There is a lot of talk now of days as to who really are the original Creoles ... The Old antiquated version used during the Pre Slavery days by Ancestors of the White Creole Settlers states that the Original Creoles were White Colonial French Settlers Who considered themselves and only themselves Creoles and That the Creoles of Color were a product of Their Intermixing ...After Researching the subject for Years I find this to not be the case ..
The Creole Language a Combination of African and French was created by the Mixing of the African and French and Portuguese along the Slave trade Routes of west Africa Years before the Slaves and Free Men of Color set foot in the Americas...It is also a well known fact that Creoles existed in All parts of the New World long before Louisiana was a French colony ..
In fact in the infant colony of Louisiana Most of it's Inhabitants, White, Black, Mulatto and Native American spoke Creole as their main Language.. this alone refutes the notion that The White french Colonial Colonizers were the Original Creoles ..Below You will find these different versions of just Who were the Original Creoles but You decide from the information what really is true
Today, two types of Creoles exist in Louisiana. The former French Creoles are descendants of Europeans of French/Spanish who settled in
The term Creole was first used during colonial times by settlers referring to those born in the colony rather than those born in France. In New Orleans, the original center of the Creole community, it applied to only people of European descent.
Secondly, the term "Creoles of color", a 19th-century term, came to refer to mixed-race people (European and African ancestry) who were born in Louisiana. The Creoles of Color, or "gens de couleur" as they were referred, gained their freedom during the colonial period prior to the Civil War. The term Creole has also been used to define those people of color from the West Indies.
In the early 19th-century New Orleans, the term Creole was a way that those "born in the colony" differentiated themselves from the many Americans who settled in the city after the Louisiana Purchase. In rural Southwestern Louisiana, a blending of French, African, and Caribbean cultures was considered Creole. This leads to some confusion as to what the term "Creole" truly means.
Louisiana was quite unique in the development of a three-tiered social order: white, slave and free people of color. Most modern day Creoles have family ties to the area noted on the map, placed a high value on education, established their own businesses, spoke French and followed the faith of their ancestors as members of the Roman Catholic Church.
There have been 40 areas in Louisiana that met the description of a Creole Colony. Many of these colonies no longer exist. So, if you can trace your ancestry to any of these areas in Louisiana, perhaps you may have Creole ancestry.
While some of these areas are also attributed to those with Cajun ancestry the distinct difference refers specifically to the influx of the Acadian settlers who headed south after the Great Expulsion from their homeland during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763). The Acadia region of French Canada consisted of what are now Nova Scotia and the other Maritime provinces, which includes eastern Quebec and northern Maine.
Little did they know when the Acadians headed for Louisiana, they would be arriving in Spanish territory. The largest single group came in 1785 when Spain paid to carry about 1600 Acadians from France to Louisiana.
The area of Louisiana, now known as Acadiana comprises about 22 parishes today. It forms a triangle from Lake Charles at the west to Grand Isle at the east, with Pointe Coupee at the apex. The Acadians were the largest group to settle in this area from 1765 to 1785. While the Acadians were made up the largest population in South Central Louisiana, they found themselves surrounded by other nationalities and cultures. The blending of these cultures eventually formed what we know today as the Cajun culture. The word Cajun is derived from the word Acadian as follows: Acadian is spelled Acadien in French. The "A" was gradually dropped and "Cadien" was used. In old French, "di" was pronounced like a "j" so Cadien sounded like Cajun.
With such a diverse culture existing in the area, the Acadians inter-married with the other groups in Louisiana thus nearly all the descendants of the early settlers have become "Cajuns".
Similarly to the Creoles, the Cajun's spoke primarily French. Over time they would incorporate English to get along in an increasingly Anglo society, and this dialect is what we know of today as Cajun French. They lived a simple life of farming, ranching and hunting. It was a simple fact that an extended education was unnecessary due to their lifestyle. Like their ancestors, Cajun's of the 18th century were Catholic and still plays an important role. However, Protestant churches sprang up in the area and by the 20th century is no longer a certainty for a Cajun to be Catholic.
While the Cajun's are known today for their music, it is the Creole cooking which was blended in to what we know today as Cajun cuisine.
