Are your Fingers Too Selective When Researching the Ancestors?Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
It is a simple task to search for a specific name and no other. That certain eliminates a lot of possibilities. One of my relatives is a descendant of Groover. I referred to the family as Gruber. He was puzzled. The name of the immigrant was an Austrian by the name of Peter Gruber. His grandchildren anglicized their name to Groover, easier to pronounce. His research came to a blunt end ca 1850. Mine went back to the 1750s, nailing down family members in Austria and America. As time passed, as census takers visited the family, they sometimes misspelled the name. This also occurred in documents from the earliest Colonial records. A careful comparison of family members, who they married, where they resided, names witnesses, etc. will help to include all the relatives in the search.
The Difficult Task of Tracing FamiliesWhat is it about tracing families that makes it so difficult? It seems that the further back in time that we push, less information is available. it a translation issue? For example, but a small percentage of the passenger records seem available. If you are back to about 1600 in the American colonies, a digging task of documents written in foreign languages is before you. In fact, the chore of locating which ecclesiastical district or court to research in Great Britain can be daunting. Often it seems that written records do not exist. Yet they do. It is simply a matter of digging into official documents in other countries. You would think that the Federal Archives has all of the passenger lists and immigration records, but they do not. Here is an example. The first Georgia immigrants went before a committee representing the 22 or so investors in the charter where they were questioned as to their worthiness to help settle Georgia. You can acquire those names in Candler's Colonial Records of Georgia (which is correspondence between the Earl of Egmont and other officials in this country). Mr. Candler printed the correspondence which represents a source of names of persons who probably came to Georgia. I made a thorough study of these names and compared it with other documents in the colony to determine who actually made the trip. This study is included in my book (Colonial Georgians) which is online to members of Georgia Pioneers. My idea was to not only determine who actually came to Georgia, but what happened to them afterwards. So I traced the footsteps of those left behind when Oglethorpe returned his regiments to England ca 1744. Sometimes the genealogist has to read boring State documents. That is how I learned that the clan of Flora MacDonald was on a vessel in the sea near North Carolina when they petitioned for land. This historical event went unnoticed, yet helps to complete the history of the Scots who supported bonnie "Prince Charles." Every family has an interesting history! As stated, the reading of foreign documents is more troubling, but worth the effort. Sooner or later old wills and estates show up in county court house records.
How Quickly the Past is Swept AwayThe old Fitzgerald home in Clayton County collapsed under the weight of time. The glamorous days of the past are gone. Only a plank-board frame remains of the once beautiful ante-bellum home and nearby barn over hung by the straggly limbs of scrub trees. There is a sunken well and in some places the ridges of tine marks made by the old plow are visible in the soil. A walk through the woods reveals an old-timey garden of jonquils, iris and ivy and leads a trail towards a pond over-grown with algae. As the weedy briar's twine and the woods grow thicker in brush, it is not too difficult to imagine the work which was required to maintain this farm. Perhaps the nearby town of Jonesboro with his three-story buildings was a precurser to what was next, and that this too would be swept away by crowded cities and speeding vehicles. For sure, it was a generation unaware of how quickly it would be forgotten. We are the descendants of the children of the past. Almost two hundred years have slipped away, and here we are, experiencing the rhythm of the destruction and rebuilding of the 21st century. Fast forward a bit. As homes are scraped off the land and more structures erected, do we wonder if there will be any evidence of ourselves left to visit? Eudora Plantations Old Fairfield Plantation Ockstead and Bathurst Plantations When Families Left the Plantation White Hall Plantation The Plantation Journal of Seaborn Hawks Jarrell Plantation Davis Smith Plantation Meadow Garden, Home of George Walton Berckman Plantation in Augusta
Addendum--When Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind, she included familiar family members. The father-figure Fitzgerald was the epitome of an family whose plantation was located near Jonesboro, Georgia on. Pictured is the old plantation on Mundys Mill Road which continues to survive in its dilapidated state. As expected they were Irish. This genealogy is traced and is available to members in the "genealogy vault" of Georgia Pioneers
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Clayton County Wills, Estates, MarriagesClayton County was formed from Fayette (to the west) and Henry (to the east) in 1858 and was named after Judge Augustin S. Clayton, who served in the Georgia General Assembly. All of the records have been preserved. Researchers should also research Fayette County where a good many of its residents are found.
Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Online Images of Wills, 1859 to 1865Names of Testators: Abercrombie, Rachel; Adamson, G. W.; Adamson, N. C.; Abercrombie, Lavinda; Allen, Young; Beavers, Willis; Betts, William; Blalock, Jesse; Burks, Christopher; Burks, Wiley; Camp, Abner; Campbell, William; Chambers, Joseph; Chapman, Elizabeth; Coker, James; Coles, Isaac; Conner, Nancy; Crawley, G.; Dickey, William; Dickson, Robert; Dodd, Edward; Dodd, Frances; Duffey, David; Estes, Allen; Evans, Hugh; Fitzgerald, Philip; Fuller, William A.; Garner, George; Gilbert, John Henry; Guice, John; Gunter, Isham; Hall, Elisha; Harrell, T. S. L.; Harris, Gilford; Henderson, Robert; Huie, John; Irwin, Samuel; Jackson, Daniel; James, David; Johnson, Jordan; Jones, Allen; Jones, Edward; Key, C. A.; Mann, achariah; McMullin, N. S.; Melson, William; Mitchell, Hinche; Mitchell, Thomas; Moore, H. J.; Moran, Nancy; Morris, Richard; Morris, Richard (2); Nash, Edward; Noland, James; Northen, Besset; Osborn, John; Oslin, Sarah; Pate, James; Peacock, D. W.; Phillips, Trusten; Pledger, Joseph; Ragsdale, Mary; Rountree, Mary Ann; Sanders, William; Smith, Archable; Smith, Joseph F.; Stanly, John; Tankersley, Andrew; Tankersley, John; Tarver, L. W.; Walden, Elisha; Wallis, Rubin; Williamson, Thomas; Williamson, Thomas S.; Wright, Nancy
- Topographical Map of Clayton County.
- Index to Marriages 1859 to 1870
Indexes to Probate Records
- Wills 1859 to 1921
- Inventories, Vouchers, Sales, 1857 to 1897
- Inventories, Vouchers, Sales, 1898 to 1957
Traced Genealogies of Clayton County Families
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