Louisiana State Penitentiary Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Louisiana State Penitentiary Records, 1866-1963 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Louisiana, United States
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Flag of Louisiana
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Location of Louisiana
Record Description
Record Type Penitentiary Records
Collection years 1866-1963
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

This Collection will include records from 1866 to 1963.

This collection includes a seven-volume index of prisoners and 36 volumes registering convicts admitted to the prison. The prison was opened in 1835. Although some early records of inmates were made, they are not complete.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana State Penitentiary Records, 1866-1963.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Information in these records may vary; however, they generally include the following:

  • Name of prisoner
  • Age, height and weight
  • Physical description including color of eyes, hair and identifying marks
  • Marital status
  • Reason for entry in (offense)ledger
  • Term of imprisonment
  • Level of education
  • Literacy
  • Birth date and place
  • Death date
  • Burial date and place
  • Cause of death
  • Last residence prior to confinement
  • Discharge or transfer date
  • Where transferred to

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know the following:

  • Full name
  • Identifying information such as the age and approximate dates served

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "Record" Category
⇒Select the "Record Type, Volume and Year Range" which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records. For example:

  • Use the death date to search for a death certificate.
  • Use the death date and prior residence to locate mortuary, or burial records.
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the prior residence, enlistment place, or place of birth to locate census, church, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Compile a list of other prisoners with the same surname. If the surname is uncommon, they may be relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Record accuracy depends largely on the accuracy of the document authors and may be subject to inacurracies.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Louisiana, State Penitentiary Records, 1866-1963" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. State Archives, Baton Rouge.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana State Penitentiary Records, 1866-1963.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.