The Annual German-Acadian Coast Historical and Genealogical Society Oktoberfest takes place each October in place of the monthly meeting. The Oktoberfest dinner begins with a social hour where members and their guests can mingle with one another. Later, the President of the GACHGS will make a few opening comments and a meal is served. At this time the featured Guest Speaker will make a presentation.
The 2014 Oktoberfest will be held at the Ormond Plantation in Destrehan on Saturday, October 18, 2014. Our guest speaker will be Michael N. Henderson and his topic is "Got Proof? My Genealogical Journey through Documentation"
Got Proof! Explores One Family Historianʼs Surprising Results
Most people avoid cemeteries at all costs; not Michael Henderson. Like many family history researchers, he gravitates to them, curious about the lives of those who lived centuries ago. This curiosity is what got him started down the path of researching his roots and eventually discovering an ancestor who helped secure Americaʼs independence from the British during the Revolutionary War.
“Ancestors want to be found. They often leave evidence of their existence in documents, photographs, and even on headstones,” says Henderson, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana who now resides near Atlanta, Georgia.
His affinity for genealogy research occurred over time, spurred by his many visits to his hometown during military leave periods when he served in the United States Navy. “I would visit the French Quarter [in New Orleans] and have flashbacks of what the area must have been like in the 18th and 19th centuries,” Henderson recalls. “I wondered whether I had ancestors who lived there, but was told by my mother that all of our people lived in the country.”
As his research continued, a conversation with a distant cousin opened a genealogical can of worms, and Henderson was off on what would become a nearly 30- year journey to discover his Louisiana Creole ancestry. Now a retired lieutenant commander, Henderson has written a memoir about some of his findings, Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation. “The book title says it all. The focus of my research has been finding documents to prove the family lore and uncover answers to the mysteries that have been kept secret and hidden for so long.”
In Got Proof! Henderson takes readers on his genealogical journey which led him to discover the 1779 manumission, or freedom papers, of a woman named Agnes. With the assistance of a third party, Agnes engaged in a year-long court battle to gain her freedom, which she eventually won on December 16, 1779. Agnes is Hendersonʼs fourth-generation great-grandmother. As Henderson discovered, the third party who assisted Agnes in her quest for freedom is his fourth-generation great-grandfather, a Frenchman named Mathieu Devaux. Although unable to marry due to the laws of the day, the two maintained a 31-year relationship and produced seven children who were all born free prior to the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
As it turned out, Devaux served as an artilleryman under the Spanish general Bernardo de Galvez, who led troops to major victories in the Battle of Baton Rouge, the Siege of Natchez, the Battle of Mobile, and the Siege of Pensacola. Finding proof of his ancestorʼs service led Henderson to apply for membership into the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). In 2010, he became the first African American in Georgia inducted into the male lineage society. That same year, the story of Agnes and Mathieu caught the attention of the PBS series “History Detectives.” The segment, titled “The Galvez Papers,” (http://to.pbs.org/hiMl62) explores Hendersonʼs quest to determine whether the signature of Bernardo de Galvez on Agnesʼ manumission document is authentic. Two years after his induction, Henderson was elected president of the Button Gwinnett Chapter of the SAR and to this day he remains the only African American SAR member in Georgia.
“In my travels, I meet people from many backgrounds, some who donʼt believe they could ever prove their ancestral link to American history. I suggest they dig deep and find proof to connect their ancestors to the rich history of this country. We all have a part to play in the narrative of America.”
13786 River Road (Hwy 48)
Destrehan, Louisiana 70047
(parking in rear)
Saturday, Oct 18, 2014
11:00 AM Social ~ 11:30 AM Luncheon
Cost: $28.00 per person
~ MENU ~
*Choice of Entrée:
· Chicken Romano Boneless
breast baked with crispy Romano cheese and herbed bread crumbs served with a creamy Alfredo sauce
· Creole Stuffed Eggplant
½ eggplant baked with shrimp, crabmeat and Creole seasoning, topped with Romano herb bread crumbs and served with sautéed vegetables
· Catfish Buck Town
farm raised filet dusted in pecan flour, fried, topped with shrimp in a crystal meunière served on a bed of herb rice
· Pasta Bayou
Gulf shrimp, chicken breast and andouille with a barbeque shrimp butter, tossed in Rotini pasta and Romano cheese
White Chocolate Bread Pudding Dessert
Choice of Tea, Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke and Coffee
Make Checks Payable to "GACHGS" and send payment to:
Mary Duhé, Treasurer
107 Cadow Street
Paradis, LA 70080
Click on Links below for Photos and Stories of past dinners
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