Showing posts with label Bourgaux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bourgaux. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gambling with Genealogy Purchases

I attended the National Archives 2013 Virtual Genealogy Fair a couple weeks ago and it inspired me to do something that's long been on my to-do list.

I finally utilized the genealogy services of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

My great-great grandfather, Emile Bourgaux (1866-1948) and my great-great-great grandfather Michel Bourgaux (1840-?) were both naturalized citizens after immigrating from Belgium. Both went through the process in the 1890s.

I have index card records that say they were naturalized. I have birth dates. I have dates of naturalization. Those are important. What I don't have are file numbers.

Before I can request a file from this site, I have to request an index search to see if they're in the database and if they have file numbers. Those are $20 a pop, and there is no guarantee they'll find anything. That's where the genealogical gambling comes in.

I ordered an index search for both ancestors. I got an online warning for my third-great grandfather that it is very unusual for USCIS to find records for people born as far back as 1840. I soldiered on because I have a naturalization date for him and it falls within the website's parameters.

So now I'm out 40 bucks and in a holding pattern. If they find the naturalization file numbers--and that's a big IF--then they should deliver those to me via email. Only then can I shell out more dough and request their naturalization files.

I really help this goes through. I really want to know more about Michel Bourgaux.

Sometimes ordering genealogy records feels like throwing a bunch of money down a dark wishing well and hoping for the best. This is one of those times...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cross Country Thibodeaux Travelers

During a rare free evening earlier this week, I did a little poking around and my own private family tree there. It's been so long since I've been able to work on my own ancestral lines that there were dozens of "shaky leaves" or hints waiting for me.

Two of the hints were for my great-grandfather, Noel Holly Thibodeaux. Both were for city directories that had been added since I last worked on my own tree. 

The timeline for this man is a work in progress. He moved his wife Josephine (my great-grandmother) and his family back and forth between Louisiana and California several times. This was in the 1920s and 1930s before a national highway system, convenience stores and everything we expect for a road trip.

Circa 1926. One of many road trips between Louisiana and California.
Photo courtesy of my cousin, Eldridge, whose parents were along for the ride.

Though I am still searching city directories in southern California and Louisiana, here is a loose timeline of the many residences of the Noel Holly Thibodeaux family:

between 1914 and 1916 - Noel and Josephine got married. My grandfather says his parents got married in California. However, my great-grandmother was a young lady in an established Louisiana family. Did they elope to California? That would be quite a scandal, though I wouldn't put it past Noel as he looked like he was a handsome charmer. I'm still looking for a marriage record.

1917 - lived in San Bernardino, California with a child on the way.

1920 - Noel, Josephine and 2 children lived in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1922 - lived in "furnished rooms" in San Bernardino, California.

1924 - lived in Los Angeles, California

1926 - at least one trip to Lousiana, as the photo above was on a trip from Louisiana to California.

1928 - lived in Brawley, California. They had 4 kids then.

1930 - lived in Josephine's parents' house in Rayne, Louisiana.

1931 - lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. They had 5 kids.

1937 - lived in El Centro, California. They had 7 kids.

1939 - lived in El Centro, California at a new address.

1940 - lived in El Centro, California at a new address.

1944 - lived in Bell Gardens, California.

1948 - lived in Bell Gardens, California at a different address.

1950 - lived in Downey, California.

1962 - lived in San Jacinto, California, at the time of Noel's death.

I can't imagine moving around that much, especially cross-country with kids, but they did it. Hopefully Josephine had a sense of adventure and it wasn't just a chore. Here is a photo of my great-grandparents and one of the cars that took them there and back and there again:

Josephine Bourgaux and Noel Holly Thibodeaux
On the road again. And again. And again.

Hopefully this summer I'll get some more time to scour the city directories and fill in this Thibodeaux timeline. Until then, those shaky leaves will continue to tease me.

[Here's a search tip: don't always trust the search box for city directories on I've found this family in two separate directories where the search said "not found," but they were there when I manually searched the books page-by-page online. This manual search isn't hard, as the directories are in alphabetical order. Put in the extra time in searching. They payoff is worth it. --A]

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Genealogy Videos: Family History in 3 Minutes

 I think I found a way to share family history without people knowing they're learning family history.

(Heads up at work: there's music involved. Also, enlarging the video to full-screen makes it blurry. Blame Blogger.)


