Monday, September 5, 2011

Cajun Research: Theaux

My Mother Margaret Audrey Theaux
Aunt Lena
My mother's maiden name was Theaux. There is some argument in my family as to just how the name is pronounced. My aunt Lena and my aunt Lil both informed me that the name was pronounced THAY-O with the TH pronounced. This puzzled me and my sister as we pronounced it TAY-O without the H sound. My sister and I decided that it had to be because we were from the west coast and not native Louisianians. Since I had been adopted out of the family I had not been raised hearing the family name pronounced, so I was willing to bow to my aunts' version. (after all it had been their name since birth) Then my aunt Lena said, "Of course, you don't pronounced the H in French." Vicki (my sister) and I looked at each other and said ..."so we're saying it right? And you're saying it wrong?"

Aunt Lil
This year when I visited my cousins (children of Lena and Lil's brother RL who also have the last name of Theaux) the same discussion came up because I, of course, still pronounce the name without the H sound. They informed me I was saying it wrong. I then told them what our late great matriarch, my aunt Lena, had said. They told me she was full of crap.

My very bright nephew, Dustin, being the child of the internet that he is, found a tape of the skier Adrian Theaux during a competition in France. The French announcer was speaking about Mr. Theaux and he was pronouncing the name with the H sound. We are now bowing to the French announcer.

However you pronounce the name it is a fairly easy name in the United States to research as there seems to have been only two or three families with this name to immigrate to the US. (I am using the term United States instead of America because there is a Theaux or two in South America.)

I have not "jumped the pond" yet. That doesn't mean that it hasn't been jumped...just that I haven't jumped it yet. My cousin Eric, researcher extraordinaire, has taken the Theaux's to France. I trust Eric's research. I do. I just want to take the journey myself. I know...I'm reinventing the wheel, but a great deal of the records he uncovered were lost in Katrina. So I have no source notes. Consequently, what I do have is names and dates but no sources. I have some wonderful copies of original records and no idea of where they came from. So...I'm off to re-invent the wheel.

Here is what I know. (If you want the sources just let me know.)

Jacques Jean Marie Theaux was born in December of 1856 in France. He came to the United States sometime before 1880 and settled in St. Martinville, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. He worked as a carpenter on the plantation owned by Eugene Auguste Duchamp De Chastaigne. (Family stories  say that Jacques  was the manager of the plantation and that he was very good with horses.) Jacques married Eugene's third child, Marie Mathilde Elisa Duchamp De Chastaigne when she was just 15 in St. Martinville on 3 May 1881.

Laurent Felix Theaux and Flavie Marguerite Landry Theaux
Jacques and Marie Mathilde were my great grandparents. Their first child, Eugene, was born in 1883. Other children born to this union include Arthur, Elizabeth, Marbe, Leona, Laurent, and Leo. Marie Mathilde died 10 July 1906 in St. Martinville and Jacques followed her on 24 September 1918  in Delcambre, Iberia Parish, Louisiana.  Their son Laurent Felix Theaux was my grand father.

Laurent was born on 11 April 1893.