Read the Old Wills to Find the Ancestors!Researching County records is the single most important record for the genealogist. Think about his. Whenever you move into a new area, the first thing which you do is to make public records at the county court house. This is where the deed to your houae is recorded, you pay taxes, the children acquire marriage licenses, and finally, you file your estate or last will and testament. The will is your final story. It is where you provide the names of children and their spouses, grandchildren, wives, and other relatives. Should one die intestate, then there is no will, but there is an estate! An administrator is appointed, inventory taken, sale of estate items, and an annual return is filed for every year during which the estate is open, providing pay-outs to the heirs. The old wills of all kinfolk should be examined, because this is where to locate names of cousins, aunts, uncles, and even relatives in foreign countries.
When you Purchase a Home does the Deed Mention your Origin?You bet it does! The first line goes like this " John Smith of Fulton County, Georgia." Put a red flag on this because it provides a key clue to discovering where the ancestors were from. As one moves from county to county, state to state, it gives this vital clue. Theoretically, you can trace the ancestors back many years simply by finding the documents where they purchased and sold property. There are the witnesses to the documents to consider as these were friends and relatives. Then there were "Gift Deeds" wherein the children were left acreage and other items where the father was dividing up his farms among his children before he died. Another important item to be searched for in the deed records is " Marriage Contracts." Such documents were usually written when there was a second marriage and the wife wished to retain possession of certain items or properties or designate certain of them to the children by a former spouse.
The Failed Expedition of Benedict ArnoldDuring the early part of September of 1775, Colonel Benedict Arnold led a force of some 1,100 Continental Army troops from Cambridge, Massachusetts through wilderness country (now Maine). The journey up the Kennebec River was difficult, especially when the boats leaked and ruined gunpowder and spoiled food supplies. As a result, more than a third of his men turned back before reaching the land between the Kennebec and Chaudiere rivers. The troops, inexperienced in handling boats in white water, ended up losing supplies and boats. When Arnold finally reached the French settlements above the Saint Lawrence River, his force was reduced to 600 starving men who had traveled about 350 miles through a poorly charted wilderness. If it were not for the assistance of the local French Canadians, his troops would have never crossed the Saint Lawrence river. Nevertheless, by the middle of November they reached Quebec City and attempted to put it under siege. When this failed, Arnold withdrew to Point-aux-Trembles until Colonel Montgomery, the officer of the other part of the expedition, arrived to lead another unsuccessful attack on the city. Among the Montgomery troops from the State of Georgia was Clark Blandford, a later resident of Elbert County, Georgia, who was captured and paroled. Afterwards, Blandford returned to New Jersey where he entered the Militia and insisted upon serving until end of war, first under Colonel John Nelson, and then under Lieutenant Colonel Scudder. He helped in the capture of Bennets Island and was in the battles of Short Hills, Trenton, pringfield, Mud Island and Monmouth. During his term he served as sergeant and sergeant-major and was wounded in action three times.
Remember the Day?Remember...
- When no one locked their doors?
- We sat on the front porch counting different makes of cars? In those days models like the Cadillac coupe de ville were more glamorous.
- Everyone had a front porch and we were invited to sip lemonade and chit chat?
- When we acquainted ourselves with neighbors by walking the streets?
- Saturday morning cartoons and newsreels?
- Driveways were too narrow for anything but the Model-Ts?
- Streets were made of cobblestone and bricks?
- Trolleys and street car lines were draped across overhead power lines?
- We dressed in front of coal furnaces?
- Winter sleeping meant a stack of quilts?
- It was too hot to sleep in summers?
- You punched a button to turn on a single overhead light bulb?
- Turning out lights after leaving a room to conserve electricity?
- Houses had walk-in attics.
- When railroad tracks criss-crossed thoroughfares.
- When electric fans were first used in homes?
- The air conditioning unit in the window?
