Discovering Lost RecordsThe county clerks kept records of every transaction in the county. That is why researching county records is so important to finding the ancestors, or learning more about them. In this modern age, one does not always find old records at the court house. That is because they have been moved to a storage location. I have found that the employees are not necessarily aware of the existance of old wills, estates, marriages and deeds, much less storage. Luckily, we have microfilmed records, more and more of which are going online. Did you notice that certain counties burned down and the records were lost? Unfortunately, this common experience affects all genealogists. However, I have discovered old court house ledgers in antique shops! How did they get there? Why, they were found in an attic somewhere. It was sometimes common practice for the clerk to take his ledgers home to finish his work. How will we ever get to see these ledgers? The answer for now is the internet. This is the place where unexpected information is posted. Otherwise, while out on a field trip, it is a good idea to question neighbors and keep an eye out for a good find!
Your Ancestors Left the Answer. Did you Find it?If you did not locate a will or estate which spelled everything out for you, then next place to look is in county minute books. The reason is to search for personal notations of activities occurring in the community. Typically, the last will and testament itself was not copied into the minute book; however, frequent entries appear announcing that it was filed with the clerk. If there is a notation, that proves that one existed. Court houses kept original wills in the record room, or vault, or even the basement along with other other documents. It is nice to have both the original and the copy which the clerk made in the will book. However, most originals were lost. We reply upon the clerk's copy (in his own hand-writing, with misspelled words, etc.). Unfortunatley, later on, a fire may have destroyed the clerk's records. One is inclined to think that triviality does not cook the "meat" of the genealogy, but it does insomuch as it is the finer details which fill in the gaps. We all have questions concerning dates, places and why. Despite the fact of court houses fires and such losses, there are other means in discovering facts from family traditions. Did you notice the odd first names of some children? These usually appeared after the first child was named and were the maiden names of the mother or grandmother. Traditionally, the first child was given the name of both grandparents of the couple. After that, the names of aunts and uncles were included. Oftentimes, certain names make us suspicious that a child belongs to a particularly family. I have one family of five children where all of the boys were given family (surnames) names. After much frustration, I used those names to the families with those surnames (in the same county). The result was very interesting. One family name was a Revolutionary soldier who resided in Abbeville, S. C. simultaneously with my kin, later traveling to Georgia and settling in the same county as my ancestor. Another family name given a child (in this same family) belonged to another family from Abbeville. And those families also came to Georgia. Some states such as South Carolina are practically devoid of marriage records. That is because there was no legislation requiring that marriages be put into the public records. My conclusion was that two of my (likely) ancestors married into these families, and were probably the missing maiden names of the grandmothers. The point being that each family had its own family ties, and stories. It is up to us to find them.
" You Fought Many Battles and you are Only Sixteen Years old!"Joel Darcey was only fourteen years old when he was sent to the mill of Colonel John Twiggs in Burke County (now Jefferson)for the purpose of having some corn ground when suddenly he was taken by Tories and carried off to Savannah where he was put in prison and kept by the British until January or February of 1779. Apparently, he and another man by the name of Moore escaped, lashing in the woods by day, traveling by night, until they came to Hudson Ferry on the Savannah River. By now both men were hungry and starving. Darcey saw a familiar face, man which he knew to be a man from Glynn County. This man told Captain Stephen Johnson the identify of Joel Darcey and had him sent across the river to be fed. Therefore Darcey proceeded to Augusta where he joined the command of Colonel John Twiggs. When summer arrived, Colonel Twiggs had word that the British had established a store on the Ogeechee branch about twenty miles from Savannah for the purpose of trading with the Indians and Tories. This store was guarded by a British sergeant and twelve men. Twiggs took Capt. David Imanuel, William Young, Joel Darvey and about thirty other men on horseback to the Ogeechee River and captured the twelve men. Then, retreated up river about four miles to the plantation of Mr. Butler where they took their prisoners. About 2 o'clock on the same day were attacked at the Butler plantation by Captain Muller and Lt. Swanton with thirty-nine men. Therefore, they returned to a post on Beach Island, about 120 miles from the store. Colonel Twiggs removed his family from Burke County to Virginia and Colonel Elijah Clarke took command on Tiger River, South Carolina during September of 1781 and proceeded to attack Colonel Brown in Augusta. After being in battle throughout the day, Darcey went to visit his mother for several house. She had removed from Burke County to Butler Creek which was about six miles from Augusta. She said to him, "My son, you have been in many battles, and you are sixteen years old this very day." Joel Darcey had a brother, Joseph Darcey, who was captured by the Tories on Brushy Creek and carried to Charleston, South Carolina where he died on a prison ship in 1780 or 1781. Another brother, James Darcey, a Lieutenant, was drafted into the war and was stationed in Savannah. After the war, Joel Darcey settled in Decatur County.
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Militia Companys Won the Backwoods during the Revolutionary WarAfter the Revolutionary War, many soldiers received land grants in Georgia for service rendered. The struggles and hardships, Continental Army and Local Milities, drew farmers and planters alike off their land for the great cause of freedom. The days of the Indian instruction to add a fish to each hole in the field to nourish corn had long passed. Before the war even began, soils were depleted of vital nutriets and money crops like tobacco and cotton had to be rotated. That meant that land lay fallow for several years before replanting. Meanwhile, several generations of the same families were still occupying the old home place. It was time for the new generations to move on. And this is exactly what they did. In 1781, General George Washington, commanded a force of some 17,000 French and Continental troops, and marched on Yorktown where he commenced a siege against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis.
