Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy

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Calcasieu Parish

Guide to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Map
Map of Louisiana highlighting Calcasieu Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 24, 1840
County Seat Lake Charles
Courthouse
LACalcasieucourthouse.jpg
Address 1015 Pithon Street
PO Box 1583

Lake Charles, LA 70602
(337) 721-3500
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Website

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Parish Information

Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major Parish Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1910 1810 1910 1910

Parish Courthouse

Calcasieu Parish Courthouse
PO Box 1030
Lake Charles, LA 70602-1030
Phone: 337.437.3550 

Parish Clerk has marrige, divorce, probate,
court and land records from 1910.[2]

Calcasieu Parish Organization

Historical Facts

When Louisiana became a state, the large, sparsely settled area between the Atchafalaya and Sabine rivers was designated St. Landry Parish. As the parish became more populated, settlers began to complain about the long horse or wagon journey they had to make to Opelousas. By 1840, the area had enough settlers that the Louisiana Legislature took note of their complaints and created a new parish out of the southwest corner of St. Landry Parish. The new parish was named Calcasieu in honor of the region's principal river. [3]

The name Calcasieu (pronounced Cal-ca-shoo) comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this name. [4]

This original Calcasieu Parish, known as "Imperial Calcasieu Parish," included most of the five modern parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron, Beauregard, Allen and Jefferson Davis.

Boundary Changes

In 1870, Imperial Calcasieu underwent the first of two reorganizations. On 16 March 1870, Louisiana Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth signed an act providing for the creation of Cameron Parish from land then lying in both Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes.

The May 3, 1912, issue of the American Press reported: "In one of the most representative meetings ever held in the state, as well as one of the most harmonious, it was decided at the parish convention in this city [Lake Charles] last night to divide Imperial Calcasieu parish into four parishes. Amicable agreements were made upon the lines of division."

The divisions were as follows:

For animated maps illustrating Louisiana Parish boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Louisiana Parish Boundary Maps" (1805-1990) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

1910 The parish courthouse, as well as most of downtown Lake Charles, was destroyed by a disastrous fire on April 23. Many of the records of the parish were burned or damaged.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Places / Localities

Lacalcasieu.png

Records and Resources

African American

Bible Records

Biographies

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Calcasieu, Louisiana online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
TombstoneTranscriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the Parish
See Louisiana Cemeteries for more information

The following web sites may have additional information on Calcasieu Parish cemeteries.

Census Information


Year   Link to Census Text
Link to Census Images
1840
1840 Census - Text 1840 Census - Images
1850 1850 Census - Text

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Louisiana denominations, view the Louisiana Church Records wiki page.

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Louisiana Land and Property for additional information about early Louisiana land ownership. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse where records are also currently housed.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories see the wiki page section Louisiana Local Histories.

Maps

Military

Civil War

Online Records

World War I
World War II

Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries

Probate Records

Probate records before 1845 were kept in probate courts. Since 1845, they have been kept by the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy clerk of the district court. Many of the probate records are included in the notarial records with the deeds and mortgages. In some parishes they are known as “succession” records.

See the Wiki page Louisiana Probate Records for more information about probate records in Louisiana.

Content: Probate records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, and adoptions.

Online Probate Records

Repositories

Public Libraries

Taxation

Louisiana tax records can be used in place of missing censuses and provide lists of residents during years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years. For more information, see Louisiana Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

Louisiana statewide registration of birth and death records began in 1911. Births and deaths are kept by the Louisiana Vital Records Registry. Marriages were recorded by each parish, and the records are at the parish clerk of court office. See also How to order Louisiana Vital Records or order electronically online.

See Louisiana Vital Records for more information on getting Louisiana records.

Louisiana Records and Statistics Information  ~ where and how to order information.

Birth

Birth records going back 100 years are housed by the Calcasieu Parish Health Unit. Phone: 337-478-6020.

Marriage
Death

Societies

Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society
1635 Hodges St.
Lake Charles 70601-6016

Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society
PO Box 1214
1635 Hodges St., Lake Charles 70601-6016
Webstie

Brimstone Museum and Historical Society
800 Picard Rd
Sulphur LA 70663-4362

Starks Historical Society
664 Old River Road
Starks, Louisiana 70661

See also a List of Louisiana Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Websites

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

Thanks to the Calcasieu Wiki Contributors

Anyone can be a contributor. Contributors are people who write and edit the pages for FamilySearch Wiki. Thanks to the following contributors for helping to build this page (in alpha order). Help grow the wiki and add content today!

References

  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 264-278. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed., Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana p. 289 (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Benoit, Robert. "The Division of Imperial Calcasieu." Lake Charles American Press. 15 Jan. 1989.
  4. Wikipedia