Tracing through Deed RecordsIt is not enough to follow an ancestor through census records. We must also track his journeys in deed and tax records at the local court houses in the counties wherein he resided. This effort is the very substance of our research because it helps us to understand that we have the correct ""John Smith", so to speak. And, that we are working within the framework of the correct generation. Many things can be learned, such as the name of the wife and certain children, the location of the old home place, who inherited it, and so on. Also, you get the names of neighbors and relatives as witnesses, which also confirms their presence at certain times and places. It all pulls together eventually.
What Happened to Original Wills Filed at the Court House?Original documents were first copied by the Clerk in his own handwriting. This is what you get when you order a copy. The original was placed in a file cabinet or other place of storage. Over the years, these documents were shuffled around to make space for more recent papers. Eventually, old documents ended up in unheated and ventilated basements where dampness rotted it away. Why would one want the original? Well, once when I was tracing a family, I discovered that the clerk had omitted a line from the old will. I did not have the old will, but the omission became more and more obvious as all of the other clues came together and the puzzle was assembled. Then there are spelling issues. A glaring error is the spelling of the name of the decedent on the first line of a document as compared to the signature line. Just as the census taker misspelled names and had omissions, so did the clerk at the court house. Thus, one cannot assume that the ancestor ever used that spelling. However, a diligent genealogist figures it all out.
To Find Ancestors, Read the Old Wills and EstatesThose records generated by one's own family are the most accurate. For example, bible records, death notices, tombstones, deeds, marriages, and old wills and estates. That is because the ancestor took an active part in his affairs. Census records are like second-cousins. A form is completed by a census taker who got the information from whomsoever was found at home that day. Sometimes the relationships are not clearly stated, and the names are carelessly written. Also, to trace further back in time, one must read the court house records. Such records are better resources than say, a printed genealogy dating in the 1920s or 1930s.
The "Time Machine" AdventureDid you ever feel that you would like a "time machine" to step back into the past? Well, you can have this psychologically. And that is by tracing your own heritage, especially with American emigrants because so little has changed in the terrain. As a matter of fact, we probably step upon the same earth, travel the same trails and view the same rolling hills and seashores. Perhaps, a little excavation into the soil will reveal some of their trash. The secret is to begin at the old home place, if you can find it. In this wonderful age, technical advances are making genealogy more of a virtual reality. Digital maps reveal hidden archeology such as hidden shapes and landscapes at Stonehenge while minimal maps reveal stunning images of the landscape which define old cornfields and cotton crops, forests, roads and trails as a starter. Why even the standard county map legends point us to cemeteries, churches and dirt roads. Inside these "time machine" vehicles, we can find the community where our families once resided with a visual of the footings of old buildings and houses. Actually, the site of the church and the old portion of its cemetery is the compass to more. It is a matter of imagination. The old deeds provide measurements and further description of what the old places looked like as well as the names of neighbors. Old wills, estates, vouchers, receipts and inventories are replete with details of family members and neighbors. For example, who purchased the kitchen furniture? The "time machine" works best with all of the information which you can discover in county records as well as census, church, bibles, cemeteries, and the like. Now, a little research into local history and the problems of the day provide the emotional aspects of community life.
Finding the Back Woods
As many of the old planting fields, battle grounds and old farms are grown over in weeds and brush, remnants of the past lay in wooded regions of the country. Sure, there are monuments placed by the DAR over certain old graves, and historical markers of old mansions placed by historical organizations, but the proof of the past for everyone is hidden in the records. And we can use deed records and county maps to locate the old home place. A visit to the back woods is truly an adventure into the past lives of our ancestors! Do we imagine warming ourselves in front of a fireplace? Or, sleeping in a cold house under quilts and blankets? What about hitching up the plow to the old mare? If we search carefully, there are indentations in the soil and evidence of former activity. Old graves may lie in the thick of the woods and perhaps a slate tombstone is buried just below the surface of the soil. It is time for the autumn leaves to spark the landscape with grand colors and drop yet another layer of leaves into the soil. Why not give it a search?
