What should the date and geographic parameters be for the Louisiana Families Project?

+16 votes

The Louisiana Families Project's scope is too broad to be managed efficiently. We would like to narrow the definition by establishing date parameters and also geographic parameters. How would establishing a time period affect Louisiana Notables, Musicians, Artists who didn't live during the time period? Could exceptions be made for that particular group or would that be too complicated?

Here are some proposals for dates:

1700 - Statehood (April 1812)

1700 - Beginning of Civil War

1700- 1900 - arbitrary cut-off but is consistent with the Category: Louisiana First Families [200 year time period]

1700-1920 - Takes in the major immigration periods, Louisiana population rate slows somewhat

1700 - end of World War II records are readily available. [c250 year time period]

For Louisiana Population Figures see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Louisiana

The geographic parameter could be (or some other idea):

1. Only within the current Louisiana borders.

2. Orleans Territory established after the Louisiana Purchase (1700 - Statehood-1812 All of the Louisiana Purchase south of the 33rd parallel  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territory_of_Orleans. 

3. Louisiana plus some of the early Military Outposts such as Biloxi, Mobile, Natchez, Arkansas. Inclusion of Posts in the project would end after Louisiana Statehood. (1812)

in Genealogy Help by Jacqueline Girouard G2G6 Mach 6 (60.4k points)
Regarding my question about Louisiana Notables, Musicians. I forgot that there already is a project for that group. [[Category:Louisiana Categories Project]]

I had been slowly working on the Musicians during my summer break. I will continue as I can.
Thanks for checking in Michelle. I know how busy teachers are during the school year!
I just want to say thank you to everyone in the thread for all the hard work and thought you have put in on this!  Two thumbs up!

8 Answers

+6 votes
I have done some researching of the early French records in Louisiana and a couple of thoughts come to mind...

Can you have one Project for Louisiana but several sub-projects?

I think in terms of:

Project:  Louisiana

Sub-Project:  When under French rule

Sub-Project:  When under Spanish rule (it was)

Sub-Project:  Louisiana Purchase and road to becoming a State

Sub-Project:  During US Civil War

Sub-Project:  After US Civil War to Modern Day

Sub-Project:  First Families (may be some overlap but that is OK just a designation)
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (645k points)
Hi Laura,

"Louisiana" is our over-arching category but isn't for profiles. The "Louisiana Families Project" and the "Louisiana Categories Project" are under "Louisiana". Right now, the "Louisiana Families Project" is open ended and not limited except that you must have "lived in Louisiana" or if you're a VIP have some roots there. We are seeking to put an end date so it doesn't go on forever.

The sub-projects you mention are interesting and we do use Categories to put on profiles. For example, we have Category: Immigrants from the Canary Islands, Category: German Coast Settlers; Category: Acadian Coast Settlers; Category: Louisiana First Families [this one ends at 1900]; and many many more, including military categories. Sub-projects are very useful--we have one for the German Coast--and we would like to have more of those but we aren't there yet. Thanks for your response--it might get others thinking.
Ah, I get it...  thanks for making that clear.

However, if we do decide as a group to set a date of say 1812, we could do what you suggest and create other projects under "Louisiana" which would be on the same level as our current Louisiana Families Project". Something like "Louisiana after the Civil War" or "Louisiana after 1900" or "Louisiana after Statehood". Such a project would have its own leaders and categories. 

+6 votes
Edited to add: I believe as currently named, Louisiana Families shouldn't have a cut off date. The goal is to make the project manageable and therefore I'd suggest some sort of time limitation be included in the title. My preference would be to rename project to Louisiana First Families...replacing the current category of Louisiana First Families which is much broader..... (end of additional edit)

My preference for Louisiana First Families would be those who were present on or before the statehood date (30 Apr 1812). This is consistent with what Texas State Genealogical Society did with their designation of Texas First Families... although given their later statehood date (1846), it is more inclusive. It is broader though than what Glenn Conrad used in his publications The First Families of Louisiana (although I wonder if he just wanted to avoid including the Acadians LOL) . I've often felt that 200 years is too long... our nation isn't even 250 years old yet  For the word "First" to be meaningful, it should be limitted.

So, I'm thinking perhaps the project itself should be renamed to "Louisiana First Families"-- this would make a manageable group of people to protect by the project.  These are most likely to be the people who are shared by a number of wikitreers. A later date seems rather arbitrary, except maybe extending to 1820 just because it is first US census after statehood.

