I’ve talked about my Landry grandfather many times. Of course, I have. I’ve written over 450 posts over the past eight years. Once a week, every week, through sickness and health. I should go ahead and skip a week just to get it over with. There is a bit of pressure I put on myself to keep it going uninterrupted. Can you feel the stress and concern in my writing? I hope not. I was mostly kidding about that. It’s more enjoyment than work.
Here is a photo of my grandfather and his brothers. I’ve shared a similar grouping before, but it was missing the oldest brother Elie. He is the one on the far left. I got it from a photo of him with his wife Gussie Parker and their son Joseph Sylvester Landry. It’s a very blurry photo and I spent a bit of time working on it from time to time. It’s not as good as the other photos, but those other photos were better quality. I’m thinking that it was taken in 1903 when their son Joseph was a toddler.
Part of my motivation was a cousin Katherine who I discovered through a DNA matching website. I didn’t know what the connection was when I first saw her name on my list. But she was a strong match. I had as much common DNA with her as what I shared with first cousins of my parents. Who was she? I sent her messages at first, but she didn’t respond. (Contrary to popular belief, not all Landrys are nice people. Her experiences with her Landry people were not pleasant. We’ll fix that!) Her tree showed Joseph Stalin Landry, but I didn’t know anyone with that name.
Then I watched the video that my dad made with cousin Sis. Her given name was Naomi Landry and she was the oldest daughter of Pee Paw’s brother Louis. In the video Sis talked about all of the siblings of that family. First, she started with their parents Alcide Landry and Celest Leveque, then went on to talk about all of their children and their families. The oldest in the family was Lily Landry who was born in 1870 in Brusly, Louisiana. That’s where the oldest children were born. Sometime in the 1880’s the family moved to Westlake to work with the railroad. Lily did not have a family, because she died when she was still a teenager.
The next child was Elie, who had little Joseph with his wife Gussie. When Sis talked about this family in that amazing video, she talked about a daughter named “Cheryl K.” That matched the tree that cousin Katherine had. Her “Joseph Stalin” was our Joseph Sylvester! No wonder she is such a strong DNA match – she’s a second cousin. Her family group lost touch with our Landry family group because Elie died at a young age in 1913 in a railroad yard accident. He was crushed between two rail cars. One of the brothers was with him when he died. After that death, there was less and less contact with the Landry family through the years. A visit here, a postcard there, then it all stopped. Now we have started to reconnect.
That is a very different story than the next son in line had. Sebastien married his first cousin Marie Manette Landry in 1902. In 1904 Marie Manette gave birth to a little daughter who was also called Marie Manette. But the older Marie Manette died from complications. After that happened Sebastien and his daughter went back to live with Alcide and Celeste. So little Marie Manette was almost like a younger sister to Sebastien’s younger brothers. Those families have remained close.
After Sebastien was Louis. He was the father of Sis and five other children. Like the family I grew up in, there were three boys and three girls. His wife was Clemence Babin, who was the half-sister of Marie Manette Landry. Clem was also his second cousin through the Landry family. At least he wasn’t like the next brother, who married somebody with the same last name! Joe married Azema Landry. They were only 3rd cousins through the Hebert name. They also shared common Landry ancestors. Uncle Joe and Aunt Zim did not have any children.
There were three other sons born to Alcide and Celeste, but they didn’t live very long. I’m not sure of their ages when they died. None of them lived to the age of 10. Their names were Sam (1879 – twin of Louis), Sam (1882), and Alcide (1885). The next child born was Marie Therese. She lived only to the age of 20 and she did not have any children. And then, finally, at the age of 43 Marie Celeste Leveque Landry gave birth to her tenth and final child. That would be my Pee Paw! Robert Joseph Landry, who went by Bob, Rob or Pappy, was born on January 9, 1893, in Westlake, Louisiana.
He would go on to marry my grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau. Erie’s mother was a Landry and Rob’s first cousin! So three of the brothers married Landry cousins at the first or second cousin level. Another one married another Landry who was a little more distantly related. I don’t know about the wife of Elie, Gussie Parker. I haven’t been able to find anything about her ancestry. But it wouldn’t surprise me if she was related to the family.
Then again, he may have been an early adopter of the practice of marrying outside the family. There are still more family mysteries to discover.