W. T. Booksh, V. A. Booksh, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Wilton Tisdale Booksh Sr. and Vera Armelle Booksh
Easter Sunday 1944
Who am I and 
Why am I writing this blog?

I am the great granddaughter of Arabella Maria “Belle” Tisdale through her youngest son, Wilton Tisdale Booksh Sr. In this photo taken Easter Sunday 1944, I am sitting next to him on the porch of our house in Algiers, which is the part of New Orleans on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.

I was born in New Orleans several years after Belle died, but family stories and photos always made me feel like I knew her. I was fortunate to be able to sit down and look at the old photo albums with Grandpa and my great aunt and listen to stories about the family.

My Grandpa Booksh built his own camera about 1900 and loved taking pictures. He passed his love of photography on to me. I do a program on Dating Old Photographs using many of the Tisdale and Booksh photos. (See the Dating Photographs page on this blog for the program handout. I also enjoy art, archaeology, history, and hiking. Oh, yes, and family history.

I was transplanted over fifty years ago from New Orleans to the sandy shores of the Indian River Lagoon where my husband was involved in the space program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I enjoyed sinking my roots into the history of the Space Coast and was a member of the Brevard County Historical Commission for many years. I was photo editor for their History of Brevard County, Volume 1 and 2, by Jerrell Shofner and edited and wrote for Volume 3: Photographic Memories. I am also active in the Indian River Anthropological Society and participated in several excavations. Currently I am Education Chairman of the Brevard Genealogical Society.

In 1988 when the National Genealogical Society held their annual conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, I drove up from Merritt Island to take Mama to the conference. She attended sessions on Louisiana and Mississippi research and I attended computer-related sessions in preparation for putting all her information into a family tree database. Needless to say, I was soon hooked on genealogy. It wasn't until last year that I found a small book titled "My Personal History and Family Record" among some old scrapbooks. It was given to me by Mama and Daddy in April 1952 and is filled out in blue ink using my new Schaefer fountain pen. So I have been doing genealogy a lot longer than I thought.

Mama's family had lots of stories. In fact we said that if the Begues had a motto, it would have been, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” I did a book on those stories three years ago, Mama Said: The Mostly True Story of the Begue Family of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is available at Amazon.com.

Now I'm working on this blog about the Tisdale Booksh family branch with plans to turn it into a book. It's been a fascinating research journey, made even more interesting by the letters, documents, and photos that Great Grandma Belle left in the old trunk. There are 34 original documents and 41 photocopies ranging from 1842 to 1929. There are also uncounted photographs and newspaper clippings. My plan is to post one letter or document transcription every few weeks. I will include photos of writers, recipients, and people mentioned with background information on the content of the letter plus research on what was going on in New Orleans and Baton Rouge at the time. While aimed mainly at our many cousins, I think anyone who enjoys New Orleans and Louisiana history will find something of interest.

Please start with Who was BelleTisdale? posted August 18, 2014 to find out more about my great grandma, Arabella Maria Tisdale.
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