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narrative accounts of our family history


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Genealogical research will turn up more than you expected as you will see in Who's Your Mama? Are You Catholic? And Can You Make a Roux? by Denise Hall

Life Long Resident of Gravette Passes Away -- the obituary for Joseph Shelton Austin (12 January 1858 - 20 July 1940)

Links to information about Doctor John Hall, the son-in-law of William Shakespeare


Connections to the Kellers

The research on the Kellers has officially begun. With the help of a few keys names from my father I was able to trace some of this family line to the 1700s. Keller is of interest to me because my grandmother Ella Mae Keller was married to Robert Blereau. So far I mostly have dates and names. My plan is to fill everything in with facinating stories. Most of the Kellers and the people they married lived in and around St. John the Baptist Parish, primarily in Edgard, LA. Edgard is a small town about 20 miles from Metairie, LA with a current population of about 3700. Of note I was able to trace one line back to Brussels, Belgium and another to Donaller, Bavaria!

Ella Mae Keller's father was Ignace Keller. He married Ella Richard on January 10, 1895 in Thibodeaux, LA. From family history 101 I remember being told that he was a blacksmith and died of a ruptured appendix (which was untreatable in his day). Ignace's father was Alcide Keller who was a Conferate soldier. He was born in 1845 in Edgard and married Mirza Tregle (b. 1848) in Thibideaux in 1867. They had 9 other children.

Alcide's father Victorin Keller (b. 1815) married Marie Catherina Roussel (b. 1822) in 1835 in St. John the Baptist Parish. I will assume from now on that everyone was in Edgard. If these dates are correct she was only 13 years old and he 20. She had 7 children and was 41 when she died. Victorin's parents, Nicolas Keller (b. 1787) and (Agatha) Agnes Weber (b. 1790) were married in 1814. Variations of Agnes[base '] family name are Weber and Webre. During my research I found that Nicolas and Agnes had another child named Nicolas that died the day after his birth. I have been unable to find out anything else about their other children. I did find out that Nicolas was married three time. His first wife was Euphrosine Deslattes, Agnes was his second wife, and her sister Emerante Catherine Weber was his third wife. His father was married twice. The mother of Nicolas[base '] first wife (Euphrosine) was also his father's second wife. Her name was Angelica Rodrigue. Got it all? It gets better.

Agnes (Nicolas[base '] 2nd wife, b. 1790) was the daughter of Jean Antoine Weber (b. 1754) and Catherine Schexnayder (b. 1759). They were married February 21, 1786 in St. John's Church. Jean Antoine Weber was listed as a member of the 2nd Company of the Militia of the Coast of the Germans at age 15. Catherine's sister, Agnes Ynes Schexnayder (b. 1767) was married to Nicolas Keller (b. about 1759) in St. John's Church July 4, 1786. Almost a double wedding. These are the parents of the Nicolas (b. 1787) mentioned above -- the man married to Agnes (b. 1790). This would make Nicolas and Agnes first cousins. As I found with the Lavernge research, first cousins were free (encouraged?) to marry and I assume this was a common practice throughout Louisiana at the time. This is as far back as I have been able to go with the Keller name.

Of note, Nicolas Keller[base ']s (b. about 1759) birthplace was listed as German Coast. This was a new term to me. Eager to learn more about this term "German Coast" I did a search on the web and found out that: "The German Coast was a region of early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the Mississippi River -- specifically, in St. John the Baptist and St.Charles parishes of present-day Acadiana. It was so called because of its large population of German pioneers." from the Cajun Encyclopedia These German pioneers were recruited by John Law, a Scotsman who encouraged the people of France, Germany and Switzerland to come to the American colony of Louisiana for a better life. ... Once they intermarried with the Acadians, their descendants took on the French language. More information on German Coast families is avialable online.

What about Belgium and Bavaria?

The Schexnayders can be traced back to a man named Henry Albert Schexnayder who immigrated to the German Coast in the 1720s. He was born in Friderichoath, Brussels in Brabants. He married Anne Wichner in 1727 and their son Jean Adam Schexnayder (b. 1734 in Louisiana) is the father of Catherine and Agnes Ynes. Their mother is Mary Agnes Mayer. A final thing I learned about the Schexnayders is that the family name in Brussels was Chegnider. Henry's father was Simon Chegnider and his mother was Anne Marie Vesdray.

The Webers can be traced back to Andre Tregre (variations are Traeger, Treagle and others). Andre Tregre was born about 1687 in Donaller, Bavaria. He married Catherine Calender and their daughter, Anne Catherine Tregre was born on the German Coast about 1723. She married a french speaker from Nertel (France?), Jean Weber (b. about 1727) in 1753. Their son was Jean Antoine Weber, the man who married Catherine Schexnayder.

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