Louisiana began statewide birth and death registration in 1914. Information on obtaining copies is on the Office of Public Health website, http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/?ID=252. The state archives houses early 19th-century vital records from New Orleans. For more information, see http://www.sec.state.la.us/archives/archives/archives-library.htm under Vital Records. Also check the Family History Library (FHL) catalog http://www.familysearch.org, running a place search for Louisiana and the parish name. Then look under Vital Records. Consult Catholic church registers for ecclesiastical vital records.
Because of its French and Spanish roots, southern Louisiana has been strongly Roman Catholic, and civil records are based on French Napoleonic civil law practices. The state is divided into parishes rather than counties. Deed records are called conveyances; probate records are successions. Important components of succession papers are records of “family meetings” during the probate process.
Notaries wrote legal documents for individuals and businesses; thus, notarial records are important sources. Most were in French in the 18th and early 19th centuries. After US acquisition, records are more consistently in English. The FHL has microfilm and indexes of numerous notarial records. New Orleans notarial records are in the New Orleans Notarial Archives http://www.notarialarchives.org. No master index exists, but many volumes have internal indexes.
Try to identify the notary who created your ancestor’s records. For example, a land transaction filed in the parish courthouse may name the notary the family hired for that document; check that notary’s records for other family documents. An alphabetical list of New Orleans notaries and their dates of service is at http://www.notarialarchives.org/Notaries/lista.htm. Additional Louisiana research materials include:
- Colonial civil and ecclesiastical archives (original, microform, and published abstracts) in repositories including the Louisiana State Archives; Historic New Orleans Collection; Louisiana State Museum/Louisiana Historical Center Library; New Orleans Public Library; Louisiana State University; Tulane University; the University of Texas, Center for American History, Austin; and Clayton Library, Houston.
- American State Papers: Public Lands, 8 vols., online at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsp.html
- Territorial Papers of the United States, Territorial Papers of the United States Senate, and State Department Territorial Papers for Orleans Territory.
- Confederate pensions from 1898; online index at http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/53/Default.aspx.
- City archives for New Orleans, at the New Orleans Public Library http://nutrias.org/~nopl/spec/speclist.htm.
- The Census Tables for the French Colony of Louisiana from 1699 Through 1732 compiled and translated by Charles R. Maduell Jr. (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972)
- Louisiana Census and Militia Lists 1770-1789 compiled, translated and edited by Albert J. Robichaux Jr. (1973)
- The Acadian Exiles in the American Colonies, 1755-1768 compiled, translated, and edited by Milton P. Reider Jr., and Norma Gaudet Rieder (Reider, ca. 1977)
- The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783: The History and Passenger Lists of the Islenos Volunteer Recruits and Their Families by Sidney Louis Viller’ae (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972)
- The First Families of Louisiana translated and compiled by Glenn R. Conrad (Claitor’s Publishing Division, 1970)
- The “Foreign French:” Nineteenth-Century French Immigration into Louisiana, 3 vols., by Carl A. Brasseaux (University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1990-1993)
- From Palermo to New Orleans compiled by Mary Ann Riviere (M. A. Riviere, ca. 1987)
- Immigration Files of Southwest Louisiana, 1840-1929: Naturalization Records by Donald J. Hebert (Hebert Publications, 1990)
- A Refuge For All Ages, Immigration In Louisiana History edited by Carl A. Brasseaux (University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1996)
- English Land Grants in West Florida: A Register for the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Parts of Florida and Louisiana, 1766-1776 by Winston De Ville (Winston De Ville, 1986)
- Federal Land Grants in the Territory of Orleans: The Delta Parishers, by Charles R. Maudell, Jr. (Polyanthose, 1975)
