Local library helps uncover family history

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Tracing your family history can be hard, but with the right information and knowing where to start it can lead to untold revelations. KPLC's Lee Peck takes us to Calcasieu's Carnegie Memorial Library where genealogy is their specialty.

"We start off with the last names of your grandparents and go from there. It's amazing what we find," said Armijean Declouet, Carnegie Memorial Library Genealogy Associate.

Declouet has been with the library for 15 years. If the information is there she can find it. The library has newspaper records in Southwest Louisiana that date back to 1889. They also have access to several national databases online.

"With a few names we can go online and generate some leads. From there we search Census records," explained Declouet. "With every record you find another clue. It is fun to see where it takes you."

Nicole Sisson came to the library not knowing what she would find. With Declouet's help she found out her great-great-grandparents were from Germany. Sisson also learned her great-grandfather Jethero Sisson was a mechanic for Illinois Central Railroad in Alabama. As they continued to search they found Jethero's World War I draft card.

"According to Jethero Sisson's WWI draft card – he was tall, slender, had blue eyes and red hair," said Declouet.

"I had no idea he had red hair. I have a cousin with red hair and we always wondered where he got it from," said Nicole.

While Nicole found a lot of information in short period of time, Declouet explains it isn't always easy to uncover the past.

"It's never this easy. You really got lucky today. Now you have homework to do with the information you found. You need to go home and ask your parents and grandparents what they can remember," said Declouet.

Calcasieu's Carnegie Library is located at 411 Pujo Street. They are open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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