The Archdiocese of New Orleans has created a new online database containing records of baptisms, marriages and deaths in colonial New Orleans — including those of African slaves, who until now have been nearly invisible to genealogical research.
The newly-released information provides a powerful new tool for scholars and ordinary genealogists, particularly for those searching for slave ancestors, a New Orleans historian said.
The acts in these registers were recorded in Spanish. The Spanish phonetic spelling of a surname often varied significantly from the French spelling. In addition, first names were Hispanicized: Etienne became Estevan; Jacques became Santiago; Elizabeth became Isabella, and Hélène became Elena. Surname spelling variations multiply under the Spanish as well. Undoubtedly, some of these similar names refer to the same family.
You can access the "Slave and Free People of Color Baptismal Records in the Archives" at http://www.archdiocese-no.org/archives/sfpc.php
My thanks to the several newsletter readers who wrote to tell me of this new online resource.