Think of the Internet as a Genealogy VaultThe technology of the Internet moves civilization forward and is a blessing because it is where we discover forgotten members of the family and more about our past. And, it is a place to post important genealogy data. As time moves forward and more people share their family histories, the Internet will contain the most valuable documents on earth. All that we need to do is to continue to share and add our information (no matter how trivail) to lasting websites. Initially at the first onset of the user experience, there was a rush of family group sheets added from computer programs. However, most of those have been taken down. Therefore, it is important that we post our information on more than one website. All over the Nation there are public libraries with a surprising amount of file folders containing family genealogy. I have found that people are still donating some pretty interesting to libraries and archives. Hopefully, the data will be digitized on library websites. Actually, local libraries are beginning to write their own websites and (for now) contains only a small amount downloadable data (usually out-of-date books). How much genealogy will bes digitized and preserved on the Internet is a question of budget. We should continue to be supportive with our genealogy donations and attend local libraries. I have personally gathered and preserved a great deal of genealogical data over the years and those books which I published are contained as databases on my genealogy websites, viz: Georgia Pioneers Kentucky Pioneeers North Carolina Pioneers South Carolina Pioneers Southeastern Genealogy and Virginia Pioneers
Durden-Brinson-Brewer HouseThe Durden-Brinson-Bewer House dates during the 1850s and is a historic landmark in Emanuel County. Jacob Durden served as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War as a refugee soldier from Georgia. A descendant, H. Kelmer Durden represented the family in 1966 when I visited him at the Emanuel County Court House. The family comes from Norman stock and the immigrant to America was Stephen Durden who settled in Nansemond County, Virginia. Many generations have resided near Swainsboro, Georgia ever since.
Think of the Internet as a Genealogy VaultThe technology of the Internet moves civilization forward and is a blessing because it is where we discover forgotten members of the family and more about our past. And, it is a place to post important genealogy data. As time moves forward and more people share their family histories, the Internet will contain the most valuable documents on earth. Initially, the first onset of the user experience was family group sheets generated by computer programs. However, most of those have been taken down. I have found that people are still donating some pretty interesting to libraries and archives. Eventually data will be digitized on the websites of public libraries.
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Emanuel County Wills, Estates, MarriagesEmanuel County was created in 1812 from Bulloch and Montgomery counties. The county was named for Georgia Governor David Emanuel (1744-1810) Subsequently, portions of Emanuel County were used to create the following counties: Johnson (1858), Jenkins and Toombs (1905), Candler (1914), and Treutlen (1918). The first commissioners in 1812 were: Edward Lane, Francis Pugh, Needham Cox, Eli Whitdon, and Uriah Anderson and in 1813 Jesse Mezzle and Archibald Culberth. The Emanuel County Courthouse has been destroyed by fire five times -- in 1841, 1855, 1857, 1919, and 1938. The county records included here are the earliest surviving.
Probate Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
- Index to Marriage Book 1817 to 1860
