Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday With My Family on the Gulf Coast

In an area that is predominantly Catholic, Good Friday is the last day of meatless Friday's and usually my grandfather, my mother, sister, brother and I had gone out and caught some fresh crabs just for this occasion. We would go out early in the morning before the sun had come up and walk out to Moses Pier in Gulfport, where we would bait our traps with chicken and drop them into the water of the Gulf. Every now and then we would pull them up to see them full of crabs. Now came the tricky part, one I was deathly afraid of; dumping the nets into the crab baskets. My grandfather had these tall woven baskets where we would dump the crabs. The crabs were mad and mean! There was always one who was the biggest and baddest that would somehow escape and put up a fight with his huge claws in the air snapping at you. I would run screaming, while my grandfather would chuckle and reach behind the crab and grab him up. I can remember one time that my grandfather was not so quick and his fingers were grabbed in those claws, which resulted in a trip to the E.R.

My brother and I would have to drive home in the bed of the truck with the loaded baskets of clicking and hissing crabs. It was our job to make sure the lids stayed on the baskets. I can assure you I made sure that none of them escaped while there was no where for me to run!

When we got them home safe and sound, mother would then get the big pots of water boiling, and in would go the crabs. A few would escape onto the kitchen floor valiantly putting up a last fight before mother caught them in her large tongs and put them into the pot and closed the lid tight.
While they were cooking, the stove would also be full of pots boiling water for the dozens of eggs to be dyed. On another burner was a large pot of okra gumbo just waiting for some of those crabs.
When the eggs were done mother would put them into a strainer on the table outside, while my grandmother and aunt were mixing up cups of vinegar and dye. My job was to lay out the towels to dry the eggs on and find the white crayons to write and draw on the eggs before dyeing.

We all would sit outside laughing and telling stories while dyeing eggs. It was one of my grandmother's favorite things about Easter, those eggs. Soon the table was full of eggs, and my aunt would shine them up with a stick of butter. We would oohh and ahhh over the bright colors.
The eggs then went into the refrigerator until Easter morning when they would be hidden outside; with some to never be found, or to be found by the poodle and eaten by her before we could get to it. She did love eggs!

Then came the business of eating the crabs! Boy, my PaPaw sure could clean a crab faster than anything! Of course we children would be reminded not to eat the lady fingers, as they were called.
 Later we would be ready for Mass and then back home for a supper of okra gumbo.

For as long as I can remember we dyed our eggs on Good Friday, my grandmother did it as a child growing up in New Orleans, and passed it on to her children, and me unto mine. Somehow it is just not Easter without dying even a few eggs on Good Friday.

As for catching my own crabs for Good Friday, that I leave up to others to do for me. However, every now and then I can be found chasing a random crab across my kitchen floor with a pair of long tongs on Good Friday.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Irma

Today is a special day, it is the day that marks the birth of my grandmother Lucille Irma Wiese Ladner, known as Irma to friends, and MaMaw to me. I loved this day when I was a child. It was always so special as we would generally spend the day with my MaMaw doing something she liked. Whether it be going to lunch at Morison's Cafeteria, or Cajun's fried chicken and then going shopping of course, the day was always a happy one. The best part was that she would never fail to say, "Five more days until your birthday! What kind of cake do you want me to make you?" My grandmother and aunt baked cakes for a living. But on her day, my aunt usually bought her a baker shop cake. One she didn't have to bake herself.

As a child I always asked her, "What do you want for your birthday?" She would think a moment and say, "When I was a girl I always got a shiny silver dime. A dime would be nice." So each year I would search for the oldest dime I could find. Because the older dimes had more silver in them. I would shine it up and give it to her. She always seemed so pleased. As an adult I usually bought her a real gift, but I never failed to include a shiny old dime with it. Each year, I still place a shiny dime on her grave.

She and I shared a lot of things, but both being the middle child, and both being born in March were the two that we talked of most often. She always wore a birthstone ring that I loved to touch and look at because it would one day be mine. She promised it to me from the time I could remember. Because after all we were the only ones who could wear aquamarine as our stone.

We often talked about how nice it was to share our birthday with Spring and Easter. My birthday often fell on Good Friday or even on Easter, and on one of her last birthday's with us she and I were discussing how hers had fallen one time on Easter.  She told how back in those days there was no celebration at all until on Easter Sunday because of the restrictions of Lent and how lucky she felt to be able to have her birthday celebration that day.

 So, here's to memories, to Spring, and to Easter Birthday's! Most of all to the grandmother whom I miss today with all my heart! Until we celebrate together again.... Happy Birthday MaMaw!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Surname Saturday- Roth

My Roth family has been somewhat of a mystery to me. As I was growing up my grandfather said they were french, and my mother often thought that he must be wrong because she thought the name was German. As I began to delve into the family history I came across many records and articles written on early french settlers of Louisiana. Joseph Roth was among them, they listed him as being born in Lorraine, France. This is what I have learned thus far;

Joseph Roth was born in France and died in Louisiana in 1802. He was the son of Joseph Roth and Margurite Guerie. Joseph settled in St. Gabriel, Iberville Parish and married Antoinette LaMare who was the daughter of Jean Francois LaMarre and Marie Louise Manciere.

