Finding My Ledé Family

by Tammy Ozier Dec 2021

I have been tracing my family, at least officially, since 2000.  It started with me just jotting down family information in a small 3×5 notepad that I carried around with me everywhere.  Since then, I’ve graduated to using online trees at Ancestry.com and PC-based applications such as Family Tree Maker. 

During one fateful visit with my father’s eldest brother, Felton, I received pertinent information that helped push me forward in my research on my father’s side of the family.  It was then that I learned that my father’s maternal grandmother was Victoria LEDAY (LEDÉ).  Before this, I had heard that I was related to the Leday family, but it wasn’t until that moment I understood the specific connection.  Following that day, I started building my pedigree on my father’s family.  I pulled census records, read stories, and gathered documents, all in an effort to capture my great-grandmother’s family.    

The first census I found with Victoria was the 1930 US Census.  In this record, Victoria is listed as the head of a household that included my maternal grandmother’s sister, Georgianna.  Also in the household were my Uncle Felton and my father, Welton. However, they were listed with the Ledet surname.

Source: Year: 1930; Census Place: Ville Platte, Evangeline, Louisiana; Page: 11A; Victoria Ledet, Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 2340528 taken April 10, 1930

The birth dates are off by a year or so from confirmed information for my uncle and father.  Uncle Felton would have been about four years old and my father would have been almost two.  Notably missing from this census record is my grandmother, Joanna. 

I desperately wanted to get further back on the family tree, beyond Victoria.  Who were Victoria’s parents?  Who were her grandparents? Did she have any siblings?  Where is my maternal grandmother during the 1930 census?  Where is Joanna’s other sister Edolia nee Frank?

I referred to the notes I had taken from my conversation with Uncle Felton, who’d told me that Victoria had two brothers that he could recall: Uncle Pete and Uncle Bud.  He didn’t know Uncle Bud’s real name, but he remembered that Uncle Pete’s real name was David.  One tidbit that my mother shared about Uncle Pete was that he was a basket weaver and Uncle Pete had once gifted my mother with laundry basket made by his own hands.  My uncle also reminded me about my grandmother’s (Joanna’s) two sisters. The eldest sister was Edolia Frank and Georgiana Whatley, was the youngest.  Edolia we called her Aunt “Dō-yah” and Georgiana we called her Aunt Georgia.

I found on FamilySearch the marriage license of Mark Frank and Victoria Ledea (Ledé)

Link: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5B7-9MS8?cc=1807364&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AQKJH-1CJW

“Louisiana Parish Marriages, 1837-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5B7-9MS8?cc=1807364 : 15 October 2015), > image 1 of 1; parish courthouses, Louisiana.

Also, found Victoria Ledé on the 1900 census, which is listed below:

Source: 1900 United States Federal Census. Year: 1900; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 7, Saint Landry, Louisiana; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0065

Next step was to find Victoria on a census or some other record that identified her parents.  Census records from 1890 aren’t available for Louisiana, and the 1900 census shows that Victoria was born about 1885, which may mean it is unlikely that she is on the 1880 census.  I next leveraged the Southwest Louisiana Records by Donald J. Hebert CD (also called SWLA Records) and following reference of Victoria’s birth:

LEDE, Marie Victoria (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 20 April 1882 (VP Ch.: v. 3, p. 205)

Southwest Louisiana Records (1750-1900), CD-ROM by Donald J. Hebert

This record identifies Victoria’s parents as Prosper Ledé and Georgiana Johnson.  It also shows that Victoria’s full name was Marie Victoria Ledé and reveals that Victoria named one of her daughters, the one we called Aunt Georgia, most likely after her mother, Georgiana.    

I continued my search of the SWLA  Records and found information of the marriage of Georgiana and Prosper:

JOHNSON, Georgiana  M. 14 April 1873 Prosper LEDE (Opel. Ct. Hse.: Mar. #7394).   Below is the marriage license pulled from FamilySearch database:

“Louisiana Parish Marriages, 1837-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-95YB-96HR?cc=1807364 : 15 October 2015), > image 1 of 1; parish courthouses, Louisiana.

The 1880 census that shows Prosper and Georgiana living with several children:

I was able to cross reference the SWLA Records database which listed the other children of Prosper and Georgia:

LEDE, Marie Scolastique (Prosper & Janne JOHNSON) b. 30 Jan. 1874 (VP Ch.: v. 2, p. 173)

LEDE, David (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 1 March 1876 (Wash. Ch.: v. 1, p. 130)

LEDE, Prosper Edward (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 18 Feb. 1878 (Wash. Ch.: v. 1, p. 157)

LEDE, Victor (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 13 Feb. 1880 (Wash. Ch.: v. 1, p. 188)

LEDE, Louisa Maraya (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 1 March 1884 (VP Ch.: v. 3, p. 296)

LEDE, Karison (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 4 April 1886 (VP Ch.: v. 3, p. 379)

LEDE, Vitaline (Prosper & Georgina JOHNSON) b. 25 April 1888 (VP Ch.: v. 4, p. 129)

Southwest Louisiana Records (1750-1900), CD-ROM by Donald J. Hebert

To find the parents of Prosper Ledé, I pulled the 1870 and 1860 censuses and I found Prosper living with his parents Zenon Ledé and Marie.  See those entries below:

Source: Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 3, St Landry, Louisiana; Roll: M593_530; Page: 165B

Source:  Year: 1860; Census Place: Opelousas, St. Landry, Louisiana; Roll: M653_424; Page: 919; Family History Library Film: 803424

Prosper and his parents being named on the 1860 census was a key finding.  This census shows their color as “M” for Mulatto. Being named on this census indicates that Prosper, his family – my family- were free people of color, as only free people were enumerated on the 1860 census.