Online Images of Will Book A, 1825 to 1857Testators: Atkinson, Alexander W.| Barwick, Nathan | Beacham, Lewis | Beasley, Right M.| Bell, Daniel | Bell, John, minors of | Bennett, Benjamin | Bird, William | Bonell, Anthony | Boyd, Eliza | Boyet, Arthur | Boyt, James | Brady minors | Braswell, Kindred | Beasley, Right M. | Brown, Jesse | Brown, Jesse W. | Brown, Mary | Bullock, Rufus B., Gov. (bond of) | Clifton, John | Coleman, Jonathan | Coleman Perry | Cornevah, William | Crooker, Lemuel | Culbreath, Daniel | Daughtry, James | Dekle minors | Douglas minors | Edenfield, Jesse (Gift Deed) | Edenfield minors | Edenfield, Robert | Faircloth, Charles | Fountain, William (Gift Deed) | Gillis, August | Gillis, Murdock | Green, Daniel, minors | Griffith, William L.| Hall, Juniper | Hendly, James | Higdon, Robert (receipt) | Hooks, John | Hutchison, Aaron | Jenkins, Charles C. | Johnson, Benjamin W. | Johnston, William | Jones, William | Kemp, John A. | Ken, William C. | Kirby, Moses to Margaret (Gift Deed) | Knight, Rufus | Kurt, Thomas | Lain, Abraham L. to Benjamin Lain (Gift Deed) | Lane, Edward | Miner, Phillip H. | Moore, James | Morgan, Christopher C.| Nasworthy, George W. | Neel, Judith | Newton, Phillip| Nun, Joshua | Nunez minors | Oglesby minors | Owens, Littleton | Phillips, Ryal Bud Phillips, Sherrod | Rea, Spencer | Rountree, Delilah (Gift Deed) | Rountree, James | Rountree, Nancy| Rowell, William | Rowland, Jules, minor| Sawyers, minors | Sherard, Benjamin| Sherod, minors | Sumner, Joseph | Sutton, Jordan | Tapley, William| Thigpin, Travis | Thompson, Robert\ Tison, Stephen | Turner, Absalom| Walen, James | Wallace minors| Ward, Sarah, widow of Elia|s Warren, James | Webb minors | Wiggins, John | Williams, Hester| Williams, James | Williamson, John| Wolf, John | Wrenn, Susannah to daughter, Sarah Paulett Monroe (Gift Deed)
Online Images of Wills 1857-1907Testators: Allen, Morning| Anderson, John H. |Atkinson, Alexander| Banady, J. W|. Barwick, Council (colored)| Barwick, George| Barwick, Lott (Indenture)| Barwick, Nathan| Barwick, Rountree| Beasley, Albert| Bell, Eady F. |Bishop, James| Bishop, William C.| Brinson, Benjamin| Brown, Gideon H.| Brown, James| Brown, Mike| Brown, Queen Elizabeth| Burnett, Ishmay| Carmichael, Mattie M.| Clifton, George| Coleman, Amelia| Coleman, David |Coleman, Elisha| Coleman, Jeremiah| Cowart, Ada| Cowart, Jonas J.| Cross, Augustus A. (Indenture) |Danford, James A.| Brown, James| Deal, William A.| Dickenson, Stephen| Dickey, Joseph W.| Durden, Lotte| Durden, William| Edenfield, Eli J.| Edenfield, James H.| Ellison, James H.| Forehand, William J|. Gains, Jeremiah| Garbutt, George| Gillis, Catharine| Hall, William (Indenture) |Hargrove, Vincent B.| Harrington, James H.| Hendley, Edel| Hendly, Wade| Henly, Thomas F.| Hooks, Jonathan| Hutchison, Aron| Hutchison, Moses| Jones, S. S.| Jordan, William| Kent, Daniel| Kersey, Thomas| Key, Wiley| Lamb, L. J.| Lane, Benjamin L.| Lewis, Zachariah |McLemon, Ira F.| McLemore, John L.| McLeod, Duncan| McLeod, J. W|. Moseley, Clement C.| Odom, Archibald| Oglesby, John W.| Oglesby, Seaborn| Overstreet, John| Parish, Isiah Mitchell| Phillips, Wilder| Phillips, William| Rabb, Ella W.| Rountree, George S.| Rountree, John R. |Sherod, Benjamin| Sherrod, Benjamin| Smith, Jacob L.| Smith, White V.| Stephens, James B. |Stephens, William| Stoud, John| Sumner, Jethro| Sumner, Mary D.| Sumner, Richard |Sumner, Richard |Thigpen, Malancton |Ward, Fereby| Watson, Rachel |Youmans, Nathaniel E. |Youman, Solomon |Youngblood, Spencer
Online Images of Annual Returns, Book A, 1836 to 1866Names of Estates: Barnes, Juliann |Beasley, Right | Bird, Lewis (estate) | Brice, William | Bronson, Alexander | Cowart, Abraham | Deal, Simon | Drew guardians | Dunsford, Etheldred | Dunsford orphans | Gay, Mathew | Green, Daniel | Griffin, Casandria | Griffin, James | Griffin, John | Griffin, Mary | Griffin, Reuben | Hall, James | Hurdly, William | Hutchinson, John | Hutchinson, Joshua | Jenkins, John | Jenkins, Mary | Jenkins, Samson | Johnson, John | Johnson, Mary | Johnson, Roan | Johnson, Seaborn | Johnson, Susanna | Martin, Thomas | Neal, Mitchell | Nunn, James Orkey, Warren Rey | Pullen, Henry | Reubin, Mary | Rey, William | Roberts, Nathan | Sconn orphans | Searcy, Ludusky | Sherrad, Benjamin | Smith Amanda | Stroud, James | Stroud, Thomas | Thomson, Hugh | Walea, James | Wiggins, Elihu | Wiggins, Jesse | Williams, Hester | Williams, Thomas
Indexes to Probate Records
- Wills, Administrations, Guardians, Bonds, Book A 1815-1868.
- Minute Book 1841 to 1857
Misc. Wills and EstatesRoberts, Nathan, LWT (1828), image of original
Sison, Stephen, LWT.
Traced Genealogies of Emanuel County Families