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How Tax Records Help the Genealogist
The tax digests in any given county in the State of Georgia provides essential data to the researcher as it lists all of the parcels of land which the person owned and in what counties. In Georgia, one can easily define the acquisition of properties from lotteries and the approximate date simply by noting the amount of acreage in the tax record. For example, the 1805 and 1807 land lotteries offered 202-1/2 acres in Baldwin and Wilkinson Counties; and 490 acres in Wayne County (1805). During 1820: Appling (490), Early (250); Gwinnett (250); Habersham (250) (490); Hall (250); Irwin (490); Rabun (490)(250) and Walton (250). The 1827 Land Lottery gave 202-1/2 acres in Carroll, Coweta, Lee, Muscogee and Troup. The 1832 lottery consisted of 202-1/2 acres in Cass (now Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding and Union Counties. These are all Indian lands belonging to the Creeks and Cherokees. There was also a lottery encompassing North Georgia lands formerly owned by the Cherokees where people drew for 40-acre gold lots and one can assume the occupation was "gold miner". The best route to information is to first search the lottery records, then the tax digests in specific counties. In many instances, the names of waterways and creeks are provided, also the type of timber on the land, and the name of the adjoining landowner (if there was one). The digests were not indexed and are listed by districts. It is a good idea to search through the time period during which the families resided in that county. In the back of each book is a section of "Defaulters". That is important in discerning whether the family had moved on, or died. A good rule of thumb is that any person listed as a defaulter who was 60+ years of age, probably died in that county. A thorough study of the tax digests becomes essential especially if no other books survived for that county. This is where the tracts of land of each person having the same surname should be compared from one year to the next. For example, John Smith was listed for a number of years. Then, there was an administrator beside his name. (This is the approximate date of his death). Then, following through the years, another persons with the same surname has that exact acreage added to his accounting. This would be an heir, probably the oldest son. A good practice is to make copies of the digest for later comparisons between probable heirs, neighbors and friends. John Smith may appear many times, but how do you know if he is the same John Smith? The answer is to always take notes of the neighbors. Everyone listed in the same district are friends and relatives. It is the community as well as the history of the times!
Daniel Bonnell was Executed for Robbery October 18 1784
Daniel Bonnell was listed as a son of Anthony, Sr. in McCalls Roster of the Revolution, p. 732. Also, Revolutionary War Records of Georgia by Candler, Vol. III: "The State vs. Danie1 Bonnell, the younger. Oct. 12, 1784. A report of the Summary of the Trial. Verdict and Sentence in this case being made and the same duly considered by Council, unanimously advise that the executive authority due interpose, but on the contrary leave the law to its course, which is accordingly resolved and determined upon by the board." The Georgia Gazette dtd 10/21/1784 carried the news that Daniel Bonnell was executed for robbery on Oct. 18,1784. Previous to that, however, Danie1 Ronne1l held public office, having been appointed magistrate for St. Matthews Parish in 1776, Effingham County.
Most Americans have Patriot Ancestors in their Background and Do Not Realize it
Today, with so many young people demonstrating in the streets, I could just bet you that they do not realize that their DNA carries a strong blood line of those ancestors who fought for freedom in this country. A little bit of investigation could disclose some astounding facts from the pen of the patriot applying for the pension. Here is an example: A British soldier stood over the brave body of a Scotsman as he lay wounded on the battle ground. Only a few years earlier his family had emigrated to North Carolina. One day, while Hugh McDonald and his father worked in the fields, they saw an American patrol approaching the house. The father, not wanting to be taken into service, ran into the woods. But young Hugh was persuaded to join the rebels as a drummer boy. Perhaps as the British soldier raised his sword over young Hugh, he thought of these things. As it happens, the soldier changed his mind and let Hugh escape. Those who protest on college campuses and demonstrate through vulgar language, threats and violence need (more than anything) to learn more about themselves, and the struggles of their ancestors to make America free!