As for the posts of Natchez, Mobile, etc.,  input from Project Managers of their states would be helpful-- that would be Alabama Roots, Arkansas,  and Mississippi.  If we use the date of statehood then we should probably also use the boundaries of the state. I know most of us with ancestors that were in Louisiana when it became a state also have ancestors who were at one of those posts, but that doesn't seem like a valid reason to include them in the project, especially if the other projects want to manage them.
by Donna Storz G2G6 Mach 2 (22.1k points)
edited by Donna Storz
Louisiana First Families is already defined. See the criteria under its section on the project page: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Louisiana_Families#Louisiana_First_Families

I think what is being looked at is the dates for the Louisiana Families Project, not re-defining the criteria for Louisiana First Families.
Thanks for making that clear Liz. When people see Louisiana Families, I think some assume it does mean the first families. Putting an ending date would tend to focus on that group of first settlers. What do you think would be manageable for a project like this one? 100 years, 200 years, 250 years, no limit?
Thanks Donna, more to think about. As Liz pointed out, we want to keep the Category Louisiana First Families, which is defined as ending in 1900, and further defined as being the first member of the family plus spouse to settle in Louisiana, separate from our Project Louisiana Families which includes everyone who ever lived in Louisiana at any time in history.

I was briefly intrigued with your idea of changing the name of the project, but I don't think we will need to do that once we decide upon an ending date. We haven't reached a consensus yet.

 I understand all of that. :)  I don't think people see Louisiana Families and think it is only First Families... I think they would think all families that ever lived in Louisiana. I  should have clearly stated my belief  that as currently named, I don't think any cut-off date is appropriate and then started talking about first families as a new project name.

My response was to the main issue here and in the GoogleGroups email thread-- making the project manageable considering all of the proposed changes regarding project management. Having a Louisiana Families project that ends at an arbitrary date will lead to questions, complaints, and confusion... like "Why isn't my family included?... they are a family in Louisiana."  At a bare minimum, a change to something like Early Families of Louisiana would at least indicate it isn't for ALL families living in Louisiana. If you go in such a direction, I'd suggest the cut off be earlier than later in order to be manageable-- keeping in mind that any profile with the project template must have the Project as one of the profile managers.


Maybe change the name to Louisiana Families before Statehood. Which would open up an avenue for someone to create another project called Louisiana Families after Statehood..... PS, friend Donna, I know you know these things but people pick up the thread wherever their eyeball wanders and I feel the need to explain, explain, explain. : )
That would work, although a small change maybe to "at or before Statehood" .
+4 votes
Hi Jackie,

I read the Google Groups email thread related to this. Lots to consider!

I like the idea of 1700 to the end of WWII for a time frame, though I know that’s a long time span. LA has such a long, rich history that it seems it would be a shame to cut it off earlier, especially given LA’s representation in the World Wars. For a geographic parameter, #2 above seems to make good sense. Significant aspects of LA’s history happened pre-statehood, so that’s my hesitation on option #1 above. (Just my 2 cents, of course.)

Thank you for all the work you’re doing to create a comprehensive, yet manageable, project!
by anonymous G2G6 Mach 3 (32.3k points)
A second project could be created called something like "Louisiana after the Civil War" or "Louisiana after 1900" or "Louisiana after Statehood"...you get the idea. The project could be under the main category "Louisiana" and have its own leaders. They needn't be abandoned.
That’s true. I can see that that would be a good idea in an effort to enhance the focus of each project.
+3 votes
I think limiting Louisiana Families by an earlier date sends a very confusing message. We already have a Louisiana First Families category that has a 1900 cutoff (which I believe should be tied to an earlier date). How can we limit the more general-seeming Louisiana Families project to an earlier time than First Families?

I like what Amy Kelly had to say about actually expanding the cutoff for Louisiana Families to the end of WWII, which makes sense to me for several reasons.

For geographical breakdowns, I vote for sticking with the state borders for the actual "Louisiana Families" project. That doesn't mean that there can't be other projects that include larger areas (which there are already: Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Territory, Orleans Territory, Spanish Louisiana, to name a few), they just wouldn't be managed by the Louisiana Families project.

Just my two bits...
by Joyce Rivette G2G6 Mach 9 (90.5k points)

Thanks for your input, Joyce. Limiting the area to the current Louisiana borders will be much easier to explain, remember and manage. My sense is that many (most?) of the personnel at those early forts eventually wound up in Louisiana and would come under the project anyway.

You may have missed what I commented above:

"A second project could be created called something like "Louisiana after the Civil War" or "Louisiana after 1900" or "Louisiana after Statehood"...you get the idea. The project could be under the main category "Louisiana" and have its own leaders. They needn't be abandoned."