What do you think?

I love this process. It lets me tell stories with words, pictures and music. In 3 minutes, I shared with you (and my family members who are reading this blog) about my great-great grandparents, and your eyes didn't glaze over nor did you fall asleep at the table.

Genealogy purists will probably get their ahnentafels in a bunch because this piece lacks sources, but you know what? I don't care. My mission is to share about the lives of my ancestors and help others do the same. With this nifty storytelling avenue, I'm well on my way. 

The process of developing a personal genealogy video isn't too hard. You just have to have the patience and confidence to experiment with whatever software program you choose. I used Roxio Creator 2011 (affiliate link). You can also use programs that came with your computer, such as Windows Movie Maker or Mac equivalent.

Once you have that sorted, here are the basic steps to creating a narrative slideshow:

1. Gather photos. Make sure you own them or have permission to use them. Finding pictures on the Internet or someone else's Ancestry tree doesn't count. Allow time for cropping and editing if necessary.

2. Upload and sort. Upload the photos you want to use in your slideshow. All the video programs I've used have a place where you can drag images around the screen and put them in the order of your preference.

3. Add text. Depending on the story you want to tell, you can interject slides between photos or put words directly on the images. Keep the narration simple. Limit the amount of words per slide and use a big font.

4. Add audio if desired. If you choose this option, I recommend making the selection of music "Step 0" in this process. Finding music for this slideshow was the first thing I did. Why? Because once I found the right piece, it set the tone and guided my story. There are plenty of places to get legal music for videos. If you want to get all fancy, you can also use audio clips from your own digital recordings. 

Hopefully this little video gets your own creative gears grinding. Telling the story of my great-great grandparents was a fun process. I fully intend on making another narrative slideshow. In fact, I already have an idea....

[Note part 1: This video is also on You Tube. I tried to upload it here via that site, but Blogger was having a fit. Perhaps their ahnentafels are in a bunch. --Amy]

[Note part 2: Grandpa, if you're reading this, I hope you liked it! --Amy]

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 Family Heritage Tour, Part 3

[Part 3 of 3 in a series. Part 1 here and  part 2 here. --Amy]

Yesterday was the final day in the tour of my mother's "ancestral homeland" (aka Louisiana). In the morning after checking out of the hotel, we drove out to Iota:

The town may have a big heart, but there's zero cell phone reception of which to speak. What Iota does have is a lot of rice fields:

We paid a visit to the St. Joseph church and cemetery. I've read a couple books and records that say the church was built on land my ancestors used to own. There was a big house here once upon a time.

At the cemetery, which is part of the church grounds, I showed my mom the grave site of her great grandmother, Eliza "Lizzie" Eldridge Thibodeaux Matte. At the back of this photo is also the marker of Eliza's daughter Malina Thibodeaux, who is the great-aunt of my mom.

In another section of the same cemetery, there is a marker for Josephine DeGreve Bourgaux, who is my mom's great-great grandmother from Belgium. The stone also shares the names of two of Josephine's grandchildren. Upon seeing this marker, my mom realized that her own grandmother Josephine was named for this woman:

After that, we drove around Iota, which took about 2 minutes. Then we took the slow road home.

My mom doesn't *do the genealogy* like I do, but I think she really enjoyed this trip. She had heard stories of Acadia Parish from her parents, but had never been there. Now she has pictures, memories and new cousins.  And the food...we can't forget the food!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 Family Heritage Tour, Part 2

[Part 2 of 3 in a series. Part 1 here and part 3 here. --Amy]

Day 2 in the 2010 Family Heritage Tour of my mom's "ancestral homeland" started early. We had a lot to do.

First, we headed out to the area where my great-great grandfather was killed in 1889. According to the newspaper articles, he stole his neighbor's wife, and flaunted the fact around town. Then he stole the neighbor's horse and that sent the guy over the edge. Anyway, here's the scene of the crime:

Last time I visited, this field was rice. I'm think these might be soybeans:

Near the scene of the crime, there was a cemetery. We stopped to see if my great-great grandfather was buried there. I've never found a grave for him and I didn't here, either:

I thought it was an interesting stop. My mom, not so much. She stayed in the car. There she is in the front seat:

For lunch, we met my mom's second cousin at Chef Roy's. We had never met before today, and this meeting was the product of a letter I sent out of the blue in March. We had a wonderful meal. She shared pictures and I feel like I hit the jackpot. I have a photo of my third-great grandmother and a possible contact with a cousin in Belgium. We'll see what happens. After lunch, we visited some more and saw some family homes.

