Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fun with CastleGarden.org

The other day I decided to poke around CastleGarden.org. I have several ancestors who immigrated before Ellis Island, and I occasionally steal a little *me* time to search for them.

This time I entered MENOU in the surname box and found my great-great-great grandparents and some kids:

Menou, Victor Francis (age 39)
Menou, Janne (age 37)
Menou, Marie (age 18)
Menou, Anne (age 15)
Menou, Francois (age 13)
Menou, Jules (age 10)

They arrived October 2, 1884 from Havre, France on the ship Marseille. They were bound for New Orleans.

I don't know who Marie, Anne and Francois are. Children? Nieces and nephews? The lack of an 1890 census doesn't help things. All I know is that I've never seen those names in family records. Jules I know.

But where is my great-great grandmother Emelie Menou? She would have been about 8. I sat there for a second, then a light bulb came on in my head. I searched the name MENON, which is a common error with this Menou surname. Guess what I found?

Menon, Pierrette (age 38)
Menon, Jane (age 17)
Menon, Emelie (age 8)
Menon, Josephine (age 6)
Menon, Pierre (age 3)

There's my great-great grandmother Emelie (erroneously listed as a male). I do not know who Pierrette and Jane are. I'm inclined to think Pierrette is a female name (though listed as a male) and maybe she is an aunt. The three youngsters are the children of Victor and Jeanne Menou above.

This second boat (Rhaetia) came from Havre, France on May 12, 1885. The group's destination was not known.

So it looks like my third-great grandparents came first with the oldest family members. Once they settled, they sent for the youngsters. The challenge now is figuring out who some of these people are.

Based on Jules Menou's obituary, the family spent some time in Seguin, Texas before eventually settling in Pointe Aux Loups, Louisiana (now Iota in Acadia Parish).

With an hour of research time and a hunch, I now have all these questions to answer and leads to follow, thanks to CastleGarden.org.

[Note to family and cousins not yet met, some of the information for this post came from Jules Menou Sr.'s obituary (1872-1941). Please contact me if you would like a copy.]


  1. Fantastic lead for you!!
    I have searched several times for some of my ancestors, but after hearing your news, I think I will put it on my "to do" list and give it another try.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. I can spend a lot of time there. Even more looking at the Hamburg list. Also separated by surnames that Ships passenger list website. I forget the initials. I am sure you already have compared with your census, etc.

    I use Aida and Bremen auswanderer follow up tools too.
    sometimes it is so consuming to see if any of the other relatives or those they knew then came as well. Ill try just first names common to them all. Maria, Heinrich, Friederick, etc. With ship and year fixed and no last name. And of course abbreviations of the name and just letters. Sooo time consuming, but a joy when you hit it. I have to admit that ancestry.com really sucks when it comes to finding passengers to new york. ;Hamburg list is good] You can tell it the name of the ship and when and it might tell you fifty pages later!!! So I agree playing with Castle garden and Steve Morse's site is the best bet first.