Tracing Creole Ancestry
One way do distinguish if your family had true Creole origins, especially those who have a mixed heritage is to look in the 1850 and 1860 census. As mentioned, Creole's were defined as free people of color prior to the Civil War so finding them should not be difficult. If you are unable to locate them it is more than likely they lived and worked on a plantation and will only be found in the slave schedules.
In addition to Census records, one of the most important sources are the Church records. Baptismal records, Marriage records, and Funeral registers would be of great importance to you research. Pay particular attention to the names as they often were portrayed in various documents under French, Spanish, and English spellings, i.e. Pierre + Pedro + Peter ; Antoine + Antonio + Anthony. During the time period, many males were baptized as Joseph and females as Marie + other names of saints. These names were rarely used in other records.
Descendants of many Creole families are eligible to become members of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). One major family is the Metoyers. Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer (CTPM) has been recognized as a Patriot of the American Revolution and all direct descendants are eligible to apply.
Tracing Cajun Ancestry
Since the Acadian people arrived in Louisiana from 1765 to 1788, the resources most used will be Census records, church and court house records, vital records and the passenger lists of the seven ships that arrived in 1785 to construct the genealogy of Acadians in Louisiana.
As is the standard genealogical method for all starting out in genealogy is to work backwards starting from yourself, filling in information from family members, family records before delving into online and offline records.
You will find those with ties to rich cultural backgrounds can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the fact that there is a wealth of compiled information available and a curse in the fact that so many records have been destroyed over the years
There is evidence that both French and Spanish Colonial Louisiana identified all its people (white, black, and mixed), both free and enslaved, who were born in the new world of old world stock as Creole. That included the offspring of Europeans (predominantly French and Spanish),Africans, and a mixture of both that could also include Native American. Therefore, the descendants of all these people can claim Creole Heritage. LA Creole identifies the gens de couleur, or people of color, as the mixed-race descendants of those early colonial inhabitants of Louisiana who became a unique ethnic group.
The gens de couleur libres, or the free people of color, gained their freedom during the colonial period and the American period prior to the Civil War throughmanumission, emancipation by father/owner, self purchase, military service, and (as established under Spanish rule) by living as free for at least 20 years. The free people of color rose to economic and limited social prominence denied the enslaved population, while being denied the political and civil rights enjoyed by the white ruling class.
Thus, Louisiana developed a unique three-tiered social order—white, slaves, and the free people of color. Caught in the middle, not fully accepted by the other two groups, the free people of color created their own society that gave rise to a distinct, sophisticated culture. They identified themselves as Creole, maintained close family ties creating kinship networks, maintained the French language, placed a high value on education, established and ran their own businesses, rose to prominence in the building trades, and clung tightly to the “faith of their fathers” as members of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the rural communities many of the free people of color owned vast tracts of land, including large sugar cane plantations, traveled to New Orleans to conduct commerce, networked with other families through business partnerships and marriages, and created family dynasties to protect their land and wealth.
Some of the gens de couleur libres were educated in France and became literary and musical giants who gained prominence in Europe because they were unable to publish their works in a race-biased America. Others returned to Louisiana becoming professionals, artists, and businessmen.
A large number of the people of color in Louisiana were not freed and remained enslaved until the Civil War and Emancipation. However, they easily assimilated into the culture the free people of color had created. Following the Civil war many of the politically astute Creoles of Color served admirably in Reconstruction government. In the Jim Crow era that followed, they led the way in an organized Civil Rights Movement in Louisiana beginning as early as the 1870s. Politically active Creoles of Color continued the Movement throughout the 20th century, which culminated in its success in the 1960s.
The recent surge of interest in genealogy and family history has brought a closer look at the history and culture of the Creoles of Color of Louisiana. A keen awareness has developed, through research andhistorical documents, of the many contributions the Creoles of Color have made to the state of Louisiana throughout its history and pride in those accomplishments by their many descendants.
Initial research into the communities and founding families of the Creole culture identified almost 40 areas that met the description of a Creole Colony. Basically these are areas that are known for its Creole history.
Through the promotion of this initial listing, many areas have been added from community representatives who call, or called, these areas “home”. Many of these colonies are no longer in existence or have merged with other areas, but are still deserving of recognition. To this end we have come up with a listing now termed “Registered Creole Colonies” that currently number 113.
Please feel free to report any missing communities or misspelled names to
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