Unfortunately, the 1850 census that I have is the free census; it does not include slaves, so I can't help you find out which Thibodeaux may have owned slaves. This population supposedly includes all free people, but I don't know how complete it would be for free people of color.
I couldn't find any Gerards either. I searched for Gerard, Gerrard, Jerard, and Jerrard. There are a few Gilards, and the following are names which could possibly be Gerards mispelled or before the name changed:
Name Age/Sex Occ. Real Estate
Giraud Baptiste 33M Planter 2500 b in La
Giraud Euphemie 34F born in La, can't read
Giraud Alexandre 13M b in La; attends school
Giroir Onezime 50M Planter 1600 La
Giroir Odeline 43F La
Girourd Celeste 57F Mulatto (living w/below)
Chichong Ordeline 22M Mulatto
It's possible that your Joseph and Elena weren't born in 1850. You may want to start with the 1870 or 1880 census and work backwards. It should list freed slaves also.
If there is anything else I can do, please let me know.
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