Locals invited to share family photos, stories at Edgard Library

Published 12:24 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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EDGARD — Members of the Hymel, Keller, Rome and D’Arensbourg families are invited to bring old photos, documents and family stories to the Edgard Library branch from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 8 as planning begins for a family reunion to be held on the Homeplace Plantation grounds.
Hattie McElroy is organizing the effort. Representatives from the Daughters of 1812 and Daughters of the American Revolution will also be in attendance on April 8, representing these families’ historic role in Louisiana history. The Daughters of the American Revolution is looking to start a local chapter specific to the German Coast families.
“We had several Louisiana patriots in the Battle of New Orleans. Every family on my maternal side actually fought in the Battle of New Orleans,” McElroy said. “Most of them were involved in negotiations with the Spanish as well as the Germans and the French who actually recruited people to settle in this area. Jean Pierre Keller actually fought for the Patriots during the American Revolution.”
Individuals tracing their family trees may notice several spelling variations of surnames. The Kellers, connected to the Homeplace Plantation, have also been spelled Kelair. The Hymel family, connected to the Goldmine Plantation, has spelling variations that include Himel or Himmel. Meanwhile, the Rome family that came over on one of the original ships at Galvez has also been recorded at Rommell.
“It significantly changed when the area went from the Spanish to the French and back to the Spanish and the United States. Whoever took the Census would phonetically spell the names the way they heard it,” McElroy said. “You can see all of the nationalities, the Hollanders, Germans, Italians, French…Edgard and Hahnville had mostly German descendants, but other areas were more French.”
McElroy has been passionate about history since one of her great aunts, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, introduced her to her family’s genealogy report. McElroy has visited cemeteries surrounding St. John the Baptist Church, St. Mary, St. Michael’s and beyond, taking etchings of tombstones and gravesites. She is up to four binders of history on the Keller family alone, and she looks forward to sharing her research with members of the community while planning a reunion.
For more information, contact McElroy at Hattie3418@att.net