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!


Finding Kin in the Civil War – Henry KING aka Henry Tatman (part 1)

Unidentified Civil war soldier3
Unidentified African American Union soldier in sergeant uniform holding a rifle

Early August 2017, I received a shaky leaf hint on Ancestry.com, alerting me to a military record.  Note: The shaky leaf is an indicator that lets the user know that there is a possible record that may be a match to a person in your tree that is displaying the leaf.  This leaf led me to a U.S. Civil War Pension index record for a Henry King.

Henry was a known relative on whom I had completed some research and included in my family tree.  The US 1870 census indicates that 30-year old Henry King lived in Opelousas, Louisiana with his wife, 25-year old Isabella and several others who I know are his sisters.  Living next door are Henry’s parents, Warren King and his mother, Temperance (Tempy).   Tempy is the sister of my 3rd great-grandfather, Moses Jason, and the daughter of my 4th great-grandfather, Godfrey Jason.

Continue reading “Finding Kin in the Civil War – Henry KING aka Henry Tatman (part 1)”

“Mama, it was true! Your Daddy was in World War I!”

Last night, I found some information that I wasn’t exactly looking for at the time.  Let me “go back a spell,” as the old folks used to say, and start this story from the beginning.

Growing up, my Mother would always state proudly that her father, Alsen Jason I, was in WWI; her brother, Alsen Jason II, was in WWII; her other brother, Clifton Jason, was in the Korean War; and her nephew, Alsen Jason III, was in the Vietnam War.  She would continue with stories of her other uncles, nephews, and relatives that had also fought in wars.  “They were very brave”, she would say, sometimes followed with a sly “I don’t know anybody on your Daddy’s side that fought in the war.”

Now, Mama, don’t go talking about my Daddy and his family, I would think this but, of course, I would never say out loud.

In 2010, my brother-in-law, John, who worked at The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, announced that he would be retiring soon.  I used this as an opportunity to finally get documentation on my grandfather’s WWI services so I could present this information to my mother.

I called John up and gave him my grandfather’s information.  I eagerly awaited a response from John with the good news.  I told my mother that I requested information on her father and, she too, was excited.

A few days later, John had news for me, but it wasn’t good.  He told me that he couldn’t find any service record for my grandfather.  I was devastated. I had to break this bad news to my mother.  She was silent and didn’t say a word.

I know that hurt her.   I chalked it up to maybe a name spelling, or a file that was destroyed in the fire or misplaced.  I had no idea what to think.  I didn’t want to believe the story was untrue.  People generally don’t have stories in their family saying a person served when they didn’t, but I had no recourse to find out any information. Over the years, since then, I would occasionally go to military databases and see if I could find my grandfather.  I would try different spellings of his name, but to no avail.

Last night, I hit pay dirt – and I wasn’t even looking for that record! As a normal practice, I like to conduct a wildcard searches, just in case I find I record that I haven’t seen before.  Familysearch.org is probably my favorite online site to do these types of searches.  My grandfather’s name, Alsen Jason, is one that have so many variations – I’ve lost count.    Alsen, I’ve seen also written as Alcin, Elcin, and Alsin.  Let’s night I did a random search for “Alsin Jas*” and I was hoping to find something new.  Right across the page, indeed was something I had not seen before.

The third record on the page listed an “Alcin Jasson” Louisiana Service record!  Could it be I had found an entry that proves that my grandfather was indeed in WWI?

familysearch March 2017 Alcin_Jas highlight

I quickly opened the record and saw information I had sought those many years ago.  The record was from the Louisiana World War I Services and it listed that my grandfather, Alcin Jasson [Alsen Jason] was, in fact, enlisted in the Army and served in WWI.  The record indicates that a 26-year old Alsen was inducted into the Army on June 19,1918 and served overseas starting September 18, 1918 through June 19, 1919.  He was honorably discharged July 12, 1919.

Alsen Jason I WWI information

“Louisiana World War I Service Records, 1917-1920”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2TY-588Y : 8 February 2017), Alcin Jasson, 1918.

You may notice that the person shown on the page right above Alsen, is also a Jason.  Austen [Austin] Jason is Alsen’s brother!

I was delighted to find this record.  But knowing the hardship that African Americans fared in the services during WWI, I could only imagine the trials he may have encountered.

I contacted, my now retired brother-in-law, John, and gave him the good news.  John told me a website where I could request my grandfather’s records online.  He also gave me pointers on information I should include in the request.  The key, he said, was to make sure that I asked for the complete service and medical records.  I’ve sent the request and I can’t wait to get a response.

I have limited experience with the military records, so I’m going to have to do more research in this area.  That’s it for now.  I will keep all of you updated.

Happy searching!