan Vives (c.1754–1822)                      Jean-Baptiste Norra (bef 1780–aft 1806)