Tuesday, August 10, 2010

They Wouldn't Allow Us To Use Daddy's Last Name.

    After building the family tree and asking questions of my mother about her family, It was necessary to search the various records that could help shade some additional light on the family historical past.  These records would come in various forms ( Birth, Baptism, Marriage, death succession/probate, land, tax, and census)  many would be housed at various locations throughout the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana where my early ancestors lives.  With access to the internet, I was even able to locate various pieces of information that were indexed and presented as aids in helping me to find original documents.

    The discovery of my parents and their parent were first found on the 1930 Louisiana census record.  The U.S. Census begins in the years 1790, however, in Louisiana there are census records that went as far back as 1708.  I was successful with locating several family members listed as far back as 1810.  My ancestral line of Mathieu,  I found myself tracing up into Canada only to later realize this line of MATHIEUs were not related to me.  There was a reason,  a mystery about the family's surname that I would later discover would open up for me family history that was not well known especially by my mom.
Mom, Me and Leonor Douroux Lombard

    A bit disappointed by the limited amount of information I was finding, I asked my mother if there could be some reason why the MATHIEU name was presenting so many challenges.  She said, she did not know however did know of another family member,  her second cousin, Leonor Douroux Lombard  that could assist with my MATHIEU family research.  She said,  she would take me over to visit her and that we did.

     Leonor Douroux LOMBARD was the niece of my great grandmother's- Georgiana LEGAUX  who sister Gabreille LEGAUX was Lenore DOUROUX Grandmother.  It appeared from what I gathered,  Leonor was the oldest family member who had been also piecing together bits of information about the family, much of what was obtained was from another cousin ( Gregg Osborne) a researcher and archivist at the New Orleans Public Library.   Leonor was also holding on to a piece of oral history that would lead me to some very interesting research along the way.  I told Leonor of the problems I was having locating information about our Mathieu family line.  She then proceeded to show me some of the information she manage to collect over the years.  One of which was a line diagram of the family tree.

Leonor Douroux Lombard Line diagram of the Mathieu Family Tree

My Grandparents were also listed on Leonor's Family tree
      Upon a closer inspection of the names Lenore had listed on her MATHIEU family, I noticed the names of my Grandparents Nellie MATHEIU and Thomas Phillips.  To my surprise, what I was now being exposed to five additional generations on a line diagram.  A priceless piece of family history that would to become part of my road map in discovering,  my Louisiana French Creole Ancestral past.  
Granted it was only names however, this would give me a reference while searching for documents such as birth, baptism, marriage and death records.   Leonor also showed me her notes taken and kept over the years,  that she gladly provided me with a copy of.   It was at that moment,  I knew something very special was being passed on to me.  It was our family's history in Louisiana as best as she knew of it.  And although incomplete,  this knowledge so carefully gathered and shared was to become my foundation for further research into the family's history.

      Leonor also shared with me a piece of the Family's history that needed not to be written but spoken in such a way that it would cause me to wonder for many years why?  Leonor told a story of one of the seven children, a daughers of my 4th generation great grandparent  Mathieu DEVAUX and Agnes MATHIEU, that said   "They would not allow us to use Daddy Last Name"...........   As I sat still and listen to her tell me this small piece of oral history.  I wondered what this was all about? who were the "THEY" she referred to and what was the daughter's father's last name and why could the children use it.?  I suddenly realize,  I was gaining some valuable insight and a small history lesson about Louisiana that I did not learn while attending school there.  Again, I was up for the challenge..

      A few years later,  Leonor Douroux LOMBARD died but left me with some valuable information about the family so as to  carry on with our family history research.


  1. Thanks Michael for this blog. It has helped me research my family's history. I am also a descendant of Marie Agnes through Catharina Mathieu and Clara Mathieu on the Plessy side. I would love to discuss our history.

  2. Wonderful! I hope there would be a way to get in contact with you, however you did not leave any contact information. I too would like to discuss more of our history. Hope you get back in contact with me and leave info on how I might contact you.
    I have been trying to piece together your branch of the family also.