I think my parents had a good time and my son wasn't entirely bored so it's a good day in my terms.

For dinner, we went here:

The food was fine, but really I wanted to go there for the Cajun tunes:

As you can see, I'm serious about my food, I'm serious about my live music, and I'm serious about my Family  Heritage Tours.

Next up... we'll spend some time in Iota, Louisiana before taking the slow road home.

Click here for part 3.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 Family Heritage Tour, Part 1

[Part 1 of 3 in a series. Part 2 here and part 3 here. --Amy]

Today began the 2010 Family Heritage Tour, where we go to my mom's ancestral homeland. For many folks, that would be another continent. For my mom, it's Louisiana since the 1700's. This particular tour, however, is focusing on the French and Belgian immigrants who came to Acadia Parish in the 1880's.

After we crossed from Texas into Louisiana, I went south on route 27 to go to Cameron. However, I forgot there were two route 27s, and I was on the wrong one. That's ok because I got to see Holly Beach again. You'll be glad to know we didn't see any oil, just a lot of shells.

The because of my wrong turn, we had to go on the ferry to get from Holly Beach to Cameron. My son took this picture while we were waiting for the ferry:

When we got to the Cameron Parish courthouse, we paid a visit to the Civil War memorial that had my great-great grandfather's name on it (among many other who died that day):

All that travel made us hungry, so we stopped in Lake Charles for lunch:

I recommend a plate of pistolettes.

After lunch, we ventured off I-10 and took the more scenic route to our hotel. My mom got to see a bit of her "ancestral homeland" along the way. Once we got to the hotel, we chatted by the pool, which overlooks the bayou.

For dinner, we went to Prejean's, where we had delicious food and sat at a table in front of the web cam. We called my aunt in California and told her to look for us online. She said it looked like we ordered a lot of food, but I think she was just jealous that she wasn't with us. (Need I remind her of the fried pie incident? But I digress...) Maybe I can do these family heritage tours for hire...

Next up, a visit to the cemetery where my mom's great grandparents are buried and a first-time meeting with my mom's second cousin. Big day ahead on the 2010 Family Heritage Tour!

Click here for part 2.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Best Deal in Genealogy

You know those Louisiana death certificates I ordered last week? They arrived yesterday! I sent the forms on one Thursday and the certificates came on the next Thursday. And the records were only $5 each! I need to see if there are any other death certificates I need before the Secretary of State wises up and raises the price.

Below are the death certificates I requested and received. I know you won't care, but I want to list them here so others who may be searching online will land on my blog, contact me, exchange info and live happily ever after as cousins in Genealogyland.

Julia Bourgaux Menou d. 30 Jul 1949

George Paul Bourgaux d. 26 Dec 1931

Charles Matt / Matte d. 1 July 1938 (2nd husband of my great-great grandmother who was the widow of my great-great grandfather who suffered from wandering-eye disease)

Elizabeth Thibodeaux Scanlan d. 29 March 1952 (daughter of Mr. wandering-eye disease)

Frank Scanlan d. 22 April 1946 (husband of Elizabeth)

Earl Rufus Scanlan d. 18 Dec 1933 (Homicide! Shot in a restaurant! Son of Elizabeth and Frank)

ValJean Menou d. 20 Dec 1925 (age 6 of diptheria)

Victor Menou d. 16 Nov 1954 (age 3 of accidental hanging. So sad.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Louisiana Death Certificates

I recently ordered some older Louisiana death certificates.

You can do the same through this page of the Secretary of State's web site.

Here's the deal:

1. You can search this page for death records between 1911 and 1956.

2. If you find what you're looking for, you can fill out a form online*, then print it out to mail.

3. The cost to obtain a death record from this site is $5. A bargain!

4. You can send up to 10 requests in the same envelope.

I ordered some records for siblings of my great-great grandparents. I'm hoping they give clues to birthplaces or other little nuggets of knowledge. Always research the siblings. You find surprises that way.

