I have a story that is as awesome as the ones shown on the NBC show Who Do You Think You Are about ancestry. My father was adopted in 1912 from an orphanage in Fort Worth. All of his life, although he had a wonderful family, he wanted to know about his blood line. He kept a pink piece of paper with all of his important papers such as house deeds, insurance policies, etc. that held his DNA to his biological family. Only a few names and birth dates were on it. Before his death in 1997, I made a promise to find his people, and that, I have done, thanks to ancestry.com and the help of a genealogist in Louisiana.
He was born Elvert Judice, but was adopted and given the surname of Edwards - most people knew him as Poop Edwards, a well-known mechanic from Leonard. Upon research, my findings are very historical for the Acadian settlements of Louisiana. His great-great-grandfather, Louis Judice, was a founder of settlements, which developed into parishes along the Mississippi River. He had a plantation in this area where the Spanish government had deemed him eight tracts of land and appointed him commander of this territory. The Huma Indians favored him and settled a camp on the back side of his plantation. There are documents that reported 52 indians living in his territory. He did many things for the Acadian families settling in the area. He handed out supplies furnished by the Spanish government and helped them establish this area 50 years before the Louisiana Purchase.
This has been a surprise to me to find out about my blood line. My father lived 91 years not knowing a thing about his ancestry, but my promise to him has been fulfilled and I thank GOD that I was able to find out myself after 61 years of wondering. I found his people and have even talked with living relatives. One of those is Dr. Robert Judice, my distant cousin, who still owns a plantation, the only privately-owned one in Louisiana. My purpose of writing this article is to encourage everyone to research their past. It may be really interesting what you find. Maybe even something more interesting than what is showing on the NBC series.
Bettye Edwards Matthews
[Editor's Note: The NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are, is scheduled to premiere its second season on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. CST. Matthews' father built cars for many, and is in the Leonard Historical Museum with his race cars.]
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