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The Ocmulgee Archaeological Excavations

By Jeannette Holland Austin

Ocmulgee Mounds The dig near of the Ocmulgee and surrounding area is known as one of the largest in American history. A major excavation occurred between 1933 and 1936, with over 800 men working under the direction of Dr. Arthur R. Kelly of the Smithsonian Institute uncovering 2.5 million artifacts, viz: pottery, pottery sherds, metals, arrowheads, spear points, stone tools, pipes, bells, jewelry, seeds, bones, etc. Some of these items are on display in the Ocmulgee National Monument Museum or stored in the museum curatorial. It was determined that people lived on the Macon Plateau between 12,000 BC and 1800 AD. In Georgia, genealogists should research all of the available Indian Rolls and Census as outlined on Georgia Pioneers

A Wintry Day in Georgia

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Genealogy Books by Jeannette Holland AustinSometimes the best information can be found in old cemeteries during winter. That is because the weeds are dried up thus making the stones more visible. This is a good time to search around for old sunken graves, and depressions in the soil. One February as the cold wind blew against my back, I examined the tombstones in the Davis Smith Cemetery at Brent, Georgia. I had visited there rather often, however, this time my eye caught sight of a sunken concrete slab. Turns out that the name and dates were quite visible, despite the fact that I had to scoop out some dirt. Turns out this was Jeremiah Smith, born 1795, brother of Davis Smith! This extra information helped me to locate the parents, and finally grandparents!

Explorers into Alabama, and Further West

Creeks and Cherokees in GeorgiaFinding the persons who passed through Georgia before the removal of the Indians is often difficult. For one, they had to acquire approval from the Georgia Governor. For this reason, the following book is suggested: Passports Issued by Governors of Georgia 1785 to 1820 by Mrs. Mary G. Bryan. Next, you need to examine the various Indian trails (maps on line) to get a better focus on the situation. Most of these people were explorers, traders and hunters. Some of them married squaws. Such marriages were not recorded in public county records, and the odds of finding this information is remote. The records of The Creek Agent near Macon, (1754-1816) Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1816) should be examined for possible names. Typically, all of the Indian Rolls should be examined, especially the Dawes Rolls because that is when some 32,000 applicant claimed lineage to the Creeks and Cherokees. It is a long, drawn-out process. more on immigration

John's Gold

John's GoldDuring the War Between the States one of my ancestors, John Chambliss, resided near Macon, Georgia. When he heard news of the yankees coming through, he ran out into the garden and buried several quart jars of gold, or so the story goes. One of his sons was shown the spot before the family saddled up and left the area. After the war, there was talk of the gold, however, no one did anything until about 1880 when a nephew returned to the old home place and dug in the garden. It looked as though most of the quart jars had already been removed, however, he did discover several jars of coins which he took to the bank. It counted out to several hundred dollars. Goes to show you that searching out the relatives is not a bad idea!

The First Female College in Georgia

Wesleyan Female CollegeIn 1836, the citizens of Georgia began its campaign to educate their young women. The newspapers carried articles of protest that women remained ignorant for a want of an education. So it was, that after much to do about the education of young women, on 23 December 1836, the Georgia Female College was chartered. It opened its doors on 7 January 1839, with 90 young women enrolled. The course of study was liberal arts and sciences, including philosophy, astronomy, botany, chemistry, physiology, geology, history and ancient modern languages. The first class was graduated in 1840, its first graduate being Miss Catherine Elizabeth Brewer. When the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church assumed responsibility in 1843, it was renamed as Wesleyan Female College. In 1917 the word "female" was eliminated from its title. Wesleyan was the birthplace of the first two Greek societies for the Adelphean Society in 1851 (now Alpha Delta Pi) and the Philomathean Society in 1852 (now Phi Mu). More on Gold

Student at Wesleyan

Lizzie Smith ClementsLizzie Smith Clements attended during 1870s. She was among the first ladies to study music at Wesleyan was a daughter of Colonel Davis Smith and Elizabeth of Monroe County - Jane Smith. Although names of all of the graduating classes did not survive or are not offered to the public, it is family tradition that Jane Smith was a graduate during the early part of 1850s. Later, Jane sent her daughter, Lizzie Smith Clements to Wesleyan who then passed the tradition down to her daughter, Mary Brent Chambliss. The search for names of Wesleyan graduates in the Georgia Graduates Database and the 1850 graduating class is available to member of GA Graduates and may be helpful in learning more about the times. More on Education

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1960 Bibb County Court House

