Welcome to the swamps! The Louisiana branches (most, but not all, from New Orleans) have not historically been as well researched as the families on this website from Maryland and New England. Asahel McLellan, whose family moved from the northeast to New Orleans, has a fairly well documented family. But research on the other families here—the Pitards, Gamards, Courets, Maupays, DeGranges, and the rest—has required some fairly difficult, but also rewarding, research. As you can see by the number of queries below, help would be appreciated!
1. Post-immigration ancestors.
All of these problems are about parentage. I would really like to push back all the major branches on the site to immigration, but it's just not that easy. These people's parents (it seems) lived in America, but can't be found. . . :
Ann ___?, the wife of Daniel Maupay, Sr. Women's names are often just lost, and so far this is a good example. She apparently married him in Philadelphia after he immigrated. She only seems to be on the 1850 Philadelphia census. (Query solved as of September 2012.)
Gustave Pitard Sr.'s family owned
Pitard's Hardware on Canal Street
until the Depression wiped them out.
The history of Aurora Fouque and her husband, Joseph Fernandez is complex puzzle which seems to involve the issue of race. The 1850 census records her clearly as "M," for "mulatto." But no census after that does, nor does her Death Certificate, which says "white." I can find no record of her marriage to Daniel Maupay Jr. Her daughter's death certificate spells her last name "Fauque." Perhaps the 1850 census was just wrong? Perhaps her husband Joseph was black, not her? Perhaps the family was light enough to "pass"? Perhaps none of this has to do with chasing them down at all? Who were her parents' families?
John McMillan, the second husband of Barbara Klipfel. Her first husband (Charles Fields) was apparently a drunk who died young. And then John McMillan died relatively young as well. He was from "State of New York," according to several vital records, But, who was his New York family?
Caroline Rebecca Simmons. It was hard just to find her maiden name: the only place it seems to occur is on the death certificate for her son Alfonse Gamard Jr.. Her own death certificate says that she was from Charleston, South Carolina. Did her family move to New Orleans when she was young, or did she move there after being married?
Lucie Maurice. There only seems to be a name and a death record (where her name is "Morris"). Who was her family? (Query solved as of October 2012.)
What is the story behind George Dunbar Pitard? It seems he had several wives, but when he might have divorced and remarried is very unclear. His first, Grace Feahney, is recorded as having died in 1944, but George is also recorded on the 1920 census with a woman named Mary, and on the 1930 census as living in Chicago with a wife named Beatrice?
This problem is from a different branch of the tree altogether:
Who were the parents of William Chisholm Tomlinson? According to a history of his son the Civil War veteran Augustus A. Tomlinson (who moved over to Texas), he "came from Georgia." His son, however, was born in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
2. Other Puzzles.
Names and dates are mere data. Turning them into stories is how they become interesting. Here are some problems I've come across:
There are two different Couret families on the tree: how are they related? One, the family of Jean Bernard Couret, is traceable back to France (thanks to the work of a Couret relative). But there is a second group, the family of Jean Louis Couret, who was also born in France; his daughter Marie Octavie Couret married into the Gelpi family, who are related to the DeGranges. Were Jean Louis and Jean Bernard at all related?
In letters between Joseph DeGrange and his wife, Ellen McMillan, they several times mention a "Mrs. Tormey" who lives in New Orleans. She is clearly older, and they always respectfully call her "Mrs." They named their third child "Joseph Tormey DeGrange." Who was Mrs. Tormey? Was she a relative? Download my edition of the letters to read more . . .
In 1870, Joseph DeGrange travelled north on a trip to Boston. During the trip he write home to his family and addressed his "children": "Henry, Eddy, Josey, Beney, Bella, Nellie, and Cousin Sarah." Actually, only the first five are his children, those born before 1870. The last two are not: Nellie's full name is "Ellen McMillan," and Cousin Sarah (no last name is given for her) seems to be just visiting. Joseph signs "your Uncle" on a personal note to Nellie. So, just who the heck are Nellie and "Cousin Sarah"? Download my edition of the letters to read more . . .
Orris McLellan is a biographer's dream. For starters: what was his involvement in the French Foreign Legion? His obituary mentions that he gained some notoriety when he signed up to serve in WWI in his 60s, and his grave mentions that he was a "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur."