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Georgia Ancestors

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elcome to the Georgia Ancestors page, where we present records and resources for GA research. We hope you find some great resources here!
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Join Lowcountry Africana ~ Unearthing Treasures: Tracing African American Ancestors at the South Carolina Historical Society

Benseman Bible

Please join Lowcountry Africana for a very special seminar at the South Carolina Historical Society, "Unearthing Treasures: Tracing Your African American Ancestors at the South Carolina Historical Society" on Saturday, November 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What's special about this seminar is that seminar content will be customized to meet attendees' research interests and research experience. We will also work with registrants ahead of the seminar, to identify records at the South Carolina Historical Society that may be helpful for their research.

We will spend the morning learning how to decipher meaning from plantation journals, maps, plats and photographs. After lunch, the remainder of the seminar will be spent conducting hands-on archival research with assistance from seminar leaders and archivists.

We are excited to be able to offer such a quality research experience in a free seminar. We hope you will join us to explore the stellar collections at the South Carolina Historical Society!

The seminar is FREE. Lunch is $10. Space is limited to 30 participants so please reserve now! To register, please call Virginia Ellison at 843-723-3225 ext. 11.

Seminar Flyer With Logos
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Searching Online Records for Georgia? Don’t Forget These Valuable Resources!

FamilySearch Georgia Collections (current to Feb 2013)

Title

Records

Last Updated

Georgia, Andersonville Prison Records, 1862-1865 Browse Images 8 Nov 2012
Georgia, Births and Christenings, 1754-1960 9,885 9 Mar 2012
Georgia, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 1,776,643 21 Apr 2012
Georgia, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 1,613 21 Apr 2012
Georgia, Death Index, 1933-1998 2,701,430 28 Sep 2011
Georgia, Deaths, 1914-1927 305,880 28 Mar 2010
Georgia, Deaths, 1928-1930 123,419 5 Nov 2010
Georgia, Headright and Bounty Land Records, 1783-1909 Browse Images 7 Sep 2012
Georgia, Marriages, 1808-1967 1,157,102 26 Mar 2012
Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1975 Browse Images 8 Nov 2012
Georgia, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1942 173,989 5 Mar 2012

Georgia Message Boards ~ Ancestry.com

Message boards or forums are a great place to engage with others researching in our area of interest.

AfriGeneas States Research Forum

You can post your GA-specific queries here!

AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

This board is reserved for discussion of the Enslavement Period, slave genealogy, documents pertaining to slavery, and techniques for finding the last slaveowner and the first slave ancestor.

Free Persons of Color (FPOC) Forum

This is the hosted message board of the Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware website. This is the place to discuss issues pertaining to ancestors who were either born free or emancipated prior to the Civil War.

Digital Library of Georgia

The Digital Library of Georgia connects users to a million digital objects in more than 200 collections from 60 institutions and 100 government agencies. Notable Collections:
  • Vanishing Georgia Historically significant photographs of people, places, and structures from Georgia's past from the Vanishing Georgia Collection at the Georgia Archives
  • African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library System Over 1000 funeral programs of African Americans dating from 1933 to 2008 (with the bulk of the collection beginning in the 1960s), the majority of which are from services held in the Augusta, Georgia area
  • Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842 Over 2,000 documents and images on the history of Native Americans in the Southeastern U.S., letters, legal proceedings, military orders, and more from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Museum of the Cherokee, Tennessee State Library & Archives, the Tennessee State Museum, Hoskins Special Collections Library, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Frank H. McClung Museum, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Georgia Historic Newspapers Searchable issues of three important historic Georgia newspapers, the Cherokee Phoenix, the Dublin Post, and the Colored Tribune from the microfilm holdings of the Georgia Newspaper Project
  • South Georgia Historic Newspapers The South Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive spans the years 1845-1922 and includes newspapers printed in Albany, Americus, Bainbridge, Brunswick, Cuthbert, Sumter, Thomasville, Tifton, Valdosta and Waycross.
  • Georgia Historic Books
  • Maps ~ Historical Maps, Sanborn Maps, Topographic Maps, City Maps

Georgia’s Virtual Vault: Digital Treasures from the Georgia Archives

This is your portal to some of Georgia's most important historical documents, from 1733 to the present. The Virtual Vault provides virtual access to historic Georgia manuscripts, photographs, maps, and government records housed in the state archives. Notable collections:
  • Chatham County Deed Books
  • Colonial Will Books
  • Colonial Wills
  • Georgia Death Certificates
  • Georgia Non-Indexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930
  • Headright and Bounty Plats
  • Historic Maps
  • Marriage Records from Microfilm
  • Militia Enrollment Lists, 1864

The Georgia GenWeb Project

A group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county in the State of Georgia. This Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone.

Genwed.com ~ Marriage Records Online

Extensive transcriptions of marriage and Bible records

The Tombstone Transcription Project ~ Georgia

The purpose of this project is to organize volunteers who will work together to create a lasting tribute to Georgia ancestors. Coordinators transcribe tombstone inscriptions and archive that work for the future in a form easily accessible to all. Their goal is to record tombstone inscriptions now---before they are lost forever to the winds and the rains. You can volunteer to help with this important effort.

What Are Your Favorite Georgia Resources?

Which GA resources do YOU recommend? Please add a comment with your favorites!
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Documenting Marriages in Georgia

If you do not know the actual marriage date for an ancestor, an index to Georgia marriages is available on FamilySearch.org: Georgia Marriages 1808-1967. Click on “Learn More” to understand more about this collection at FamilySearch.org (See image below). It is possible that not all records will show if they either fall within privacy restrictions or if only partial records have been indexed.

“Learn More” will take you to an article on the Research Wiki which will give you more insight about the following:

  • Record types which were indexed
  • How to use the marriage record
  • What the record contains
  • Counties included in the collection, and more!

Searching the Collection on FamilySearch:

If your ancestor may have been married between 1808 and 1967, try to locate the index to the record first. Enter the least amount of information as possible at first. Remember that sometimes an ancestor may not be listed by his or her full given name. You may be more successful searching using only the surnames of the couple.

FamilySearch Marriage Index 1

In the following example, we searched using the surname of the spouses (Jones and Jackson)

This helped us to locate the indexed record of Mitcheal Jones and Tilda Jackson when a search for Mitchell Jones and Matilda Jackson proved unsuccessful.

Locating the Original Record:

It is always best to view the original record once you locate the index. Sometimes you may discover more information or discrepancies. The next step would be to order the microfilm which contains the original record.

Since we now know this marriage occurred in Jasper County, Georgia on 29 December 1872, we can search the Family History Library Catalog for vital records. We entered the search terms: Jasper, Georgia:

Next, we selected Georgia, Jasper - Vital Records (6) from the list of results:

From there, we selected Marriage records, 1808-1901, Georgia. Court of Ordinary (Jasper County):

This collection is contained on microfilm. Since the marriage of Mitcheal and Tilda occurred in 1872 in Jasper County, we would need to order film number 158443 which contains marriage records from 1869-1886.

We would next click on film number 158443 and place our order from home. The film would be sent to the nearest family history center or affiliate library for us to view.

Other Marriage Record Collections Online

This is just one way to find a marriage record with very limited details. Other databases exist. The following can be accessed at Ancestry.com:

  • Georgia Marriages, 1699-1944
  • Georgia Marriages to 1850
  • Georgia Marriages, 1851 to 1900
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City Directories As Census Substitutes

 

When I have a challenge researching an ancestor, I always look to see if there is a city directory that exists during the same time my ancestor would have been in a particular area. City directories are a great substitute if your ancestor is missing on a census or if you want to identify your ancestor between census years.  Many Savannah, Georgia city directories from 1866 to 1934 are available on microfilm through the Family History Library Catalog. Savannah, Georgia city directories from 1888 to 1891 are available on Ancestry.

 

If you have identified your ancestor's family group, you may be pleasantly surprised to find them listed in the city directory or you may find a relative mentioned for the first time in the city directory.  During the Jim Crow Era, African Americans were often listed in a separate section in the directory. 

 

Sometimes during the 1900's, family members moved from the rural areas to escape the violence.  Even though they were part of the Great Migration, they passed through the urban areas and may be found in the city directories. 

 

Some of the information that I have discovered in city directories include:

ñ  ancestors missing on the census

ñ  ancestors who moved back and forth from the North to the South or from a rural area to the city

ñ  ancestors occupation

ñ  head of household in a given year

 

If your ancestor owned a business, was a member of the clergy, or was a school administrator, be sure to check the name of the organization or business to find a listing.  Look for city directories in local libraries, historical and genealogical societies, and archives. 

 

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Ideas for Documenting Georgia Deaths

 

A person's death is one of the easiest events you can document.  It is sometimes so easy that we do not look for more than one resource.  Being more thorough may lead you to discovering more about your ancestor. 

If you have accepted one record at face value, go back and identify more possibilities that may exist.  The following may be some of the rewards awaiting you:

ñ  discovering contradictions exist to information we have already gleaned

ñ  finding names of extended family members or parents of an ancestor

ñ  discovering a place of birth, location of homestead, or family cemetery 

 

The following resources may be useful when researching ancestors who died in Georgia:

 

1.      U. S. Social Security Death Index: If you find your ancestor listed in the U. S. Social Security Death Index, order the original application.  This may provide helpful clues to:

ñ  Ancestor's full name

ñ  A female ancestor's maiden name and name of husband

ñ  Age, date of birth, and birth place of an ancestor

ñ  Parents of your ancestor (full names), Ancestor's occupation

See “Using Social Security Application forms for Genealogy” to learn more. 

 

2.      Funeral Programs:  Many African Americans collect funeral programs.  Funeral programs are very common in the family because they were a substitute for newspaper obituaries during a time when these announcements were not included for African Americans.  Find out who has a funeral program collection in your family.

 

3.      Family Cemetery: Visit the family cemetery to see who may be buried alongside your ancestor. Even if you have done this once, after you have become familiar with family groups on census records, you may find out you overlooked someone the first time. After extensive census research, I was able to recognize most of the names and connections between people buried in an old church cemetery. 

 

4.      Find A Grave:  Study the cemeteries and memorials listed in the county where your ancestor lived in Georgia.  This is a great way to learn the names of cemeteries and those interred. Perhaps a memorial would provide clues.  Take the time to contribute your ancestor's biography to this database.  You never know who may find you and connect.

 

5.      Georgia Deaths: (1915-1927) and (1928-1930) These free collections at FamilySearch will link to the actual death certificate. 

 

6.      Georgia Deaths (1919-1998): This Ancestry database is an index. Order the death certificates from the Georgia Department of Public Health

 

7.      Funeral Homes:  Use the death certificate to identify the funeral home that took care of your ancestor.  Contact the funeral home to find more clues about your ancestor's family, insurance, and finances. 

 

8.      County Library Obituary Indexes:  Newspaper obituaries may reveal information about your ancestor. Obituaries from historic newspapers sometimes reveal more information than you would expect.  Contact the county library to see if your ancestor is listed in a newspaper obituary index.  For example, the Savannah Morning News Obituary Index (1913-1926 & 1987-1996) is available through Live Oak Public Library.

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Free Research Assistance for Finding Georgia Ancestors

 

We are continuing to point out free resources that will help you in your quest to learn more about your Georgia ancestors.  FamilySearch Wiki and FamilySearch Forums were first released in 2008, and are great places to find resources and assistance.

The FamilySearch Wiki article for Georgia links to African American resources for Georgia:

There are a few resources linked here. Several are already linked on Lowcountry Africana.  Be sure to watch for new resources. The following FamilySearch Wiki article on African American Research has many more useful resources linked, and is constantly updated by members of the genealogy community:

You can also search topics on the Wiki. For example, “Georgia in the Civil War” is an article about the local history during the Civil War, military units, pension records, cemetery records, and links to access records which are available:

Now let's suppose you do not find the answer to your question on the Wiki.  I suggest you review what you know about your ancestor and post your question at FamilySearch Forums where you can receive free research assistance. Be sure to register for a FamilySearch Account if do not have one.  Then, be sure to validate that account in an email that will be sent after you register.  This will ensure that you will receive a reply by email to the questions you post at FamilySearch Forums.

You will then be able to post your research questions about your Georgia ancestors in the Southern States section.  Click “New Thread” to post your question. Be sure you are logged in. Ask only one question at a time and be sure to provide any of the details that you have such as:

ñ  Name of ancestor

ñ  Name of spouse

ñ  Place of birth

ñ  Birth date

ñ  Parent's names

ñ  Place of death

ñ  Places lived

ñ  Death date

 

Since 2008, every person except one that I referred to the Forums has been able to receive an answer to the research question they posted as far as I can tell. In the next article we will discuss documenting deaths in Georgia and online resources available.

Happy Hunting!

Robin

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Introducing You to Georgia and the FamilySearch Wiki

Whenever I run out of historical resources to document ancestors, I turn to the FamilySearch Wiki for fresh ideas.  The FamilySearch Wiki is an encyclopedia of genealogical resources shared by people like you and me.  Genealogists and family historians are sharing what they know about history and resources making it a wonderful place to look first for information. I wanted to be sure to introduce you to the articles for the state of Georgia on the Wiki:

You will need to be certain about the county where your ancestor lived and time period he or she lived there.  Creating a timeline of your ancestor's life will be very helpful.

As you can see, there is a list of topics on the left which link to resources, and each each county is listed.  I suggest you check the resources for the county where your ancestor lived to determine which historical documentation exists that was generated during the lifetime of your ancestor.