Bibb County Court House

The Moment of Truth

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Books by Jeannette Holland AustinThe moment of truth is when we realize that we have an answer of we know how to find it. Sometimes it comes after long, intensive research; other times it is but a flash, an idea. Finding answers, however, is not an easy chore. We must find clues which establish patterns which fit into the era during which we are searching. I was recently asked to locate a first wife who gave birth to one child then died a couple of years later. For this reason she did not show up on the 1850 census as the mother of this child, but the second-wife did. The marriage to the second wife was easily found, but not the first one, simply because the records began at a later date. situations like this occur throughout the research of just about everyone. Hard proof would be the husband receiving properties for his wife via the will of her father. To find such a detail, we need to examine the annual returns of the estate (every year until the estate was closed) and the receipts given by heirs or recipients. Here, your idea proof would be a receipt from the husband in behalf of his named wife. In addition, the sale of the estate listed every item and who purchased it. Then, of course, there is the possibility of an obituary somewhere, naming the heirs. This is not unusual. All local newspapers as well as the largest one in the State should be examined page-by-page because obituaries and death notices were scattered through the newspapers, even in the want-ad section! An obscure notice could be your moment of truth, or the actual cemetery where the first wife and her parents were buried. Sometimes we hit pay dirt, when all the children are listed on the tombstone, or obelisk in the cemetery. A number of old newspapers are published on Georgia Pioneers and available to members. In addition, lots of old Georgia newspapers have been published and are available in the Georgia Room of the Cobb County Library. It is worth a look.

Macon Volunteers Armory

Macon Volunteer ArmoryThis was the home of the Macon Volunteers, a militia unit which was founded in 1825. The building was completed in 1885 and when it was restored in 2005, it doubled as a civic organization and social club. The Macon volunteers fought in every war up to World War II when they were absorbed into the Georgia National Guard. When Texas called for militia in 1836, Macon answered the call for freedom from Mexico, carrying with them a flag of white silk with a centered blue star made by Joanna Troutman of Bibb County.

Everyone Finds Something Different



I have made it a habit to peruse local libraries and historical societies, especially while on vacation because this is where one finds interesting genealogy collections. The Historical Society of St. Augustine (open to the public) contains rare collections of old marriages and church records; also transcripts of individual genealogies. One usually needs assistance in such places because of cataloging and storing arrangements. But if you linger longer enough, a surprising amount of genealogy will unfold before your eyes. The Washington Memorial Library of Macon has a vast microfilm collection of wills and estates from many States. Forget about ordering microfilm from the Library of Virginia, because that collection is in Macon, Georgia. Also, the Cobb County Regional Library in Marietta, Georgia has an expansive collection of genealogy books for every State. The point is that very little information is online, or digitized. We still need to poke around.

Downtown Macon in 1900

Downtown Macon 1900

Georgia Senator Lost at Sea

Oliver Hillhouse Prince was born in Montville, Connecticut and removed to Georgia during 1796 where he was elected Senator of Bibb Co. 1824 to 1825 and 1828 to 1829. He was the Commander of Bibb Academy in 1821 and commander to layout Macon during 1824. Apparent he and his wife went on an ocean voyage because they were both lost at sea. Ref: Ga. State Archives Card Catalog.

The Old Macon Hotel

During the Fall of 1862, Henry L. Jewett came from Connecticut to Macon and purchased the old Macon Hotel and was appointed as the Treasurer of the Georgia Southern Railroad.

Map of Bibb County, Georgia


Bibb County Probate Records and Genealogy

Macon, Georgia

Bibb County was created on Dec. 9, 1822 from portions of Jones, Monroe, Twiggs and Houston Counties. It was named for Dr. William Bibb, who was the first elected governor of Alabama. Dr. Bibb lived in Elbert County, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the U.S. Senate. He was appointed governor of the Territory of Alabama in 1816 and became the first elected governor of that state. In 1823 Macon was incorporated; named after Senator Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. Researchers in Bibb County should also research the Jones County Records.

Bibb County Genealogy and Probate Records available to members of Georgia Pioneers

Abstracts of Wills

  • Wills 1823-1855
  • Wills 1851-1864

Online Images of Wills 1823 to 1840

Testators: Asbury, Jonathan; Beall, Robert Augustus; Burnett, John; Burton, Robert ;Chambless, Henry; Church, Redman; Crockett, David ;Cutland, Redden; Daniel, William; Darragh, Archibald; Dixon, Thomas ;Fluker, Baldwin; Fort, Robert; Godfrey, Francis; Harrell, Hardy ;Howard, John; Huff, Edward; Jemison, Henry ;Jeter, Andrew; Johnston, William; King, John; Lamar, Benjamin; Lanier, John; Napier, Thomas; Nixon, William; Owens, Benjamin; Rogers, William ;Sapp, Henry; Scott, John ;Sigueux, Peter ;Smith, Henry ;Smith, James ;Summerlin, Sarah ;Tharp, John; Victory, Thomas ;Weed, Joseph ;Wells, Nicholas ;Williams, John; Williams, John D.