Does that ease your concern at all about ending the project at statehood or 1900 or whatever, or do you still think it will be confusing?

I saw your comment after I had already posted. That does help. The nested array of Projects, Categories, Space pages, etc. kind of boggles my brain sometimes.
+2 votes

Since we are talking about the size, or potential size, of a project, some population figures may help to explain what the effect of certain dates might be.  These figures are based on census data, so they start just before statehood.

1810 76,556  
1820 153,407   100.4%
1830 215,739   40.6%
1840 352,411   63.4%
1850 517,762   46.9%
1860 708,002   36.7%
1870 726,915   2.7%
1880 939,946   29.3%
1890 1,118,588   19.0%
1900 1,381,625   23.5%
1910 1,656,388   19.9%
1920 1,798,509   8.6%
1930 2,101,593   16.9%
1940 2,363,516   12.5%
1950 2,683,516   13.5%
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (93.9k points)
Right, I posted some of those figures in the Google-groups message I sent out recently. I initially had picked the date 1920 because that is when the rate of population increase began to drop.

What do you think would be a reasonable end date for inclusion in the Louisiana Families project?
+4 votes
I've been reading the posts and letting the comments sort of gel in my brain this afternoon and decided that it might help to take a closer look at the Wikitree project structure and where we Louisianians fit in it.  After doing that, I have come to the conclusion that we have been using Project: Louisiana Families for multiple purposes which are sometimes conflicting and definitely confusing.  

Here is what I found:

Wikitree Top Level Project

Project: United States History - A project to gather many of the US-related sub projects together, spanning from before the USA was a nation to its current state. (This is really an administrative level project)


Second Level

Project: Louisiana - most states have one of these state name projects to gather subprojects together which are related to that particular state's history.

-The mission of Project:Louisiana is to help people find their Louisiana roots and to recreate in WikiTree a bit of the rich history and culture that make Louisiana what it is today. (from the Name Studies in Louisiana page. (This fits well with its place under Project: United States History

-Comment: somewhere along the line, we either never started using Project: Louisiana for its stated gathering purpose or we conflated this project with the subproject Project: Louisiana Families where most of the real work gets done. It looks like we started using Project: Louisiana Families as the gathering project too and that made it spread out bigger than intended


Third Level Projects and their deeper level subprojects


1. Project: Louisiana Families

- The mission of the Louisiana Families project is to develop profiles and family groups in Louisiana from 1700 to 1900 (end date is under discussion and will likely change). Our primary goal is to encourage everyone on WikiTree to find and connect with their cousins in Louisiana and by reviewing the profiles learn a little about Louisiana history.

- focus on family with Louisiana connections

1a. Name Studies in Louisiana (a free space subproject where the focus is on people with the same surname which is also a subproject of Project: One Name Studies)

1b. Irish in Louisiana (a free space subproject where the focus is on people and families of Irish descent in Louisiana including areas like the Irish Channel area of New Orleans)


2. Project: Louisiana Categories

- focus on on Louisiana notables - individuals noteworthy because they belong to other groups

- most places it says that Project: Louisiana Categories is a subproject of Project: Louisiana, but in the mission section of the Project: Louisiana Categories page, it says it is a subproject of Project: Louisiana Families. I think this is a mistake and correcting it would correct a lot of the confusion about which projects are subprojects of which other projects.

-Later the page for Project: Louisiana Categories says:

Because Louisiana Categories Project and Louisiana Families overlap, with a common mission and shared goals, they also share the same badge and G2G tag (see the Louisiana Families project page). While work under the main project focuses on families and early settlers, the Louisiana Categories Project focuses on coordinating category work for Louisiana categories throughout WikiTree as well as seeking out and improving profiles of Louisiana notables.


If these two projects are going to share the same badge and not get too confused, maybe the badge should be for Project: Louisiana (the real umbrella category) rather than for either Louisiana Families or Louisiana Categories.


3. Place Studies in Louisiana (a free space project that says it is a subproject of Project: Louisiana created to gather together one place studies where the place is in Louisiana)

- there are several pages which say that together Project: Louisiana Families and Project: Louisiana Categories make up Project: Louisiana. If Place Studies in Louisiana is also a subproject of Project: Louisiana, it needs to be added to that statement everywhere. But if it is a subproject of one of those subprojects, it needs to be put in the right place on its own page description.


Another part of the confusion arises from a failure to keep the concepts of projects and categories separate in our thinking. Categories are used to gather together profiles and need to be limited to a reasonable number of profiles to work properly. Projects are used to organize and group volunteers and tasks. Administratively, there is probably and upper limit to what a project can accomplish with one leader and maybe one coordinator. But theoretically with enough leaders and coordinators to share the workload, a project can be very large, like Project: United States History.


The following are currently categories which are related to Louisiana, but they do not appear to be separate subprojects. They can be used, however, to focus the work of particular volunteers.

*Category: Louisiana First Families

-This category is for the earliest known heads of families, male and female, in Louisiana. The individual needs to have been in the 1900 US Census or earlier, and have a place of birth outside of Louisiana or be the earliest known member of the family in Louisiana.

- Currently, for purposes of this project (sic - probably should be category rather than project), "Louisiana" in the following criteria for adding [[Category: Louisiana First Families]] to a profile is defined as the area covered by the modern borders of Louisiana.

- Criteria which must be met for adding this category to a profile

::Head of family

:::head: includes both husband and wife if other criteria is met

:::family: the person stayed and raised a family in Louisiana

::Born outside of Louisiana or earliest known member of the family in Louisiana

::Arrived no later than 1900 (in time to be in the 1900 US Census for Louisiana, or earlier)

*Category: Louisiana Warriors

*Category: Louisiana Schools

*Category: Louisiana Politicians (this one has subcategories for Governors, Legislators, U.S. Representatives from Louisiana, and U.S. Senators from Louisiana)

*Category: Louisiana Musicians

*Louisiana Musical Groups
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (93.9k points)
Here are my comments and suggestions.

1. I favor truly reviving Project: Louisiana and using it for its intended purpose of gathering together all subprojects and project related activity connected with Louisiana's entire history running from the earliest records through the present as that is the scope of its parent project, Project: United States History. As a gathering project, it would not have an associated template or an associated category that would be placed directly on profiles.

1a. We would stop using Project: Louisiana Families as the umbrella for everything related to Louisiana and Louisiana History.

1b. Project: Louisiana would be the umbrella project that holds the badge, so members of any of the subprojects would get a Project: Louisiana badge.

1c. To avoid future confusion like some of what we have now, I suggest changing the badge from its present Louisiana Families name to a more general Project: Louisiana or Project: Louisiana Roots as other states have chosen. This would follow what is written on several associated pages.

2. I suggest making our formal subprojects be primary subprojects directly under Project: Louisiana. Those are currently:

2a. Project: Louisiana Categories - retain the focus on categories for use with individuals, including notables. I suggest Project: Louisiana Categories would also be responsible for the projects part of all our maintenance categories and all the subprojects / focus groups work closely with our Project: Louisiana Categories to develop definitions for the categories to

2.a.1. serve our administrative and task and goal needs (which includes maintenance categories)

2.a.2. to restrict the size of specific categories (and associated goals and/or tasks) to sizes reasonable for research and specific goals.

2.a.3. use the categories rather than the project or subprojects to carefully limit the scope of what is being covered

2b. Project: Louisiana Families - retain the focus on families, including general style guidelines for all Louisiana related profiles like naming guidelines, place names. All of the following focus areas have a family focus but may need expansive time periods, so we would not restrict the size at this level in a way that would exclude any of the following:

2.b.1. I would recommend adding a free space project page for Louisiana First Families to go with the category, goals and tasks like we have for the one place and one name studies and the Irish in Louisiana page. This is where we would put any narrow date definition and other qualifications we adopt.

2.b.2. Irish in Louisiana, currently a free space project where the focus is on people and families of Irish descent in Louisiana including areas like the Irish Channel area of New Orleans, might work as another well defined focus area under Project: Louisiana Families

2.b.3. Name Studies in Louisiana, a free space subproject where the focus is on people with the same surname which is also a subproject of Project: One Name Studies. One name studies tend to be family focused usually without time limitations, although they may turn out to be comprised of more than one family.

2.b.4. Place Studies in Louisiana, a free space project saying it is a subproject of Project: Louisiana created to gather together one place studies in Louisiana. I suggest making it a subproject of Project: Louisiana Families because one place studies usually end up focusing on one or just a few families.

2.b.5. If a group of volunteers becomes interested in working on specific goals and tasks associated with other identifiable groups of Louisiana families, then the Project: Louisiana Families could add other well defined categories and associated groups groups of volunteers with free space pages of goals and tasksto go with the identifiable groups.