The Key to Finding your Ancestors in the Collections of Today Things have certainly changed since the days of searching through dusty libraries and reading unindexed books and microfilm! But with the launching of the internet and establishing genealogical records thereon, the task has just begun! What with burned county records all over America and
immigration records yet to be translated and published, there is so much more to be discovered. While searching my ancestors in the field, I discovered that county clerks frequently took those big ledger books home with them to work on. Sometimes, a person produced a ledger to the court house found stored in the attic. (I request the Mormon church to visit the person and microfilm it). This explains how ledger books find their way to
antique s. There are shops. There are other avenues of discovery, viz: church records. One has to visit the neighborhood where families resided, old churches and graveyards to ascertain what survived and who has possession of the old baptisms, marriages and mortuary records. State Archives also receive church records from donors and place them on microfilm. But one needs to search for it in the floor catalog.
During the 1930s the DAR collected old bible records and donated their books
to the Archives. Regional
libraries contain their own special collections.
Meanwhile, internet collections also vary. Essentially,
Ancestry has digitized those records available at the National Archives; which
includes census, revolutionary war and immigration records. You can also visit
the National Archives online and have access to their digitized records available
to the public. No matter whose
collection one researches, there remains more information to be discovered. It
behooves one to join
more than one genealogy website. Especially if those websites continue to
add more information. After all, there remains a great deal to be added
to the internet collections.
The records of Pioneer Families contains mostly images of old wills,
estates, marriages, some 10,000 traced families, cemeteries, and
my own vast collection of obituaries, notes and books in
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia, all growing collections.
Burke County Wills,Estates, Tax Digests
The land which formed Burke County was ceded to the English by the Creek Treaties of 1733, 1735 and 1736. By an Act of March 15, 1758 the parish of St. George was established. The county was named for Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament who championed the rights of the American colonies. Between 1793 and 1905, the legislature took land from Burke County to help form the new counties of Screven (1793), Jefferson (1796), and Jenkins (1905), and to add area to Richmond County (1841). The county seat of Waynesboro was established in 1794, named after the Revolutionary War hero General. The first will book did not survive. Will Book A, as is included herein, began in 1855; however, the earliest will found in that batch was dated in 1803. Essentially, 1855 and later is more specific to the probate date than to the date in which the wills were signed.
Genealogy Records available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Online Images of Burke County Wills 1803 to 1858
- Allen, Frances (Fanney)
- Anderson, Augustus H.
- Antony, William H. D.
- Archer, Serena
- Attaway, Elijah
- Bearrow, Aaron
- Boyd, Benjamin
- Brack, Benjamin
- Brinson, Lucy
- Brinson, Shepard
- Chance, Henry
- Churchill, Mary
- Evans, Sophia
- Evans, William J.
- Gilstrap, Benjamin
- Green, Jesse P.
- Hampton, James
- Inman, Sophia
- Jones, Abraham
- Jones, Henry P.
- Jones, James W.
- Jones, John M.
- Jones, Seaborn A.
- Lane, Thomas
- Landing, John
- Lasseter, William
- Lipsey, Barbara
- McElmurry, James
- McNatt, Elizabeth
- Merritt, George W.
- Moore, William
- Murphree, William
- Murphree, Wright
- Nasworthy, William
- Osborne, Robert
- Owens, John
- Penrow, William
- Perkins, B. L.
- Perkins, David
- Red, Maria
- Rogers, William
- Sapp, Everet
- Sapp, Mary T.
- Saxon, William
- Scarborough, Amelia
- Shepard, Guthrey
- Skinner, William W.
- Tomlin, Zilpha
- Wallace, William
- Walker, Francis J.
- Walton, Thomas
- Ward, Francis
- Whitehead, John
- Williams, William
Miscellaneous Wills and Estates
- Allen, Elisha A. Estate
- Demero, Raymond
- Hill, Milley, estate
- Jones, Abraham (LWT)
- Lovett, Ann (LWT)(1862)
- Scott, William, estate
Indexes to Probate Records
- Index to Testators
- Annual Returns 1858 to 1868
- 1788 Burke County Entry Takers Returns
- 1788 Presentments to Grand Jury
- 1798 Burke County Tax Digest, First District
- 1798 Burke County Slaveholders, First and Second Districts
- 1798 Slaves in Burke County
- Burke Notes by Jeannette Holland Austin.
Traced Genealogies: Burke County Families