I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. When I was about seven months old, my father re-enlisted in the U.S. Navy. My mother was three months pregnant with my brother, Fred, and we moved to Millington, Tennessee once he got his orders. Fred was born there. I lived the first five years of my life mostly outside of Louisiana. Sometimes, when my dad was overseas on a deployment, my mom would pack up the family and move back to Lafayette. We generally spent this time with her family. When I was four, my youngest brother, Patrick, was born in Lafayette. A few months later, we moved to Norfolk, Virginia. When my dad got his discharge from the Navy, we moved back to Louisiana. Having grown up rarely seeing anyone but my parents and my brother, I had a hard time coping with the dynamics of a larger family. I knew my mother’s brother and sisters, her mother and stepfather, and her father and his girlfriend. I knew very little of my father’s family… and they were so different from what I was accustomed to that I wasn’t sure I liked them. Moreover, I got the impression that the feeling was mutual. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful person… a warm, loving grandmother. The rest of the family I wasn’t too sure about. They spoke Cajun French as their first language. They were loud, brash, and held old-fashioned ideas about many things. My great-grandmother cooked a family dinner every Sunday and we always went. So here are all these people whose behaviors are alien to me, speaking a language I didn't understand, and I have to socialize with them every Sunday. I remember thinking, “Who are these people and how am I related to them?” Around that time, the miniseries "Roots" came out. While I understood that the story was about a family whose ancestors came from Africa and were enslaved in America, the underlying story of genealogy intrigued me. That underlying story stayed with me for a long time. Apparently it intrigued other people in my family because it was during this time that I had two family reunions on my father’s side of the family. One was for the entire Hanks family, my father's maternal grandfather's family. The other was for the children of Willie Brasseaux, my father's paternal grandfather. The Hanks reunion is now held annually, the day before Labor day. The last one is to be held in 2014. When I was a teen, I started asking questions about who my family was, and wrote the information down on huge sheets of drawing paper. I kept them in my portfolio with my artwork. I pulled them out every now and again, but the task of writing anything more than that seemed overwhelming. Then sixteen years ago, I became pregnant. While searching for bargain books at Barnes and Noble, I came across "Our Family Tree: A History of Our Family." It’s essentially a hardcover workbook of blanks to fill in with family information. I bought it, filled out as much as I could, then went searching for more information. I found it in the Lafayette Public Library in the genealogy books. A priest had taken the time to transcribe all the old parish records in various Louisiana churches and published them for the public. I soon ran out of room in my family tree book and started writing things down in a spiral bound notebook. In August 1999, I bought a computer and started searching on the Internet. For me, this has been a labor of love. My daughter is in a similar situation in that her father was in the U.S. Navy when she was younger. Instead of us living with him and moving around, though, she never saw him or his family. He and I separated in 2001 and divorced in 2007. I remarried and my husband adopted her because her biological father and his family all but abandoned her. I have also been shocked by various cousins who have no idea that my mother is their aunt or that I’m their cousin. I want Morgane to know where she has come from. This family tree is dedicated to her. If you find anything wrong with the information presented on this site, please notify me through the email address listed. Please send revisions with references or sources for the information. Requests for information about living persons will only be granted if I know you personally or know that you are related to me. This information has been hidden to protect their privacy.
Victoria L. Elder nee Adria L. Brasseaux
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