Having said all that and read the other comments, it seems we are mostly talking about how to define (and whether we want to narrow the definition) of which profiles fit in Category: Louisiana First Families and how we want to use project templates and stickers and perhaps project protection for profiles. We need to remember under current wikitree setup, not all profiles fitting within a project's scope have to be project protected or have to have the project account as one of the profile managers.

We have a variety of templates (some would now be called stickers appearing on the top right of the Biography section) which do not assign categories to profiles they are placed on but which would identify and recognize the person in the profile as having Louisiana connections. All the people participating in various groups under the Project: Louisiana umbrella can sponsor (help create and maintain and promote) these stickers for use on the huge number of profiles that really don't need any special project attention including many recent ancestors with good easy to find documentation. These include

* Template:Nonmigrating Ancestor (which can show someone is a native of Louisiana)

* Template: Migrating Ancestor (which can show someone was born elsewhere and later came to Louisiana. These can show where the ancestor came from such as migrated from France to Louisiana)

These profiles don't necessarily need to be monitored or project protected and don't need to become part of the project until something comes to our attention that needs work like errors or a lack of sources. This is a good way to limit project size.

We could add a Louisiana First Families template providing both a sticker and assigning Category:Louisiana First Families to the profile.

Category: Louisiana First Families is where we narrow the scope. I looked at all the other state based first families categories I could find on Wikitree. There are basically 2 types: Those that limit to all family members living in the period before statehood, including Texas, Alabama and California, and those that limit by heads of families before 1900, including Louisiana and Mississippi. Several of the ones that limit on the date of statehood are using the same definition used by some sort of genealogical society that certifies people who are descendants of people with these criteria and allow them to be members of some sort of society. Texas and Alabama are like that. Maryland is a special case as the society is getting more restrictive and narrowing from the period before statehood to an earlier period which I think is before they became a colony.

Louisiana has such a certificate program called the First Families of Louisiana Certificate Program administered by the Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society. It is limited to families and descendants of families who resided within the present boundaries of Louisiana on 20 Dec 1803, the date it became a U. S. Territory and the U.S. flag was raised in New Orleans. In the interests of clarity and avoiding confusion, I suggest we adopt this definition for our Category: Louisiana First Families and that we use this definition for a Free Space page subproject associated with that category.

I would suggest we ask those most involved in the Irish in Louisiana free space subproject for geographic and time definitions most suitable to the history of the Irish in Louisiana.
Wow Mary, we are in your debt for your sharp analysis. What you have written makes a lot of sense to me. I will need to study more before I can make a more intelligent comment. I have always been troubled by how the Louisiana Categories Project fits in to the Louisiana Families Project. That project had its own leader until very recently.

And thanks for again helping us stay clear on the difference between Categories and Projects.

There is much discussion about stickers, templates, projects and Project Protected Profiles going on in the Leader's Group at this time. I have purposely avoided too much mention of it here so we can focus on narrowing the scope of the Louisiana Families Project. And, there may be some subtle changes that result from some of the discussion. The Team is working with one test project at this time.

Edited next para to add: Instead of a G2G discussion, I have asked Julie Ricketts to look into this at her level. Perhaps a decision can be made there instead of us getting involved. "I'm wondering if it might be helpful for you to pose a separate question on G2G regarding just the structure of Project:Louisiana so we can deal with that issue by itself. I'm thinking we might get some others with many more years experience than I have to provide insight."

I am so grateful for your interest and insight and excited about the possibilities ahead.
Feel free to do away with Project:Louisiana and the Louisiana Categories project. I created them to try to make the "everyone ever" Louisiana Families Project more manageable when I became its leader awhile back (imagine my surprise when I realized the project was not just for Louisiana First Families!)

Here is a page for us to use to understand what Mary is referring to in her analysis.

I believe we do need Project Louisiana at the top and shouldn't remove it.
Mary --

I just gave you a standing ovation for your thoughtful analysis of all that. Thought you should know.
+1 vote
Jackie, I like the idea of keeping it in lines with the First Families era. 1700-1900.
by Michelle Ladner G2G6 Mach 1 (14.2k points)
Thanks for giving your input Michelle.
+1 vote

Now that I understand where our project fits intp the WikiTree structure, I see that our geographic location is the current state of Louisiana. This doesn't mean there can't be a project for Orleans Territory or any other outpost.There is no limit to how many projects there are.

Our structure is like this:

*Project: United States History  



***Louisiana (First or whatever we decide) Families

***Louisiana Notables (formerly known as Project: Louisiana Categories

***Any Other sub-projects we want https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Project:Louisiana

by Jacqueline Girouard G2G6 Mach 6 (60.4k points)

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