I continued using the SWLA Records to pull the parents of Zenon and found that Zenon was a fils also known as a junior, being named after his father, Zenon Senior:

LEDE, Zenon (Zenon & Marie TISONS)  m. 19 Aug. 1850 Marie LAVIGNE (Opel. Ct. Hse.: Mar. #796)

LAVIGNE, Marie (Narcisse & Merante LAFLEUR)  m. 19 Aug. 1850 Zenon LEDE (Opel. Ct. Hse.: Mar. #796)

Southwest Louisiana Records (1750-1900), CD-ROM by Donald J. Hebert

One item to note here is that Marie’s surname TISONS has many variaions.  Hereis a list of a few of the variations: Tesanier, Tessonier, Tezeno, Thisauneon, Thiseneau, Thisoneau, Tisenot, Tisonneau, Tisson, Tissond, Tissoneau, Tissonneau, Tissonneaux, Tissonno, Tissono.

Next steps were to try to find the parents of Zenon Lede Senior.  This is where it gets interesting.  How would I find Zenon Senior’s parents?  So, at this point I looked at censuses to try to get other family members. 

Besides, Zenon, the 1840 census had three men of color in the St Landry Parish, Victorin, Antoine Valentin, and Onesime.  Other researchers had put together that Zenon Ledé, Victorin Ledé, Antoine Ledé, and Onesime Ledé were all brothers.  Their white father was assumed to be Paul Lede, determined by an apprenticeship agreement that was signed by Paul Lede authorizing his son Victorin to be in the apprentice.    No direct proof has been found naming Paul as the father of Zenon Ledé.

The mother of the Ledé brothers come from the succession for Marianne Nannette Laviolet.  In that succession she named her children.  All of the Ledé brothers were named in that document, with the exception of Zenon Ledé. Why wasn’t Zenon in the document?  Was it an oversight?  I just kept my records in sync with how other researchers assigned  Marianne as Zenon’s mother.  It was always unverified in my tree, just left as a holding space.

However, one cousin and fellow researcher got me on the right track – Alex Lee.  Alex helped me conclude definitively that Zenon was missing from Marianne’s succession because Marianne is not Zenon’s mother.

So if Marianne was not the mother of Zenon Lede Senior, who was his mother? Here, Alex  was able to point me to Zenon’s mother.

Two years before, Zenon Ledé fils married Marie Lavigne, we see that another Zenon, a Zenon Babet married a Marie Sittige.  This Zenon Babet [fils]  also has a Marie Thisauneon, which we have identified as one of the many variation for the Tisseneau surname.   I only found one Marie Tisseneau that was married to a Zenon in the area, leading me to surmise that Zenon Babet and Zenon Ledé are the same person. Examined the 1840 and 1850 census in St. Landry Parish, Lousiana and found no Zenon Babet listed in the census.

See the entries taken from SWLA.  Two years before, Zenon Lede married Marie Lavigne. He married under the name Zenon Babet fils (junior). See the relevant entries from the SWLA Records, below:

BABET, Zenon a negro (Zenon & Marie THISAUNEON)   m. 1 Feb.  1848 Marie Doralise SITTIGE (Opel. Ch.: v.2, p.271)

BABET, Zenon fils   m. 22 Jan. 1848 MARIE DORALISE (Opel. Ct.  Hse.: Mar. #505)

SITTIG, Marie Doralise (Marie Doralise)  m. 1 Feb. 1848 Zenon BABET (Opel. Ch.: v. 2, p. 271)

Southwest Louisiana Records (1750-1900), CD-ROM by Donald J. Hebert

On August 17, 2021, I also received the Lafayette Archives Genealogical a digital copy of the original catholic marriage record referenced in SWLA Records:

This entry, then indicates that Babet was an alias name used by Zenon Ledé.  A second document found by Alex Lee, pinpointed exactly the mother of Zenon. This document copy taken from the Archives in St. Landry Parish, notarial documents procured by Alex Lee and provided to me as a courtesy.

In St Landry Parish, on 10 September 1836 the heirs of Babet Lamirande are selling land to Jean Louis Guillory:

 Héritiers Babet Lamirande à Jean Louis Guillory Vente de Terre  le 10 Septembre 1836

Translation: Heirs Babet Lamirande to Jean Louis Guillory Sale of land on September 10, 1836

Within the documents, the heirs of Marie Babet Lamirande are identified as Emelite Duralde, Lize Babet, Judith Prevost (with husband Baptist Prevost), Dondiego Babet, and Zenon Babet.  Each of them sign with the mark of “X”, indicating they were illiterate.  All the heirs but Emelite and Judith, who was married female, used the surname of Babet in this document.

By associating that Zenon Babet fils was the same as Zenon Ledé fils because of the same mother of Marie Tisseneau. The land sale of the heirs of Babet Lamirande name Zenon Babet as one of her heirs, allows us to conclude that Zenon Babet and Zenon Lede are the same person.  The mother of Zenon Lede is Marie Babet Lamirande.

This is only scratching the service.  There is additional information on Babet Lamirande that I want to share.  Stay tuned.

Happy Researching!


Published by

iyatee

For the last 25+ years, I've worked as a finance executive for a global corporation. About 20 years ago, I started seriously researching my family ancestry, and I was able to trace both my maternal and my paternal line back to 1700s. I've identified ancestors that were free people of color. I've even traced several separate lineages of my enslaved ancestors through slave property rights documentation. I've helped many with their personal genealogical quests and I've shared my personal genealogical findings on my blog: Ancestors in the Present. In 2017, I will begin doing workshops and seminars to help others get started in genealogy. I also have run Ancestral Pathways LLC, which provides genealogical services. If you would like my help, I can be reached at iyatee@gmail.com.

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