The certificates I ordered were for the Bourgaux and Menou lines. I also ordered a record for Charles Matte, who was the second husband of my great-great grandmother, Eliza Eldridge Thibodeaux. How did her first husband perish, you ask? Here, let me refresh your memory.

I'll let you know what these records hold. Louisiana usually gets these documents out within a month.

* Note: I had to exit Google Chrome and use Internet Explorer to get the online applications to pop up and print. Just a heads up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

In July 2009, I shared my saga of trying to find the graves of my great-great grandparents and their son in a post titled Where the Sidewalk Ends. In short, I read they were in St. Joseph's Cemetery #2, but was told they were in St. Joseph's #1, though the church staff wasn't sure where in #1 they were. I was shown records that they were buried in #1, so I was convinced they were out there somewhere. I left Louisiana without success.

This past week, I returned to the scene in an attempt to locate the graves that have eluded me in the past. I went back to St. Joseph's Cemetery #1 and scoured the entire grounds. This wasn't easy, as the graves aren't laid out in neat, tidy rows. Sometimes I had to tread lightly on the bases of certain monuments to read the stones on the rows behind them. It's a delicate balance of respect, determination and trying not to sprain an ankle.

In the months between visits, someone had emailed me to say that the cemetery sidewalks were put in before the death dates of my ancestors, so it was unlikely they were under there. That made me feel better, but where were they? There were a few family plots where the information had simply worn away. Perhaps one of those held the Bourgaux name. I tried to channel my ancestors, beg them to point me in the right direction, bribe them with the promise of glowing tributes on my blog, but nothing worked.

I searched for about two hours and didn't find my Bourgaux names. My unwilling partner in crime was getting a little antsy, so I called it quits.

My son wanted to hunt for trains, so I told him we'd take a quick trip to St. Joseph's Cemetery #2 to re-take some photos of a few ancestors' graves. I promised him it wouldn't take long because I knew where everyone was located. So we roll into St. Joseph #2:

We get out of the car and head over to the familiar monuments of my great-great aunt and her family. For some reason, my eye wanders up and to the left and what do I see?

George P. Bourgaux

Emelie M. Bourgaux

Emile J. Bourgaux

It's my great-great grandparents and their son! They were in St. Joseph's #2 all along! But why did I have the paperwork that said they were in #1? They were originally buried there, but must have been moved at some point, perhaps by one or more of their adult children.

What matters most is that I found them! Or maybe they found me....

Emelie Menou Bourgaux
Emile Joseph Bourgaux

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Personal Genealogy Day

You've heard of "personal days" at work? Well yesterday I took a personal genealogy day.

I haven't worked on my own family stuff in weeks. I've been doing homework for ProGen, writing articles, maintaining this blog, taking my kid to see trains, running a household, etc. So yesterday I just cleared the calendar and resumed working on my RootsMagic database that I started building from scratch last year.

I worked on the Bourgaux/Menou lines in Acadia Parish, Louisiana. I entered in the details from the death certificates and obituaries of my great-great grandparents. I found a recent online obituary from a cousin I've never met from that line and added those details to the database as well.

Then I sent a letter to complete stranger/cousin asking for family information. I enclosed a picture of our ancestors in my letter to show that I'm sincere and not some stalker freak. We'll see how that goes.

This personal genealogy day came at the right time. I really enjoy working on this database, each fact having a source. It's so small right now and takes so long to add information correctly, but the end result will be worth it.

Now back to real life and the responsibilities it entails. Laundry doesn't care about family history.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Jackpot Edition

In July of this year, I visited St. Joseph Cemetery in Iota, Louisiana. I have a great-great grandmother buried there as well as various aunt, uncle and cousin types. I took a checklist with me and crossed off names as I found their graves.

When I came to the grave shown below, I was quite excited. Can you guess why?

Genealogists are well aware of the challenge of trying to determine ancestors' foreign birthplaces, and here they were all spelled out in stone. These are my third great uncle and aunt. Jules' sister is my great-great grandmother. Julia's brother is my great-great grandfather. Yes, one brother and sister pair married another sister and brother pair. I am especially excited to see the birthplace information because I can't find the burial site for my great-great grandparents. At least I know where they came from.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Who Are You Edition

I've done enough research in Acadia Parish to feel pretty comfortable with the statement that I'm likely related to all Bourgaux folks in the area. The photo below was taken in July 2009 in St. Joseph's Cemetery #1, Rayne, Louisiana. Of course, this is one name I can't place:

Amelia Bourgaux
Mar. 7 1892 - Sept. 15 1933

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Last week I took a genealogy road trip to Acadia Parish, Louisiana. I wanted to find some information and gravesites for ancestors on my mom's side of the family.

