I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on records kept for those that have lived in Martinique, or any territory in the Caribbean controlled or once controlled by France. Are these records held by France? What kind of records are kept for Martinque? How far back do they go?
I am looking for information on my G-G-Great Grandmother. Her name was Gabrielle Marie Duchemin (sometimes spelled Duchmen or Duchmin) and she was born in April 1836 somewhere in the French Caribbean, most likely Martinque. Her mother's name was possibly Gabrielle as well. Though I have no idea what her maiden name is, nor do I know the given name of her father. They were both mostly likely born in France and, according to family oral tradition, were Caribbean plantation owners. In 1847, Gabrielle (at age 11) sailed out of a port in Cuba to New Orleans with an Eleanor Labarriere (age 60.) She stayed for at least three years with the Laizer family on their plantation on the Left Bank of the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Listed in the 1850 census along with the Laizers are both Gabrielle and a 60 year old male by the name of L.A. Labarriere.
There is an oral tradition in my family that Gabrielle was disinherited when she "married a 'damn yankee.'" Ironically her husband was a Confederate Officer. However, I have found that, on 3 Apr 1856, she married my G-G-Great Grandfather Lt. Polycarp Constant LeCorgne in Santiago, Cuba, arriving two weeks later back in New Orleans. This leads me to believe that at least part of the oral tradition is true. She and Polycarp probably traveled to Martinque to ask for her parents blessing. When they refused for whatever reason, the two returned back to New Orleans. I beleive that Cuba is a stopping point between Martinque and New Orleans, which is why the two passenger lists I've found her on (1847 and 1856) sailed from Cuba to New Orleans. I believe that while they were stopped in Cuba, they got married despite her parents wishes and she was then disinherited.
I would like to clearify Gabrielle's birth origin and if I can her parents' birth origins. I know she was born somewhere in the French Caribbean. Two Census records have her as being from Martinque, one from Guadeloupe, one from France. Records say her parents were from France. I would like to know who her parents and Grandparents were. (Were the Labarrieres somehow her grandparents?) And I'd like to know if she had any siblings.