Joseph and Antoinette had at least two sons, Joseph Phillipe born 1773 and Jean Baptiste Augustin Godfroi Roth born in 1776.

Apparently Joseph Roth Sr. also had other children by one of his slaves. As is indicated in a transcript translated in 1978 by Delma Abadie from an original French court document, which can be found at the Iberville Parish Archives.
       February 24, 1804
       Emancipation of Slave:
       Phillippe and Godfroy Roth, brothers to their slave, Jacob - which they
       inherited from their decd. father, Joseph Roth.

Other records from the time would indicate that Joseph Roth Sr. owned quite a bit of land and a large plantation. His land adjoined that of Pierre Belly, who is a notable land owner of the time.

January 2, 1796
Sale - Pierre Belly to Phillippe Roth
A tract situated in this District on the right bank of the Mississippi river,
adjacent above and below to that of Mr. Etienne Watts, containing four arpents
and a half of front on the ordinary depth, with the opening and the enclosures
which correspond to it, such as it comprises and contains; in a word, such as
it had been adjudicated to him at public sale the 13th of December passed, as
it is so confirmed by the act passed by me on this day and deposited in the
archives of this Commandant.

 October 11, 1802
Receipt - Pedro Belly to Felipe Roth
Price of sale of a tract belonging to him (Pedro Belly) situated in the said
District on the right bank of the Mississippi river, bounded, we hear, above
and below by lands of Dn Estevan Watts, composed of four and a half arpents of
front with the ordinary depth, according to the deed executed by the
Commandant who was we understand, Don Pedro Voisin, on the date of the second
of January of one thousand seven hundred ninety-six.
 These records can also be found at the Iberville Parish Archives. All transcribed by Delma Abadie from the original court documents.

Joseph Phillipe Roth was a Private in the 4th Regiment of Morgan's La. Militia during the War of 1812.  He married Marie Josephe Orillion, daughter of Joseph Orillion and Acadian, and Marie Rose Breaux. They had at least eleven children.
Jean Baptiste Roth b. 1790
Phillipe Roth b.15 Jan 1791
Louisa Constance Roth b. 25 Aug 1793
Marie Azalie Roth b. 1795
Joseph Roth b. 19 Nov 1797
Raphael Anthony Roth b. 18 Jun 1800
Celestin Roth b. 1802
Marie Celine Roth b. 24 Nov 1805
Jean Nobal Roth b.30 Jun 1808
Charles Norville Roth b. 31 Dec 1810
Alexandre Roth b. 1813

Raphael Anthony Roth married first to Rosalie Fournier, they had one daughter born in 1824 Mary Lodoiska Roth. Raphael then married Carmelite Fernand. 

Raphael died on 27 Apr 1846 according to his death record, which I own a copy of, in Layfayette, La. His eldest daughter Mary Lodoiska Roth Pool and his widow Carmelite spent several years arguing his succession in the Louisiana courts. These records are available online thanks to Family Search.

In the records, Carmelite asks that she be awarded the estate for her minor children, Alexander, Eugene, and Marguerite. She does not name any of her other children, not even the infant daughter who was born just three months before the death of her father. 

There are other children listed in the 1850 census and beyond with the Widow Raphael Roth. 
Alexander, Marguerite, Aglae, Armand, Joseph, Clothilde, Philomene, Malvina, and Phillip Eugene Roth (also listed as Philogene, and Eugene.) Yet in the court documents she names only the three eldest children. Which makes it confusing as to why the other children are not named. Also in the census records the ages vary from year to year for these children making determining the exact birth date hard without a birth record. Which is available for only one child, Malvina. In the record it lists her father as Raphael Roth and mother Carmelite Fernand. 

Is the Eugene listed the same person as Phillip Eugene Roth? If so the age given in the succession and in the census are off by about 10 years. 

I continue to search for more details regarding the Roth family. Everyday new research becomes available and documents regarding this family come to light. Hopefully I will soon be able to answer the questions I have regarding Raphael and Carmelite's children. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Surname Saturday- Orillion

My Acadian Roots


Joseph Orillion dit Champagne was born in Port-Royal in 1718. He was the son of Charles Orillion dit Champagne, who had come from France to Canada in 1703, and Marie Anne Bastarache.
 Joseph married Marguerite Dugas in 1746,  at Port-Royal. She was the daughter of Francois Dugas and Claire Marie Bourg. Their children were, Joseph born 1748 and Marguerite born 1750.

 During  Le Grand Derangement, Joseph and his family left Pointe Beauséjour and settled in South Carolina. Joseph apparently died in South Carolina as in 1763 the orphan children of Joseph were listed as living with their relatives.

In 1765 Joseph Orillion, the son, and his sister Marguerite came to the Louisiana territory with their Uncle Joseph Marant and his wife, their maternal aunt, Angelique Dugas. 

Joseph Orillion married Marie Rose Breaux daughter of Pierre Breaux in 1770 at Ascension, La. They settled in St. Gabriel, Iberville Parish, where they raised their family. Joseph Orillion died in St Gabriel in 1810.

Joseph and Marie Rose's daughter Marie Josephe Orillion was born in St. Gabriel on 19 Nov 1772. She married Joseph Phillipe Roth, son of Joseph Roth and Antoinette LaMare.