One of the places I went was the city of Rayne (aka Frog Capital of the World). The cemetery system there is a bit confusing as there are two St. Joseph cemeteries, referred to as 1 and 2. After searching for my great-great grandparents all over cemetery #2, I learned the information I was given was wrong. They were buried in #1.

St. Joseph's Cemetery (#1) has a unique characteristic, as described here:

"The site of St. Joseph's Catholic Church and Cemetery was determined after the new settlement of Rayne was established. Huge wooden wheels were made and the old church from the original Poupeville settlement was mounted on them and moved to this location in 1882. The cemetery, adjacent to the church, was the only known Christian cemetery for many years where the graves were placed in a north-south direction lengthwise. According to ancient Christian customs, graves are positioned east-west so the bodies of the dead lie facing the rising sun, the symbol of Christ's resurrection. Folklore about the cemetery's misalignment has been passed down over the years in stories, but no one knows for certain why this cemetery does not follow tradition."

I looked for the graves of my great-great grandparents Bourgaux, but did not find anything. Many of the markers were worn and the print hard to read. Mosquitoes were everywhere and I had to walk at a clip to keep them at bay. I did not find what I was looking for.

My father and I asked for the Bourgaux grave location at the cemetery/church office, but was told the exact spot was unknown. They were out there somewhere. The lady also said something disturbing. The sidewalk around the cemetery was constructed over gravesites, now marked only by the cement path on top of them.

I sure hope my great-great grandparents aren't buried under the sidewalk. They came here from France and Belgium. They got married on July 4. The had 13 children and lost 8 early on. They ran a theater. When they lost it in a fire, they moved and began again with a blacksmith business. They deserve better than to be buried under a sidewalk.

Emelie Menou Bourgaux (1876-1944)
Emile Bourgaux (1866-1948)

Edit: They've been found.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Road Trip Re-Cap

I'm back from my quickie road trip to Acadia Parish. The focus was on the names Bourgaux and Menou. I threw a bit of Thibodeaux research in there for good measure, but I'll have to mosey on up to Opelousas for the real details on that line.

My dad and my son went with me on this trek. My dad was kind enough to entertain my son while I did research at the Crowley Branch of the Acadia Parish Public Library. They have a nice genealogy room, including a great obit collection developed by wonderful volunteers and some members of the local Pointe de l'Eglise: Acadia Genealogical and Historical Society.

In the afternoons, we went searching the local cemeteries. I was mostly successful but not completely. I will elaborate at a later date.

Of course, when you go to Louisiana, you must sample the local food.

One night we ate at Prejean's in Lafayette.

Another night we ate at Chef Roy's Frog City Cafe in Rayne (Frog Capital of the World, y'all).

On the way home we stopped at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles. My son and I shared the magic of pistolettes with my dad.

This was a good road trip and research trip. I came away with about 75 copied pages of information which will provide a strong, well-sourced base for me to continue my work on the Bourgaux and Menou lines in the Iota and Rayne areas of Acadia Parish, Louisiana.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Researching Acadia Parish

I haven't had much spare time this week, but the few minutes I did collect went to gathering the names of ancestors born in Acadia Parish, Louisiana, or somehow connected to the area.

I'm hoping to take a quick trip there in July, and I'd like to determine the cemetery sites of anyone who may be buried there.

My group is about 70 people. These are the names (so far) that occur in my family tree:

Brewer (an interesting case, indeed)
(part of the interesting case, indeed)
Matt / Matte
Taylor (guy that killed a Thibodeaux)
Thibodeaux (guy that was killed by a Taylor)

Based on what I've seen so far, I am probably related to any Bourgaux or Menou folks in Rayne, Iota or that general area of Acadia Parish. Those families rolled in to the country in the 1870's/1880's. The Thibodeaux's are the Cajun version of Smith. What a mess. I haven't sorted that out yet.

With the list done, I'll start consulting online resources, like Find-a-Grave and the local society-related web pages. Then I will move on to my local libraries here. I feel confident I'll have burial places for most of these folks by then.

