The French Connection

Quiz:

  1. In which U.S. State did the Casbons first settle and where did they come from?
  2. What year is the earliest U.S. Census with the surname Casbon?
  3. What is the first U.S. military conflict for which there are service records of a Casbon family member?

Answers:

1. The U.S. State with the earliest records of the Casbon name is Louisiana. Today Louisiana has the second highest number of individuals with the Casbon surname after Indiana.[1] A few of Jesse Casbon’s (1843—1934; son of Thomas Casbon, 1803—1888) descendants now live in Louisiana. Otherwise, the remainder of the Louisiana Casbons are not related to the “Indiana Casbons,” and their ancestors almost certainly did not originate in England.

Many of the given names for this family, especially in early records, are French in origin. It is possible that the family migrated to Louisiana from Acadia, which was the name given to portions of the Canadian maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) by French settlers in the 1600s.[2] In 1755, the British began to expel the Acadians from their homeland in Canada, and they were dispersed to a variety of locations, including France, Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the American east coast.[3] Gradually, many of them resettled in Louisiana, which had originally been a French Colony, and in 1763 became a possession of Spain following the Seven Years’ War.[4] This became part of the United States in 1803 with the signing of the Louisiana Purchase.[5] In Louisiana, the term Acadian was shortened to Cajun, referring to the descendants of the original Acadians.[6]

It’s also possible that the Louisiana Casbons have Creole origins, which refers to those who were native-born in Louisiana. This originally referred to descendants of French settlers but also “came to be applied to African-descended slaves and Native Americans who were born in Louisiana.”[7]

The 1900 U.S. Census has a record for Francois Casbon, born 1825 in Louisiana.[8] His father’s birthplace is recorded as France, so it’s also possible that some or all of the first Louisiana Casbons migrated directly from France in the late 18th or early 19th century.

I don’t know which of these origins best describes the Casbons of Louisiana. Hopefully this knowledge has been passed down through the generations for the benefit of present-day family members.

Like those of us with English roots, it’s possible that the name has changed over time. There are records for similar French surnames, such as Cassabon, Casabonne and Casbonne.

2. The 1820 U.S. Census has an entry for “Bte [Baptiste] Casbon,” whose age was between 16 and 25 years.[9] This is the earlies census record I have found with the Casbon surname.

Bte Casbon 1820 Louisiana census
Detail from 1820 U.S. Census, St. Jacques Parish, Louisiana. The “1” in the first numbered column denotes a free white male under age 10; the “1” in the 4th numbered column denotes a free white male age 16-25; the “1 in the 9th numbered column denotes a free white female age 16-25. The 16th through 19th numbered columns show numbers of males slaves of different ages; columns 20 through 23 show numbers of female slaves; these are followed by numbers for free male and female “colored persons.”[10] (Click on image to enlarge)

There may be earlier census records with variant spellings of the name, but without more information, such as birth and marriage records, I can’t tell if they are related.

3. Corporal Bte [Baptiste] Casbon is recorded as a member of Colonel Landry’s 6th Louisiana Militia regiment in the War of 1812.[11]

Bte Casbon War of 1812 index card
Index card of Corporal Bte Casbon, War of 1812. (Click on image to enlarge)

Corporal Casbon is listed in the rosters of those who fought in the New Orleans Campaign, and he very likely participated in the Battle of New Orleans, January 1815, led by Major General Andrew Jackson.[12]

Is this the same Bte Casbon as the 1820 census? He might be, depending on his age. Since the census only gives his age as 16-25, he could have been anywhere from 8 to 17 years old in 1812, and 11 to 20 when the war ended in 1815. If he was at the older end of this range, it might be possible, though unlikely, that he achieved the rank of Corporal by the age of 20.

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This is only a brief introduction to the Louisiana Casbons. They have not been the focus of my research, but I wanted to mention them in the blog because they also have a story worth preserving. Hopefully a member of that family is doing research or will be motivated to do so.

[1] “Casbon Surname Meaning & Statistics,” United States, Forebears (http://forebears.io/surnames/casbon : accessed 8 February 2017).
[2] “History of the Acadians,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 31 Jan 17, 23:42.
[3] “From Acadian to Cajun,” Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana (n.d.), National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/jela/learn/historyculture/from-acadian-to-cajun.htm : accessed 8 February 2017).
[4] “History of Louisiana,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 8 Feb 2017, 12:28.
[5] “Louisiana Purchase, 1803,” Office of The Historian (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/louisiana-purchase : accessed 9 February 2017).
[6] “Tracing Your Family’s Roots,” Ensemble Encore: The Acadian Memorial Archive (http://www.acadianmemorial.org/ensemble_encore2/cajunroots.htm : accessed 8 February 2017).
[7] “Louisiana Creole people,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 9 Feb 2017, 00:22.
[8] 1900 United States Census, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, Ward 3; p. 265 (stamped), side B, dwelling 328, family 321, Francois Casbon;database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 6 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623.
[9] “United States Census, 1820,” St Jacques Parish, Louisiana, p. 381 (stamped), line 6, Bte Casbon; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLP-VMX : accessed 9 February 2017); citing p. 384, NARA microfilm publication M33, roll 30; FHL microfilm 181,356.
[10] “1820 United States Census,” Wikipedia (accessed 9 February 2017), rev. 15 Jan 2017, 21:05.
[11] United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, Bte Casban; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 7 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M602, roll 36; FHL microfilm 882,554.
[12], Battle of New Orleans, War of 1812 American Muster and Troop Roster List (N.p.: n.p., n.d.), unpaginated, 41st page, PDF brochure, National Park Service, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (https://www.nps.gov/jela/learn/historyculture/upload/Battle-of-New-Orleans-Muster-Lists-final-copy-01062015.pdf : accessed 9 February 2017).
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5 thoughts on “The French Connection

  1. In my first blog post, and the “About” page, I state that the blog is about “those who share Casbon and related surnames” including those who may not be related. There are a few reasons I’ve chosen to go this route. 1. Our surname is pretty rare, and I suppose that means that even if we’re not related, there’s still a common thread of sorts. 2. In the course of researching my surname, I’ve invariably come across records for the other families who are not related but share the surname. Sometimes I’ve had to do a fair amount of research in order to determine whether or not they were related. It would be a waste to toss out that research. 3. There is a fairly active Casbon family facebook page that has members from unrelated families with the same surname. In starting the blog I didn’t want anyone to feel left out. Also, I didn’t want to limit my readership to those with blood relations. 4. Single surname studies is an established discipline. Check out the Guild of One-Name Studies at http://one-name.org/. By the way, the Louisiana Casbons aren’t the only group I’ve written about that aren’t related. I haven’t found any connection between the group I call the Peterborough Casbons and my group, the Meldreth Casbons. Both families stem from the Cambridgeshire area, but if there is a connection, it goes farther back in history than what I can connect with records. BTW, you might want to check out your surname at http://forebears.io/surnames. It looks like your surname is even rarer than mine. This page also shows closely related surnames. Thanks as always for the thoughtful comment!

    Liked by 1 person

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