AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum
Re: Found another African ancestor
In Response To: Found another African ancestor ()
First of all, Louisiana has EXCELLENT records going all the way back to the Colonial Era. The Spanish and French seemed to be really good at it. Second of all, it was easier because some of my ancestors were free before the Civil War. Heres what I did: After talking to my dad's relatives, I learned the name of my g-grandfather, Edward "Wesley" Sam. In order to find more about him, I went through the typical census research and found him in the 1910-1930 years. His social security form revealed the name of my g-g grandparents, Aristide Sam and Leonora Young. With that, I searched for Aristide in the 1910 census and found my g-grandfather and all of his siblings living in the household. These were people I never knew about. After that, I found out as much information as I could about each and every one of them. I went through the catholic records and us census. I found a couple of marriages and birth records with helped confirmed all of their relationships. I also found a catholic marriage record for Aristide Sam. It listed the names of HIS parents as Jean-Pierre Sam and Euphemie Rideau. So basically, I had the name of my g-g-g grandparents. Also, in 1910, living next door to my g-g grandfather, Aristide, was older woman written as MRS. JEAN-PIERRE SAM. From reading about genealogy, I knew that relatives normally lived near each other. So I toyed with the idea that she could be Aristide's Mother. And I was right. Land records also reveal that Aristide bought some property from his mother about that time. Plus, Aristide's death record also revealed Jean-Pierre and Euphemie as his parents. So, I decided to go back to the census records. I found Euphemie in the 1880 census living as a widow in Lafayette with my g-g grandfather as HIS siblings. Also, the census taker accidently listed Euphemie with her maiden name instead of her married name. So that was another confirmation of her surname. I had trouble finding Jean-Pierre and Euphemie Rideau in the 1870 census until I posted a query on afrigeneas.com. It turned out Jean-Pierre Sam was spelled as Jean-Pierre SAN in the census. SAN is another variation of the surname SAM. Other variations of the name were SIM,SEM,SAM. The 1870 census listed them with Aristide and his brother Jean. Now, like most people, I assumed that all of my ancestors were enslaved during the Civil WAR. But out of curiosity due to the fact that my surname wasnt very common, I typed a query for all people who had the SAM surname in the 1860 census louisiana. To my surprise, Jean-Pierre Sam and Euphemie popped up living in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. The census also listed Euphemie with her maiden name! In the louisiana census in 1860, all the wifes are listed with their maiden name instead of their married one. More bonus information. In order for me to confirm that they were free, I went back to the Catholic marriages in Father Herbert's book. I went further back this time and found a marriage record for Jean-Pierre SAM and Euphemie Rideau that occured in Lafayette in 1856!. The record also listed the names of their parents ALSO. JEAN-PIERRE SAM(son of LOUIS SAM and Elisabeth SENET) and EUPHEMIE RIDEAU(dau of LOUIS BALTHAZAR RIDEAU and CAROLINE FRANCOISE PITRE). These were my g-g-g-g grandparents. Also, the witnesses at the wedding were my relatives. LOUIS RIDEAU Jr.(EUPHEMIE'S BROTHER), BAPTISTE MALVEAUX(brother-in-law of EUPHEMIE) and JEAN LOUIS LOUIS(brother-in-law of JEAN-PIERRE). All of them were listed as FREE BLACKS. I also found earlier marriages of their siblings. The earliest was for JEAN-PIERRE's sister, Angelique Louis Sam. She married Jean Baptiste Jean Louis(Simon) at Grand Coteau in 1837. The record also mentions that she was born free. BAPTISTE MALVEAUX married EUPHEMIE's half-sister, PAULINE JOSEPH PITRE in 1841. JOSEPH as her middle name was patronomic. So basically, her father was Joseph Pitre. The RIDEAU line provided my link to AFRICA. After finding all of this stuff out, I started to wonder how did my ancestors become free. I knew based on the history of louisiana, that it was much easier for a slave to become free then in the British Colonies. The PITRE and RIDEAU names gave me clues. After searching unsuccessfully, I decided to go online to search and post queries on genealogy website to find other PITRE and RIDEAU researchers. Luckily, I found some other RIDEAU researchers who were related to my branch of the family. All of their information confirmed my own. I also learned some of the other names of EUPHEMIE's Siblings. After my g-g-g grandfather died, She bought some land from her brother, TREVILLE, and moved to Opelousas. I also found out the names of the owners of my ancestors through info from other researchers and using that as a guide. According to them, Caroline Francoise Pitre was a slaved owned by a white Francoise Pitre and Louis Baltazar Rideau was owned by a white Louis Rideau. Its interesting how the first name of the slave owner was incorporated into the names of my ancestors. But anyway, will surfing the internet using those clues, I decided to type Pitre family tree just to see what pops up. To my surpise, a website titled Pitre Tree family trail came up. It listed the genealogy of all the white PITRE's that came to that part of Louisiana starting the early 18th century. It was their, that I found out about Francoise Pitre. In his will or succession dated 1820, he gave Caroline her Freedom. Also, the was a man, named Joe that was sold. JOSEPH PITRE was the name of the father of Euphemie's half-sister, Pauline. Basically, I got a copy of my ancestors freedom paper. Earlier inventories between the Pitre's showed Caroline and Joe being sold together along with their children. I've traced Caroline using the historical database of Gwendlynn Hall back to an 1808 purchase with her as a 13 year old from Orleans Parish. She was born about 1796 on the British Mainland. She likely came to Louisiana from the Carolina's. I'm still looking for an 1807 inventory by her previous owner in the Louisiana archives. He died without a will. Learning about Caroline helped to learn about her later husband Louis or Baltazar Rideau. Concerning the RIDEAUS, their was a book titled Palmetto, which told the entire history of the RIDEAU family in that area. it mentioned, Zenon RIDEAU, a free man of color who eventually founded Palmetto, Louisiana and became one of the most successful people of color in St. Landry Parish. I didnt know he was related to me until I made another query on genealogy.com wanted to out more about the parents of my g-g-g grandmother, EUPHEMIE. Someone answered my query that lead me to distant cousins that knew more my SAM and RIDEAU relatives then the older members of my family.
I found Caroline in the 1840 and 1860 us census. She also pops up on a Land purchase with her nephew Jean-Baptiste Rideau in 1872!. It turned out her son, Louis Rideau, died around that time. She would have been in her early 70's. Louis Rideau is recorded as Louis BALTHAZAR in the 1860 census living next door to his mother, Caroline. Patranomics again.
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