I'd also love to find the court records of a murder case that occured in Acadia Parish in 1889. Advice? I've done zero searching. I'm just being lazy and fishing for an easy answer.

So that's what I've been doing this week. Fun stuff.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Naming Names

Craig at GeneaBlogie had the wise notion to publicize the names he was searching and see if anyone else knows something about them. This is a great idea. I can't believe I never did it before, but I'm posting them here now:

Baerecke, Barecke (WI, IL)
Bean (TN, AR)
Bourgaux, Bourgeaux (Acadia Parish LA, Gilly Belgium)
Bourland (KY, TX, OK)
Brauckman (Germany)
Brigance (TN, AR)
Brigham (TN, AR)
Clingman (AR)
Cloyd (TN, VA)
Colbert (Chickasaw, Indian Territory, OK, MS)
Degreve (LA, Belgium)
Eldridge (St. Landry LA, Milan County TX, KY)
Hood (KY, TX)
Howorth, Howarth (SC, TX)
Jones (Chickasaw, TX, NC, OK, Indian Territory)
Jost (Austria, PA)
Legoffe (France, LA)
Lenertz (IA in 1850's, MN, Luxembourg)
Lockweiler (poss. Luxembourg)
Menou (Acadia Parish, LA, France)
Moore (MS, OK, Indian Territory)
Mitchell (NC, AR)
Neilson (NC, TX)
Perkins (KY, TX, LA)
Quesenberry, Quesenbury (AR, NC)
Shokweiler (poss. Luxembourg)
Shukeveiler (or something like it)
Smith (LeSueur MN)
Sparks (AR, poss. TN)
Tate (NC, AR)
Thibodeaux (Acadia & St. Landry Parishes LA)
Turk, Tuerk (Germany)
Williamson (AR, TN)
Yost (PA, Austria)

Ok, now I have to use the word "genealogy" so search engines will pick it up and people searching for Eldridge genealogy or such will land on this blog.

My challenges are as follows:

Any indication of a Baerecke or Barecke in Chicago in 1892.
A death date for H. H. Baerecke/Barecke.
An idea of what H. H. stands for (I think it's Harry from WI but have no proof.)

Information on the following Lenertz's all born in the 1800's:
Alex Lenertz
Alexander Lenertz
Catherine Lenertz
Frank Lenertz
Henry Lenertz
John Lenertz
Joseph Lenertz
Margaret Lenertz
Mary Lenertz
Michael Lenertz
William Lenertz

Also in search of information on the Pierre Thibodeaux born in Louisiana in 1829, not the one born in 1835.

If you have any information on these folks, or you need more clarification, please email me using the email address provided in the right column of this blog.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Calling Baton Rouge

I ordered three death certificates today. The first two were for my great-great grandparents Menou and Bourgaux.

The third record was for another great-great grandmother, Eliza Eldridge. She is best known as the poor wife at home in this pesky homicide incident where her husband was murdered for making eyes (among other things) with the neighbor's wife. Ahhhh, family.

This is my first foray into Louisiana records requests. Because these death certificates are over 50 years old, I can request them from the Louisiana State Archives for 5 bucks each. Not bad.

So we'll see how it goes. I don't expect any surprises from these records. Just getting my facts straight.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

COG 63: New Year's Genealogy Resolutions

The topic for the 63rd Carnival of Genealogy is New Year's resolutions. Participants are supposed to discuss plans for genealogy research and blogging in the coming year. Easy enough.

Plans for WeTree:

I resolve to double my number of daily visitors to this blog. I also plan to double the number I currently see on Feedburner, as well as my authority number on Technorati. I wrote today's stats in the back of my 2009 calendar, so we'll see if I reach my goal.

The blog itself will stay the same in terms of style and focus (or lack thereof). I will continue to treat it like a plant, adding to it, watching it grow and waiting for the crop to pay off.

Plans for Research:

Lenertz - I'm at the end of my rope with these folks and their only children, random movements across the country, and lacking vital records. It's challenging to trace an unusual name, especially a branch for which I can find no previous research. I resolve not to give up. It's all I can promise.

Thibodeaux - I resolve to poke around in Louisiana a bit, get some vital records and start to build a case to prove my theory that Noel Thibodeaux is often being connected to the wrong Pierre Thibodeaux. I also want to explore the Bourgaux and Menou names in the Acadia and St. Landry Parishes.