The Difference between Truth and ErrorSometimes we get carried away in our quest to find the ancestors. Although the information coming from relatives is usually flawed, we can use the data as clues to discerning the real facts. Hopefully, the world of fake sites will not find its way into genealogy. And, DNA results from various companies may not deter us from examining actual written records of each era. The moment in which data (marriages, wills, etc.) is recorded is far more accurate than twenty, thirty years or a hundred years later when someone takes a guess at it. What I am saying is that we should look more to the era in which the event occurred, rather than a book or documentary written later. This goes for genealogy and history. You may have noticed that history is being re-written in the most defamatory manner. Tracing the ancestors unfolds events pertinent to the lives and times of those who lived it. That is why civil war pensions and revolutionary war pensions are so revealing. You want to know more about the battles? The experiences of soldiers were written on the applications, in their own hand-writing. Also, they frequently copied their bible record into the application. There are so many reason that we should read the actual documents. Old wills and estates provide even more personal data, including the details of home-life. It is fun to learn the names of the next generation; however, gratifying to learn of the contributions of families to American freedom.
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Early County Wills, Estates, Marriages
Early County was created in 1818 containing 3,750 square miles in Southwest Georgia. The original occupants of this land were the Creeks who were removed under the Treaty of Ft Jackson on August 9, 1814. This treaty settled all of the claims to the South Georgia land. It was named for Governor Peter Early, a native of Virginia; Congressional delegate and Governor from 1813 to 1815. The first settlers came in 1817, settling on Harrod's Creek (now Old Factory Creek) on the Chattahoochee River. Earliest Settlers: L. B. Avirett, Thomas Avera, M. H. Alexander, Alexander W. Bealer, Woodson F. Davis, George Colley, Joseph Lane, L. D. Gay, A. J. Lewis, W. R. Puckett, Loren Russell, R. H. Sheffield and L. C. Ward. The first court was not held until 1820. The county seat is Blakely.
Early County Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
- Index to 1823-1834
- Index to Marriages 1868-1889
Online Images of Wills 1822-1832Testators: Broom, Thomas;Cole, Mark; Curry, Samuel; Gilley, John; Griffith, John; Holmes, Nathaniel; Jackson, Robert; Jackson, Samuel; Kelly, William; Liverman, Brown; McCulloh, Anthony ; McCulloh, Leonard; Porter, Benjamin; Sheffield, Isham ; Smith, Laden; Watson, Alexander
Online Images of Wills 1839-1895Testators: Alexander, James; Alexander, Martin ;Averitt, Abner; Averitt, Ephaly ;Bailey, William ;Bird, James ;Bryan, Sylvanus ;Bryan, William ;Calhoun, James; Calhoun, William ;Chivers, Larkin ;Coley, Philip ;Collier, Benjamin ;Collier, John ;Cook, W. C. ;Crawford, Joel ;Deal, John ;Dill, Job ;Dixon, Jeremiah ;Douglass, Elisha ;Ford, William ;Freeman, James ;Gilbert, John ;Glenn, James ;Goocher, Milton ;Grier, Moses ;Griffin, William ;Grimsley, Joseph ;Grimsley, Lewis ;Grimsley, Sarah ;Grist, Martha ;Harrell, Jane ;Harris, Joshua ;Haynes, Thomas ;Hays, Mary ; Hightower, Joel ;Holmes, Richard ;Howell, Edward ;Hutchins, Anthony ;Hutchins, Henry ;Hutchins, Jefferson ;Johnson, Joshua ;Jones, Thomas ;Knight, William ;Lee, Clem; Lee, Zadock ;Lewis, Mathew ;Lundy, Mary ;Mercier, Elizabeth ;Mercier, George ;Odum, Charity ;Parramore, Susannah ;Perry, Elizabeth ;Perry, Joel; Pirkle, Richard ;Powell, Coleman ;Powell, Hiram ;Powers, Sarah ;Reese, Hillman ;Ritchie, James ;Robertson, James ;Sammons, William ;Sanders, Mark ;Shackelford, Harriet ;Shackelford, James ;Taylor, James Jones ;Temples, Frederick; Thompson, Robert; Wade, William ;Wilson, Solomon; Yeldell, Robert
Indexes to Probate Records
- Index to Early County Will Bk B, 1839-1895.
- Index to Early County Will Bk 2, 1896-1941.
- Estate of Bealer, Alex W. (1919) (image).
Jeannette Holland Austin Profile