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Finding the Path Across the Genealogy Maze
Have you ever worked one of the maze puzzles in the Altheimer's books? Once inside the maze, the idea is to find a path out. Actually, it is a good exercize for the researcher who spends years attempting to solve complicated genealogies. We expect to find marriage records, for example, but discover that many county records did not begin requiring this filing until the 1900s. But we are inside the maze and must pause to examine all of the possibilities of exit. In seeking the obvious exit, we miss tiny details which lead to answers. For example, did you realize that the people buried in the old part of a cemetery are "the neighborhood?" It is these tombstones which provide answers. Had you researched the local deed records, wills and estates, you might recognize some of the names. In other words, you are looking at the neighbors, friends and relatives of your ancestors. A closer look at the old section might turn up the husband's of daughters. Look closely and write down everyone's name. Notice when they include a maiden name. Example: Mary Jones Smith. Gosh, Mary's parents are probably buried close by. And an examination of old wills and estates might help identify if Mary Jones belongs to your family. Thus, just as we examine every outlet in the maze, we identify every possible relationship.
Wealthiest Woman in the South Despised Plantation Life
At one time, cotton was "King" in Georgia. The crop is still grown today in South, Central and Southwest Georgia in counties such as Dooly, Colquitt, Mitchell, Worth, and Decatur. During the early days Georgia grew the lucrative cash crop of rice, however, before the American Revolution (1775 to 1783) cotton became another staple in the southern home. The Sea Island Cotton imported from the West Indies was grown along the coast because it produced a long, strong fiber easily separated from the seed. The invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitley was a welcome relief to planting and weaving. Southerners wove their own cloth from raw cotton, hemp and other crops. The plantation life from sun up to sun down was shared by all of the family members, including the lady of the house whose duty it was to teach slaves to sew and weave cloth as well as to harvest herbs and plants for medicines. It is laughable to read how the actress, Fanny Kemble, hated plantation life and wrote a stinging criticism and rebuke of it in her book Life on a Georgia Plantation. She was married to one of the richest men in America, Mease Butler, who owned thousands of acres in New England, South Carolina and Georgia. No doubt, the actress lived a finer existence than the average planter. more history
Strangers No More
How exciting it is to locate an old photo of the ancestors. But there is more to come for the genealogist who digs deeply into the past. A visit to the old farm place in the countryside offers a sense of their lifestyle and sacrifice to the American way. Your ancestors were ambititiously unselfishly valiant people, and proved it by forging an economy out of a new wilderness country. I hope that you take the time to walk across old pastures and dirt roads, locate rural church yards, and speak to the older generation still in the vicinity. Next, introduce yourself to them by examining deed records and take note of the legal description which provides the land lot number and acreage. A county map from the tax accessor's office will help you to find the exact spot. Also, while you are in the neighborhood, observe how the land itself seems to be missing the old generation who planted the gardens and fruit trees. How old are some of those trees? As people moved from place to place, they took seeds of trees and favorite plants. Remember, that just as Sir Walter Raleigh introduced? the potato to English soil, that English immigrants also delivered the beautiful boxwood seedlings to Virginia plantations where they continue to flourish in grand beauty today.
Genealogists Search Many States
All of a person's ancestors did not reside in one State. After coming to this country, they moved around with great regularity.
That is because land was so important to survival. The habit of allowing fields to remain fallow for two years or more was helpful, but not enough. A good rich, loamy soil was required to sustain generations of families. In Virginia, it was tobacco which quickly depleted the soil, and soon as ther American Revolution, families were on the move. Genealogists, look to the land grants of these soldiers (for service) and subsent land lotteries in Georgia. Many families drew and won land in the lotteries, according to the number of persons in the family. That is why it is important to examine Tax Digests, which list the number of acres and the county. We trace the movement of our ancestors through deed records, tax digests, land grants and lotteries. As families moved along, it becomes necessary to examine the county records everywhere that they resided. This is where marriage records were recorded, deeds given, and estates probated. Also, a close examination of local cemeteries and churches is indicated. Why? Because burial records and church registers also tell the story. Georgia Pioneers has a vast collection of county records and includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is easy to search from one state to the next using the same portal.
Houston County Genealogy, Wills, Estates and Marriages
Houston, Peach and Bibb County records should be simultaneously researched by the genealogists to locate threads of family information. Houston County, Georgia was established in 1821 from Indian lands, and was named after Governor James Houstoun. Families came to Houston County from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and from Houston County migrated after the Civil War into Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and especially Texas. Early Settlers: William Amos, Daniel Adams, Simon Barden,
James Burnsides, David Clark, Curtis Daniel, Jeremiah Dupree, Thomas Doles, James Everett, James Grace, Michael Howard, James Killen, John Lafoy, Joshua Mercer, Jesse Pollock, and James Vinson.
Houston County Probate Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
- 1820 to 1850
- Marriage Book B, 1852-64 (index of brides and grooms)
- Houston County Marriage Book C, 1875-1898 (index of brides and grooms)
Houston County Wills 1827 to 1855
Indexes to Houston County Probate Records
- Will Book A, 1827 to 1855.
- Will Book B, 1855-1896.
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book A, 1824-1833
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book B, 1833-1848
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book C, 1847-1851
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book D, 1852-1853
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book E, 1853-1854
- Annual Returns and Vouchers, Book F, 1854-1855
- Clark, Dempsey, LWT
- Strong, Christopher (will)
- Vinson, James (will)
See how easy it is to view Wills, Estates, Inventories, Returns, Sales online