If you are researching your genealogy in Louisiana, then this article is for you. We will look specifically at the Louisiana branch of a national organization that will help you with your Louisiana genealogy.
Before we look at Louisiana, let's look at the US GenWeb Project. According to their site (www.usgenweb.org) this organization is a group of volunteers dedicated to providing "free genealogy web sites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States". You access the state first and then you can get into the counties. When doing your genealogy in Louisiana, it is important to know that counties are called parishes. This group also offers a list of the projects and sub-projects that they are working on, help for genealogy researchers, and how to volunteer and what is expected.
Once you are on the home page of the USGenWeb site, you can select any state you are interested. For the purpose of this paper, we will select Louisiana. If you know which parish your ancestors lived in, you can select Parish Websites at the top of the page. If you are interested in volunteering, you can "adopt" a parish by clicking on the box at the top of the parish page. To get you in the mood while researching your Louisiana genealogy, they even offer a "Jukebox" of selected music!
Since I have friends who live in Houma, we will use Terrebonne parish as our example. Click on "Go Now" in the box titled LAGenWebArchives. If you want to see what other parishes surround Terrebonne parish, click on the "Clickable Parish Map". If you know that your Louisiana genealogy comes from Houma but you don't know what parish that is in, click on "Know the town? Find the Parish". This will take you to a rootsweb/ancestry site - make sure you know the correct abbreviation for the state or you may be led astray and do a lot of research for nothing because you are in the wrong state. If you continue on this site, you will be offered resources that are not on GenWeb's site, so go back and click on "T" for Terrebonne - not that rootsweb is not a good site but we are focusing on GenWeb right now. For a history of the parish, select "Parishes". There are a variety of other items you can select at your leisure for more information, but we will stick with researching Louisiana genealogy here.
Terrebonne parish was formed in 1822 from Lafourche parish so, if you can't find records on your ancestors in Terrebonne parish prior to that time, check records for Lafourche. Some of the records provided on this site are federal, some are state, some are parish and some are very local. You will need to know what it is you want to discover (perhaps a death date) and what is the most likely source to find that information (Cemeteries and Burial Records or Obituary Records). They even have obituary photos! Perhaps your Louisiana genealogy takes you into military records. Not all links are active, so keep trying until you get one that works.
Since I did not know a specific year of death, I looked at the surname search at the bottom of the page. I did not find the surname of my friend in the Obituary Records but I noticed the surname deGeneres so I looked at that. What I found was the name of an 85 year old woman who died at 2:12 a.m. on Wednesday 4 Nov 1992. The obituary gives the names of her husband (and the fact that he had previously died), parents, siblings, two sons and three daughters (including their husbands' names), and the number of grandchildren and great grandchildren she had. It also names the associations she belonged to, the cemetery where she was buried, and the church to which she belonged. To a genealogist, this is wonderful information!
Using free online web sites for your genealogy does have its limitations (usually incomplete or they don't cover all time periods) but they are easy and free to use. If you want to become a contributor, that can be easily done as well.