Let's take a look at DeKalb County:

Notice the sections: History, Parent County, Boundary Changes, and Record Loss.  Comparing your ancestor's timeline to the information in this section will help you save a lot of wasted time. Have you ever searched for an ancestor in a particular county and never found him or her?  Well perhaps there was a boundary change and the county during a certain time period did not exist yet or perhaps it became part of another county.  Your ancestors never moved, but the county name changed. 

Some reasons for not being able to find documentation could be:

ñ  Record loss

ñ  Boundary changes

ñ  Records are held in parent county

Some Wiki articles are still being developed.  Let's work together to add the information you find to the Wiki.  I invite you to become a contributor, or share your findings with me in the comments section of any Georgia article.  Be sure to check the link for the Family History Library Catalog at the bottom of each Georgia County article.  You may find resources on microfilm which are not available online yet.  Then you can contact your local FamilySearch Center to order and view the film.

 In the next article, we will discuss the topic, African Americans, in the topics section.

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Lowcountry Africana Welcomes Robin Foster as Coordinator of Georgia Records

 

Lowcountry Africana is pleased and excited to welcome Robin Foster as Coordinator of Georgia records. In her new role at LCA, Robin will share resources and advice for tracing African American ancestors in Georgia. 

Robin is well-known for her tireless work in documenting, and helping others to find, South Carolina ancestors. She coordinates the SC Genealogy Research Community group on Facebook, is the Columbia Ethnic Community Examiner, is a Co-host of the Nurturing Our Roots broadcast on Blog Talk Radio, is the author behind the South Carolina African Americans page on the FamilySearch Wiki, and is the author of the blogs About Our Freedom and Over Troubled Water.

Robin is an expert on the free resources available on the new FamilySearch website and has contributed two webinars to the FamilySearch Learning Center. They are:

The Most Overlooked Record Types in South Carolina
 
Going Social With Genealogy
 
We are delighted that Robin will be applying her expertise to sharing resources for finding Georgia ancestors. She will coordinate the Georgia Ancestors page on LCA.
 
Are you searching for Georgia ancestors? If so please be sure to bookmark Robin's Georgia Ancestors page and check back often! Happy Ancestor Hunting from the crew at Lowcountry Africana!
 
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New at Georgia's Virtual Vault: Unindexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930

 

Georgia Non-Indexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930

     The Georgia State Archives has added unindexed Death Certificates to Georgia's Virtual Vault. This Death Certificate search system is provided as an interim solution until the records for 1928-1930 can be indexed and added to the Death Certificate Collection. Many users have asked for these records, so The Georgia State Archives is providing them with scanned images of the original Vital Records index.
 
     While you are there, be sure to check out these other valuable collections at Georgia's Virtual Vault: 
 
 
     Georgia's Virtual Vault is an extraordinary resource for genealogy research in Georgia. We hope you find some great new leads there!
 
Happy Ancestor Hunting from LCA!
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Luckie Takes Flight

Luckie Takes Flight
 
     Today we share the sad news that Luckie Daniels, Coordinator of Georgia Records, will be leaving us. It is for happy reasons, though: she has launched the Carnival of African American Genealogy and the A Friend of Friends website. Below is a bit of information about each of Luckie's new creations.
 
The Carnival of African American Genealogy
 
     A blog carnival comes together when a number of bloggers write about a specific theme. The Carnival of African American Genealogy is an ongoing series of African American themed blog entries which will explore African American genealogy, history and culture. The theme of the first edition of CoAAG, which debuted Friday, March 19, was Restore My Name - Slave records and Genealogy Research.  It was a great success, 35 geneabloggers responded with heartfelt entries, and shared many new records. 
 
A Friend of Friends Website
     
 
     The website A Friend of Friends is where the records shared for the Carnival of African American Genealogy will reside. Luckie Daniels and Sandra Taliafero, Co-Conductors of the website, will continue to gather records for the website, and will continue to post records shared by Afof readers and CoAAG carnival participants.
 
 
 
     As an all-volunteer organization, Lowcountry Africana is blessed by those who come and bring stones to this pile, and sad when other pursuits take them away.
 
     What Luckie brought to Lowcountry Africana will be enduring - her enthusiasm, heart and soul in the quest to restore the legacies of the Ancestors will abide with us. We are forever grateful to Luckie for bringing such magic to Lowcountry Africana, and look forward to contributing to the Carnival of African American Genealogy and the A Friend of Friends website. 
 
     There is so much work to be done to restore the legacy of the Ancestors and the more places records appear on the Internet, the better the chances that researchers will find them. We are sad for Luckie's departure but happy that the Carnival of African American Genealogy and the A Friend of Friends website are born!
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