Patriots of the PastContrary to some of the trash being written today about our patriots, our ancestors were seeking religious liberties and freedom from persecution. They were brave, gallant people who were inspired of God, and who suffered much to immigrate to America. Further, actual records exist such as the Journal of Christopher Columbus. Today, he is depicted as a scum-bag who raped natives in the isles. Yet, his Journal (now translated into English) reveals that Columbus, a devout Catholic, felt inspired of God to find the new continent. The defamers did not stop there. They trashed almost all of the founders of this country including Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence. A simple reading of the founding documents reveals a powerful belief in God and freedom for all. Their beliefs were so strong that they put their own wealth into the war, only to be bankrupt at the end. Because we did not walk in their shoes nor fight their battles, we must not defame those who came before us. They were family.
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Decatur County Wills, Estates, Marriages
Decatur County was created from Early County in 1823 by an Act of the General Assembly It was named after U.S. Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur. In 1920, Seminole County was created entirely from Decatur County. Also, portions of Decatur County were used to help create Thomas County (1825) and Grady County (1905). South Georgia counties adjacent to Decatur, as well as counties in Florida should also be researched. Early Settlers: Samuel Braswell, W. H. Barbour, B. F. Byrd, Absalom Brown, John Birch, Robert H. Butler, J. J. Chason, A. B. Campbell, John Cameron, Alfred Chester, Jesse Collins, Hardy Crawford, J. L. Durham, John Dollar, William Donalson, R. F. Evans, H. S. Farish, Jesse Glover, Peter Gray, William Hutchinson, R. H. Harrell, D. P. Hines, Jacob Zeigler, and others.
Probate Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Images of Decatur County Wills, Book A, 1828 to 1838Testators: Buie, Malcom ;Cloud, Reuben ;Collins, John ;Donelson, John ;Everett, William ;Fain, Thomas; Faircloth, Cader ;Gaines, George ;Harrell, Mary ;Harris, Sterling ;Kemp, Daniel ;McCreless, John ;Powell, William ;Rawls, John ;Rogers, John and Wright, William.
Wills 1828 to 1838 (abstracts)
Images of Decatur County Wills 1838 to 1865Testators: Amoss, Mary ;Ashley, Jesse ;Ballard, Rufus ;Barbour, Wiley ;Bell, Augustus ;Benton, William ;Blount, Phillip ;Braswell, Samuel ;Brock, Martha ;Butler, Robert ;Campbell, Archibald ;Campbell, Daniel ;Cassels, William; Chambers, William ;Chisolm, Robert ;Cleburn, Temperance ;Cloud, Reuben ;Collins, Jesse ;Cooper, Samuel ;Crawford, Bennet ;Cunningham, Albert ;Daffin, John ;Devaughn, Sarah ;Davidon, Robert H. M. ;Donalson, Rachel ;Donalson, William ;Douglass, Alexander ;Douglas, Harriet ;Douglass, John A. ;Douglass, Sanders ;Ellis, Edwin ;Evans, John W. ;Ferguson, Isaac ;Freeman, Hannah ;Freeman, Jacob; Gainey, Reddick ;Gardner, Sarah ;Gray, Peter ;Griffin, Lee ;Griffin, Susan ;Hamilton, Robert ;Harrell, John Sr. ;Harrell, Mary ;Hines, Anne;Howell, Samuel ;Hutchinson, John ;Hutto, Martin ;Ingram, Hugh ;Johnson, Deliam ;Johnson, Jesse ;Johnson, Jesse (2) ;Johnson, Joshua;Jones, John; Kelly, William Wade ;Lonen, Squire ;Long, Shadrack ;Loper, William ;Lovett, David ;Malone, John ;McElveen, John ;McElvy, William; McGriff, Sarah ;Meeks, Bennet ;Michaux, Joseph ;Mitchell, Greene ;Montgomery, Sarah ;Montgomery, William ; Murphy, Butts ;Newberry, John ;Nicholson, Duncan ;Nicholson, Malcom ;Owens, William ;Parks, Virgil; Paulk, Micajah; Powell, Jethro ;Pullin, Elias ;Pumphrey, Redin ;Regan, Roberson ;Rhodes, William ;Rogers, Benjamin ;Ruckley, Anthony ;Ruckley, William S. ;Russell, Louiza;Scott, Rhoda; Slade, Jeremiah ;Smallwood, F. ;Smart, Edmund ;Smith, Archibald ;Strickland, Reuben ;Sweet, G. ;Thomas, Hezekiah ;Thomas, Nancy ;Truluck, Joseph ;Waller, R. A. ;Whiddon, William ;Whiddon, William (2) ;Whitaker, John ;White, John ;White, Martin;Wilson, James;Wooten, Eliza ;Wooten, Shadrack and Wooten, William
Index to Probate Records
- Will Book A, 1828 to 1838
- Will Book B, 1839 to 1873
- Will Book C, 1873 to 1913
- Appraisements and Sales. Book A, 1828 to 1833
- Vouchers, Sales, Annual Returns, 1839 to 1837
- Journal and Sales (estates) 1834 to 1848
- Annual Returns, Book D, 1835 to 1850
- Minute Bks A & B (includes Wills).
- Index to Marriage Licenses (grooms) 1824 to 1841
- Index to Marriage Licenses (grooms) 1837 to 1869
- Index to Marriage Licenses (grooms) 1868 to 1896
- Marriages from newspapers 1885 to 1886.
Traced Genealogies of Lincoln County Families
See how easy it is to view Wills, Estates, Inventories, Returns, Sales online