Louisiana Church Records
Before statehood in 1812 the Roman Catholic Church was dominant in Louisiana. Few Protestant churches flourished. From 1812 to 1900, the largest religious groups in Louisiana were the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches.
The earliest church records were Roman Catholic marriage records that began in 1720 and baptism records that began in 1729. Most records are kept at the local churches. The Family History Library has a small collection of Louisiana church records, including Roman Catholic and Baptist sources. Also see the 45 volumes of civil and church records from southern and southwestern Louisiana published by Donald J. Hebert (see the “Vital Records” page).
Guides to help you locate Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish records are:
Hebert, Donald J. A Guide to Church Records in Louisiana, 1720-1975. Eunice, Louisiana.: D. J. Hebert, 1975. (Family History Library book 976.3 K23h fiche 6051420 or 6010583.)
Guide to Vital Statistics Records of Church Archives in Louisiana. New Orleans, Louisiana: Louisiana State Board of Health, 1942. (Family History Library book 976.3 V2w; film 1305374 items 2-3; fiche 6051101.)
You can also write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located:
THE DROUIN COLLECTION:
Drouin Collection 1621-1967 at Ancestry.ca. When searching these databases, be creative in the spellings as well as the various focuses in searching for an ancestor. The French language has many possible spellings for a name, as well as there are errors in the indexing.
This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries; they were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. In Quebec, under the French Regime, there were two sets of records kept: a copy for the civil government archives and a copy for the ecclesiastical church archives. The Drouin collection is a civil copy of these entries. Please note that the cutoff date of this collection is in the early 1940s; only a small percentage of entries were covered from 1948 to 1967.
This collection is divided into six databases: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967 2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. For details about these six databases, see "The Drouin Collection: Six Databases" at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/The_Drouin_Collection:_Six_databases .
Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954: This database only contains the French Catholic parish records from the United States; in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian.
Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives
7887 Walmsley Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70125-3496
This archdiocese includes the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, and Washington.
Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport
4400 Coliseum Boulevard
Alexandria, LA 71303
Diocese of Baton Rouge Archives
1800 South Acadian Thruway
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
P.O. Box 2028
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-2028
This diocese has collected all parish registers in its area and indexed them.
Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203-3630
Centenary College of Louisiana
Magale Library, Cline Room
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188
P.O. Box 41188
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188
University of New Orleans
Earl K. Long Library—Archives and Manuscripts Division
New Orleans, LA 70148