Colbert - I've cleared the ground and planted a seed. Now it's time to grow a family tree for my Chickasaw Colberts. This year, my Colbert time will focus on getting information on great-grandmother Frankie's sisters.

Miscellaneous Plans:

I resolve to have two writing pieces published somewhere. That's it. I don't care about the focus or the audience. Just write two pieces and have someone print them. I was published once last year, so I'm doubling the goal to challenge myself.

I resolve to have a personal CG timeline in place by Dec. 31, 2009. I know I want to be certified. Right now, my response is "some day." By next year, I figure I'll know enough about the process to feel comfortable setting a timeline to reach that goal.

I am attending the big events for NGS, SCGS, and FGS in 2009. I plan to meet as many blog readers and Facebook friends as I can so we can share in our own brand of craziness.

Guess that's all. It's going to be a good year for me, geneaogically speaking. I can feel it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Whole is Equal to the Sum of Its Parts: A Thanksgiving Meme

Julie over at GenBlog is hosting a Thanksgiving meme. The task is to write about two things for which we are thankful, then encourage others to do the same. I personally am thankful for about a million things. However, since WeTree is a genealogy blog, I shall limit my meme to two family-history topics.

First, I must say I am thankful for the history keepers: past, present, and future. Everything I have learned thus far about my family is due to the fact that someone took the time to save their stories, their photos, their records and evidence that they walked this planet. This group includes archivists, librarians, and amateur genealogists. It also includes fellow genea-bloggers who have a similar passion for history and share their own ancestors' experiences. I enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing them.

Second, I am thankful for my ancestors. Discovering their stories has shaped my life and put my own experiences in perspective. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts. In my case, the parts include:

Nancy Bourland (1846-1913) moved her eight children (and one on the way) to the family's new homestead in Indian Territory. Her husband passed away while stopped for supplies in Texas and never made it to the new home. Widowed Nancy went on to raise her children, complete with formal education, while running the ranch. She is my great-great-great grandmother. Her story puts my little complaints about life in perspective.

Emile Bourgaux (1866-1948) was born in Belgium but came to America at 19, likely for the same reasons as millions of other immigrants. He and his wife settled in Acadia Parish, Louisiana, where he ran a successful business until it was destroyed by fire. Bourgaux moved to another parish town and started again. He and his wife also had 13 children, at least 5 of whom died in infancy. Emile is my great-great grandfather, and I hope I have inherited some of his perseverance.

William Woodberry Williamson (1853-1942) is my easy study. He was born, lived and died in the same Arkansas county. His presence is noted in dozens of records. He was widowed three times, always with young children to raise. By all accounts, he led a straight-laced, good, Christian life. However, a single church record admonishing Williamson for playing cards for pleasure is what defines my great-great grandfather for me. Live your life in service to others, but don't forget to sneak in a little fun time for yourself.

Lastly, I have to mention the family Thibodeaux. Even in the vast ocean of Thibodeauxs out there, my little branch is unique. Though their conduct isn't always admirable, evidence of their presence on this Earth is always entertaining. If I had the time, I could probably write a book about my hell-raising great-great grandfather and the equally hell-raising son who never knew him. Perhaps I inherited a dash of mischief from this branch, but I choose to stay on this side of the law.

Each of my ancestors has a story. In time, I hope to tell them all. For now I will continue to gather informational pieces and shape the puzzles of their lives. When a picture forms, it helps me see where I've come from and prepares me for where I am going. I understand the importance of these stories and for that, I am truly thankful.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adding Some Cajun Spice

I'm now a "friend" with Louisiana Genealogy Blogs on Facebook. Some are probably thinking, "Huh? There's no Louisiana in this blog."

I know I've spent a lot of time in Arkansas with the Williamsons, but I actually do have a big stake in Louisiana.

My maternal grandfather's family is from Louisiana. The surnames I'm searching there are Thibodeaux, Bourgaux/Bourgeaux/Borgaux, and Menou. They mostly settled in Acadia Parish in the Rayne and Iota areas. Earlier, this area was known as St. Landry Parish.

I will get around to posting more about this branch of the family, but until then I just wanted to explain why this qualifies as a Louisiana Genealogy Blog.