- First Settlers of the Louisiana Territory: Orleans Territory Grants from American State Papers, Class VIII, Public Lands (Ericson Books; Ingmire Publications, 1983)
- Index To US Tract Books, Northwestern Land District, Old Natchitoches District, In The Louisiana State Land Office compiled by Ennis Mayfield Tipton (Tipton Printing & Publishing Co., 1980)
- Land Claims in the Eastern District of the Orleans Territory by Walter Lowrie (Southern Historical Press, 1986)
- Louisiana Land Titles: An Inventory of State Land Office Records from the Early Nineteenth Century on File at the State Archives of Louisiana compiled by Orgy G. Poret and John Spencer Howell (Provincial Press, 1998)
- Papers of Vicente Sebastian Pintado, 1781-1842 by Vicente Sebastian Pintado
- Survey of Federal Archives in Louisiana: From US Land Office Archives by the Historical Records Survey (Work Progress Administration of Louisiana, 1930)
- County-Parish Boundaries in Louisiana prepared by the Historical Records Survey (Louisiana State University, 1939)
- Historical Atlas of Louisiana by Charles Robert Goins and John Michael Caldwell (University of Oklahoma Press, ca. 1995)
- Index to Louisiana Place Names Mentioned in the War of the Rebellion edited by Dennis A. Gibson, indexed by Jeffrey A. Baker, et al. (University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1975)
- Louisiana, A Geographical Portrait by M.B. Newton, Jr. (Geoforensics, 1987)
- Louisiana: A Guide to the State, revised edition, edited by Harry Hansen (Hastings House, ca. 1971)
- Louisiana Post Offices by John J. Germann et al. (The Depot, ca. 1990)
- The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew’s Regiment of Mounted Rifles by W. Craig Gaines (Louisiana State University Press, ca. 1989)
- Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service, Louisiana by H.H. Cunningham (Louisiana State University Press, 1993)
- Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units, 1861-1865 by Arthur W. Bergeron Jr. (Louisiana State University Press, ca. 1989)
- Louisiana Soldiers in the War of 1812 by Marion John Bennett Pierson (Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society, 1963)
- Louisiana Troops, 1720-1770 by Winston De Ville (Fort Worth American Reference Publishers, ca. 1965, 1967)
- Louisiana Volunteers In The War of 1898 compiled by Nancy Lowrie Wright and Cathy Dantin Shannon (Wright Shannon Publications, 1989)
- Louisiana in the War of 1812 by Powell A. Casey (1963)
- Military Records of Louisiana by Napier Bartlett (L. Graham & Co., Printers, 1875)
- More Generals in Gray by Bruce S. Allardice (Louisiana State University Press, ca. 1995)
- Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, 3 vols., compiled by Andrew B. Booth (Reprint Co., 1984)
- The Calendar of Louisiana Colonial Documents, 3 vols., by Elizabeth Becker Gianelloni and Winston De Ville (Louisiana State Archives and Records Comission, 1961-ca. 1967)
- Be It Known and Remembered: Bible Records by the Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society (1960)
- Death Notices from Louisiana Newspapers, 4 vols., compiled by LaGroue Mayers and Gloria Lambert Kerns (Folk Finders, 1984)
- Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Louisiana prepared by the Historical Records Survey and the War Services Program, Work Projects Administration (Louisiana State Board of Health, 1942)
- Guide to Vital Statistics Records of Church Archives in Louisiana, 2 vols., prepared by War Service Program, Works Projects Administration (Louisiana State Board of Health, 1942)
- Louisiana Marriage Contracts: A Compilation of Abstracts From Records of the Superior Council of Louisiana During the French Regime, 1725-1769, 2 vols., by Alice Daly Forsyth et al., index by Yvette Guillot Boling (Polyanthos, 1980-1989)
- Marriage Dispensations in the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas: 1786-1803 by Shiley Chaisson Gourgard (Polyanthose, 1980)
- The New Orleans French, 1720-1733, A Collection of Marriage Records Relating to the First Colonists of the Louisiana Province by Winston De Ville (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973)
- Southwest Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records, revised edition, 4 vols., by Donald J. Hebert (Herbert Publications, ca. 1996-ca. 1997)
- Tombstone Inscriptions of Northwest Louisiana Cemeteries compiled by John Purnell Frazier (John Purnell Frazier, 1986)