Online Images of Bibb County Wills 1851 to 1865

Testators:Alexander, Elam;Allen, David;Bailey, James;Bailey, John;Ballard, C. M.;Blackshear, Albert;Blake, Eleanor;Bond, Joel;Bond, Joseph;Bonds, Penelope;Brewer, Edward Ebenezer;Brown, Turner;Busbee, W. R.;Boren, Alfred;Bowman, John;Brown, Eliza;Campbell, Watson;Carey, Martha Ann;Castlen, John;Champion, Elizabeth;Colbert, Frederick;Coleman, Robert;Collins, Charles;Collins, Robert;Collins, William; Cray, Mary; Damour, James;Daniel, Clarissa;Dean, William;Dempsey, Dermot;Dillard, Colin;Dillard, Olive;Eaves, John;Ernest, Asa;Evans, Rufus;Farrell, John;Feagin, Robert;Franklin, Marcus;Freerman, Robert;Gamble, William;Gilbert, Edward;Gorman, Thomas;Grierson, George;Griffin, James W.;Griffin, Larkin; Graybill, Midas;Groce, Margaret;Hazlehurst, Robert;Hughes, Frances;Huguenin, Edward, Colonel;Huguenin, Edward;Huguenin, Julia;Hunter, George R.;Irwin, John;Johns, Isaac;Johnson, Henry;Johnson, William J.;Jordan, Absalom;Kearney, Arthur;Kelly, Francis;Kelly, Julia;Kenedy, Nancy; Kilpatrick, William;Kunz, John Michael;Lamar, John;Lamar, John B.;Leslie, Ann;Lunsford, Priscilla;Malden, Caleb;Malone, Cherry;Massey, William;Mathews, Martha;May, Benjamin;McCall, Eleazer;McEver, Robert;McGuire, Martha;McMichael, John;Mitchell, Alexander;Munroe, Nathan;Newsom, Henry;Newsom, Henry (2);Norman, Sarah;Parker, Burwell;Peterson, John;Powers, Abner Parrott;Powers, Julia;Pye, Andrew;Raines, Cadwell;Ramsey, Mary;Rea, James;Reynolds, S. O.;Roach, Patrick;Ross, William A.;Shad, Elias;Simmons, Mary;Sims, Susan;Smith, James;Stevens, Elijah;Stevens, Simon;Stotesbury, Louisa;Stotesbury, Robert;Stubbs. James;Stubbs, Peter;Sullivan, John;Summerlin, Elison;Tharp, Elizabeth;Thomas, Merrel;Thomas, Micajah;Thomas, S. L.;Thomas, William;Thompson, Charles;Towns, George W.;Usher, Sarah;Wakeman, James;Ward, E. B.;Watts, Adelaide;Weed, Henry;White, Joseph;Wiley, Ann;Wiley, John B.;Wood, Lewis;Woolfolk, Thomas;Yearty, Thomas

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Wills and Estates (1823-1855)
  • Wills and Estates (1851-1871)
  • Wills and Estates (1870, 1891, 1914)
  • Wills and Estates (1891-1907)
  • Annual Returns (1823-1844)
  • Annual Returns (1843-1851)
  • Annual Returns (1851-1854)

Marriages

  • Marriage Book A 1831-1839
  • Marriages from newspapers 1885-1886

Maps

  • 1846 county map
  • 1855 county map
  • 1864 county map
  • Map of Macon, founded 1823. Bibb County.
  • Map of Macon, South from the Public Reserve. Bibb County

Miscellaneous Will Images

  • Calhoun, Elbert Estate
  • Chambliss, Christopher Estate
  • Chambliss, Henry Estate
  • Edmonds Estate
  • Gilbert, Edmund, LWT (1858)
  • Jemison, Robert W., minor
  • Johns, C. P. H. Estate
  • Lamar, Mrs. Mary Louisa Lamar, admx for estate of John Lamar, deceased
  • Lamar, John Estate
  • McLeod, Roderick Estate
  • Moore, J. G. Estate
  • Odum Orphans

Books

  • Bibb Notes by Jeannette Holland Austin
  • Memoirs of Georgia

Church Records

  • First Baptist Church Members 1830-1874

City Directories

  • 1890 to 1891

Traced Genealogies: Bibb County Families

Ammons; Armstrong; Bailey; Beddingfield; Berkner; Bond;Braswell;Brincefield;Carr;Chambliss;Clark; Clements;Conner;Dent;Gilbert;Goodall;Holleman;Holt; Jemison;Kibbee;Lanier;Massey;McCardle;McElroy; McKinney;Napier;Norman;Smith;Thompson;Valentine

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