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Why you did not Find your Georgia Ancestors
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Sometimes the records are not good enough. For example, the 1820 and 1830 census records of Georgia appear to be incomplete. After viewing the microfilm, one gets the impression that there are illegible entries and missing pages. Of course, tax digests can help us on this, if we can find surviving records and specific dates. Again, in Georgia, there are few surviving tax digests compared to the number of counties. And legibility is always an issue. Marriage records also take a hit due to faded ink on the paper. There may be some visible entries, while a portion of the page is totally faded. A visit to the Forsyth County court house revealed county books where the writing was so dim that the effort to preserve them utterly failed. The method of storage is the culprit. In certain court houses, I discovered file cabinets of original wills destined for cold storage in boxes. In the world of today where there is insufficient room for the old records, one has to learn where the county is storing them. It is often an off-site location, like in Chatham County, which requires a request slip and a wait of several days before they are brought to the court house. My search at the Hancock County Court house found loose bindings and books carelessly thrown about.
Were it not for the microfilming by the LDS Church during the 1950's, much would be lost! Thus, examining the microfilm is your best bet! Or, view records on Georgia Pioneers which digitizes records from microfilm!
The Difficult Issues of Census Records
One would think that everyone got counted by the census taker, but this was not always true. For example, a decision had to be made about the persons who owned houses or farms on county lines. And that decision was which county should obtain the information. Beginning in 1790, practically nothing was established except the name of the head of household. How many William Smith's did you have in the same county from the age of 16 to 26 and what does that tell you? The Georgia 1790 census did not survive, and presumably burned during the War of 1812. The age ranges of the children improve somewhat from 1800 to 1840, however, you are still guessing the names of these children. Therefore, accurate research results do not begin until the 1850 census which lists all members of the household, names, ages, where born. This is discouraging to the genealogist who wishes to dig deeper. That leaves the county records, a much in all genealogical data. Old wills, estate and marriage records are available for viewing on Georgia Pioneers or you can travel to the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, Georgia and examine the microfilm.
How a Historical Past Reveals What Happens Today
You have doubtless heard the expression that "nothing is new under the sun?" Understanding today involves knowing yesterday. The modern age has suffered a re-writing of school history books. This is unfortunate, because the writers were not present at the events, nor alive. That means that the modern version of the past is "opinion" or "propaganda". That leaves the task to us of teaching historical subjects to our children. But this easy for genealogists who researches every detail of the ancestor's lifestyle and the surrounding events, such as immigration and wars. He reads pensions from the Civil War and Revolutionary War, and learns of the movement of troops and details of battle. He appreciates that muskets, sabres and rifles were used to defend the families during war and against the Indians at frontier forts. He follows the ancestors as they took up land grants, drew in the land lotteries, land bounties to settle mountain lands, the movement westward and battles with Indians. He reads civil war diaries and the diaries of white women taken as Indian slaves in the Allegheny Mountains and dragged into villages further westward. And, as the history of each family is discovered, the genealogist shares the factual information with others. More of these stories need to be passed along in families. Lest we forget!
A Good Reason for Genealogists to Study Old Photographs
Finding someone you did not know can be interesting. But are you sure that you did not know them? I was looking through some old black and white photos recently and found the picture of a woman standing next to a rather familiar face. I was related stories of how my great-grandfather Crawford Evans and his wife Mattie once came to live with us. It seems that Mattie engaged me to thread her sewing needle. Almost every family owned a sewing machine which provided clothing and linens for the family. Crawford or "Croft" as he was known, had worked in the Fulton Cotton Mills on Dekalb Avenue in Atlanta. In those days, during the world wars and economic depression, education beyond the third grade was rare. Now, old and declining and Mattie nearly blind, they came to live with family. Remembering the stories helped me to recognize the old people.
Campbell County Genealogy, Old Wills
Campbell County was formed by an act of the Georgia Legislature December 20, 1828 taking land from Carroll, Coweta, DeKalb, and Fayette Counties. During 1832 land from the Cherokee Land Lottery was added, for a total to about 192 square miles. On October 17, 1870 the land lying north of the river was taken along with some of eastern Carroll to form what is now Douglas County. The rest merged with Fulton on January 1, 1932. Campbell County was named in honor of Colonel Duncan G. Campbell. He and James Meriwether negotiated the Indian Springs Treaty in which the Creek Indian land was ceded on February 12, 1825. The County seat was Campbellton until 1870. It was then moved to Fairburn where it remained for the life of the county. The county existed from 1828 to 1931 when it was finally merged into Fulton County.
Campbell County Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Online Images of Campbell County Wills 1833 to 1862
Testators: Abercrombie, Joseph;Barge, Richmond;Beavers, William;Black, Thomas;Bomar, Armsted;Bomar, William; Brazeal, Britton; Brock, John; Camp, Alfred; Camp, Joseph; Camp, Thomas; Childs, Sarah; Clackler, Henry; Clinton, John; Clinton, William;
Coryell, Thomas;Darnell, David;Davenport, Dicey;Demoney, John;
Dillon, Thomas;Doggett, Thomas;Duggan, Jesse;Dunlap, James;English, William;Faulkner, Peter;Gentry, John;Gibson, Clary;Head, Benjamin;Heath, Ebenetus;Hinton, Jacob;Hobgood, Lewis;Howell, Joseph;James, Stephen Sr.; Jones, James;Kolb, Martin;Little, John;Longino, Ruth;Mayfield, Jacob;McClarty, John;McKoy, James;McKoy, Thomas;Menefee, Willis;Miller, Jacob;
Miller, Robert;Morgan, Willis;Parker, John;Paulett, Richard;
Phillips, Levi;Rainey, Thomas;Redwine, John;Roberts, Grant;
Roberts, Wiley;Rowen, Hugh;Rutledge, Albert;Smart, Elisha;
Smith, Sarah;Strawn, Absalom;Thompson, Edmund;Tomberlin, John;
Whitten, Gideon;Wilkerson, Robert;Wilson, John;Winn, Francis;
Wynn, John;Yarbrough, Joshua
Campbell County Will Abstracts (1831-1908)
Indexes to Probate Records
Index to Annual Returns Book B 1843 to 1851
Index to Annual Returns Book D 1854 to 1858
Index to Will Book B 1863 to 1922
Index to Will Book C 1923 to 1933
See how easy it is to view Wills, Estates, Inventories, Returns, Sales online
Traced Genealogies: Campbell County Families