Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy
|Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana|
Location in the state of Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the U.S.
|Founded||March 24, 1840|
|County Seat||Lake Charles|
|Address|| 1015 Pithon Street|
PO Box 1583
Lake Charles, LA 70602
- 1 Parish Courthouse
- 2 Calcasieu Parish Organization
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Records and Resources
- 5 Societies
- 6 Websites
- 7 Thanks to the Calcasieu Wiki Contributors
- 8 References
Calcasieu Parish Organization
When Louisiana became a state, the large, sparsely settled area between the Atchafalaya and Sabine rivers was designated St. Landry Parish. As the parish became more populated, settlers began to complain about the long horse or wagon journey they had to make to Opelousas. By 1840, the area had enough settlers that the Louisiana Legislature took note of their complaints and created a new parish out of the southwest corner of St. Landry Parish. The new parish was named Calcasieu in honor of the region's principal river. 
The name Calcasieu (pronounced Cal-ca-shoo) comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this name. 
In 1870, Imperial Calcasieu underwent the first of two reorganizations. On 16 March 1870, Louisiana Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth signed an act providing for the creation of Cameron Parish from land then lying in both Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes.
The May 3, 1912, issue of the American Press reported: "In one of the most representative meetings ever held in the state, as well as one of the most harmonious, it was decided at the parish convention in this city [Lake Charles] last night to divide Imperial Calcasieu parish into four parishes. Amicable agreements were made upon the lines of division."
The divisions were as follows:
- Part set off for Jefferson Davis Parish 12 June 1912.
- Part set off for Beauregard Parish 12 Jun 1912.
- Various parts taken to add to other existing parishes, Rapides 1852, St. Landry 1852, Vermilion 1871, Allen 1912.
See an interactive map of Calcasieu Parish boundary changes. (map also shows parish boundaries for census years)
The parish courthouse, as well as most of downtown Lake Charles, was destroyed by a disastrous fire on April 23, 1910. Many of the records of the parish were burned or damaged.
Places / Localities
Records and Resources
- African-American Resources for Louisiana
Links to Family History Library and Online Resources
- Find A Grave
- Louisiana Cemetery Preservation
- Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project
- Southwest Louisiana Cemetery Collection at McNeese University
- Tombstone Transcription Project
|Year|| Link to Census Text
||Link to Census Images|
||1840 Census - Text||1840 Census - Images|
|1850||1850 Census - Text|| |
Land and Property
- A Timeline History of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana
- Calcasieu Parish history information on USgenweb
- Calcasieu Parish places on the National Register of Historic Places
- On This Day in Southwest Louisiana History
- Thomas Rigmaiden's Diary - Thomas Rigmaiden, Imperial Calcasieu's first school teacher, kept a diary from 1836 to 1865. The diary entries are a great resource about the people and events of early Calcasieu Parish.
- 1895 Map of Calcasieu Parish
- GIS Maps of Calcasieu Parish - Downloadable/printable pdf maps, including cities, political districts, parks and Government buildings.
- Confederate Pension Applications - The Louisiana Secretary of State's searchable database contains over 49,000 names that were included in pension applications submitted to the Board of Pension Commissioners.
- Military Records on USGenWeb
- Calcasieu Parish, World War II Casualties, Army and Air Force
- Lake Charles American Press - Online subscriptions or day passes to the ePaper allow users to search the entire archives.
- Chronicling America - Calcasieu Parish - Directory of Calcasieu Parish newspapers, Library of Congress website
- Calcasieu Parish Public Library
411 Pujo St.
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601
Telephone: (337) 721-7110
The library houses the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library
- Louisiana Digital Library - Online library containing photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, and oral histories that document history and culture
- McNeese State University Archives and Special Collections
Birth records going back 100 years are housed by the Calcasieu Parish Health Unit. Phone: 337-478-6020.
Death records - Louisiana Secretary of State - Search the Louisiana death records database and order certified copies of death certificates for deaths that occurred in Louisiana over 50 years ago. Search by deceased's name, parish or month of death.
- Brimstone Historical Society - Sulphur
- Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society
- Daughters of the American Revolution - Calcasieu Chapter
- Daughters of the American Revolution - Louisiana Bayou Chapter
- The Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Society - A non-profit, educational organization dedicated to gathering, processing and preserving genealogical material by promoting interest in genealogy.
- The Southwest Louisiana Historical Association - The Southwest Louisiana Historical Association (SWLHA) encourages the study of history in Louisiana, with particular emphasis on the history and traditions of Southwest Louisiana.
- FamilySearch.org Family History Library Catalog for Calcasieu Parish.
- Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society
- Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society on facebook
- Calcasieu Parish LAGenWeb Project, a member of The LAGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Calcasieu Parish Marriage Project - transcriptions of marriage applications and other marriage records as recorded in the parish court house and state archives.
Thanks to the Calcasieu Wiki Contributors
Anyone can be a contributor. Contributors are people who write and edit the pages for FamilySearch Wiki. Thanks to the following contributors for helping to build this page (in alpha order). Help grow the wiki and add content today!
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed., Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana p. 289 (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Benoit, Robert. "The Division of Imperial Calcasieu." Lake Charles American Press. 15 Jan. 1989.