A Court House Burned Down is not the End of the Search for AncestorsThe Greeks believed that ice and fire is the end of all matter. However, today, Brigham Young University is working in conjunction with other groups to restore the Dead Sea Scrolls. They can take a crumbled up document and translate it! Fire leaves ash, and possibly DNA as well. Thus, the recovery of ancient documents is getting interesting. There is hope that old family bibles and photos burned in the trash heap might be recoverable. As the archeologists dig around New York, for example, finding graves of the Irish population who came over during the potato crisis, the debris in that soil might open up a new avenue of discovery. Do you get frustrated when you go to a certain county for information about your ancestors and learn that the court house burned down? This is a typical scenario for the genealogist. I have always heard that in time, the lost "records would come forth." Meanwhile, the importance of finding the tiniest of details takes a front row seat. The first time this I encountered burned court house records, I had found my revolutionary war soldier and discovered his Land Grant was in Washington County, Georgia. Imagine my disappointment when I could not zero in on the location of his land or find the wills, estates and marriages for the family. His name was Christopher Chambliss and an old DAR application listed that he was born 1747 in Rockingham County, Virginia. During the early part of 1900s, it was my observation that some people joined the DAR without proper documentation. This was the case here because I spent years researching every Chambliss family in America. Christopher resided in Sussex County, not Rockingham, and the Bibb County, Georgia Census confirmed that he was born in 1760; also, his estate dated 1840 was found in Bibb County. That left me with the assumption that he never took up the Washington County Land Grant. Later on, I discovered old bible records of his children which confirmed everything that I had learned. I felt that the results needed publishing into a book. The Chambliss book is long out of print, however, the genealogy is available to members of Georgia Pioneers Sometimes we just have to search out the genealogy of every family with the same surname.
Dogs Played a Major Role in the Settlement of Middle GeorgiaIt was the poor and industrious people of Virginia and North Carolina who settled middle Georgia. Lands were easily procured but for the cost of a survey and they first built log cabins for their homes and outbuildings. Those who first ventured beyond the Ogeechee River sought good spring water and elevation so as to afford an opportunity to take on the Creeks and Cherokees who would shoot arrows into the little stockade forts erected around those springs. Usually several families united in building and taking up residence inside the forts. As soon as this protection was completed, the work of clearing away the surrounding forest was commenced and the land prepared for cultivation. Sentinels were stationed at certain points in the neighborhood to keep a careful watch. Every community employed its hunters and scouts sent out to discover signs of the presence of the Indians. Because this duty was so perilous, sometimes the scout did not return. When seed-time came, corn, a small patch of cotton and another of flax were planted, and cultivation continued under the same surveillance. Man's best companion, the dog, was trained to search for prowling Indians and every morning before plowing a new spot, the dogs were sent out first. If the report was no Indians, the cultivation began. Occasionally an emigrant brought with him a slave or two: these emigrants were considered to be wealthy and and invariably became the leading men in the communities. Those from Virginia were more frequently possessed of more slaves and properties than those from the Carolina, and those who came from an older country, a bit more refined and ambitious, sought the best lands for grain and tobacco. The settlement of the North Carolinian stressed good spring-water and pine-knots for his fire, and he worked with the assiduity and perseverance of a beaver to build his house and open his fields. The common necessity borne to them all created a rather pure democracy.
Why Genealogy Websites Cannot be FreeRecently, after boosting an ad on FB, an unlikely subscriber posted "I think that genealogy websites should be free. "
The idea that genealogy should be free is absurb. As one who has traced families for over fifty years, I have to tell you that acquiring information is not free. The expense of the acquisition of microfilm, microfilm equipment, photo copies, software programs, internet costs, travel and research gobbles up savings, vacations and family time.
In years past, after a full work somewhere else every day, I would spent all of my extra time gathering information. The results were rewarding, because many issues of the family histories were resolved, however, my filing cabinets were packed full of old wills, estates and the like. I tried to solve the problem by publishing as many books as possible to preserve the data. Publishing is also costly. There is no profit in it for the genealogists and there is no way of recovering the cost of acquiring all of the data. That is why genealogists expound that research is a "labor of love" (added by me -- and a lot of money!).
When the internet came along, I found another method of publishing the data, but again, at a great cost. Nothing is free in this world. No one came along and donated a bunch of money to help me put this project on the internet.
Although I would love to offer my genealogy data for free, in addition to the unrecoverable cost of years of research, it simply costs too much to maintain a safe and active website. The internet has its security issues. Hacking is common. As the internet providers work to main website security, this is another growing cost to the genealogy website. As of now, acquiring an SSL certificate for all websites is the standard. No doubt you have noticed the new addition of https. However, this new change did not come cheap either, especially for labor costs in changing every page. Georgia Pioneers manually changed some 700,000 pages. Meanwhile, as Google required the SSL certificate, the position of Georgia Pioneers dropped lower in its ranking.
The social media boom attracted small-business entrepreneurs. And its organic reach has been helpful in many respects. However, as companies grow too large, the door opens to greed and theft. The recent Facebook scandal resulted in extremely poor organic reach for our Georgia Pioneers pages. This means that in order to have articles delivered to a database which took years to construct, more advertising money goes to FB. That is their purpose, isn't it?
Thus, my answer to the complaint. "It ain't gonna happen, lady!"
John TekleJohn Tekle served in the Morgan County Militia 1808 to 1812. He served in the War of 1812 and the Seminole War of 1818 for which he received 80 acres in Randolph County, Alabama.
- Allen, James.
- Atkins, George Lee.
- Bailey, William.
- Banckston, Daniel.
- Bryant, Patrick.
- Buchanan, Joseph.
- Carleton, Henry.
- Davis, John.
- Davis, Thomas.
- Fielder, James.
- Hamilton, Robert.
- Hanson, Edmund.
- Jones, John.
- McMurray, William.
- Mitchell, William.
- Patillo, David.
- Snellings, Peter.
- Stroud, John.
- Whatley, Elizabeth.
- Wootan, Jeremiah.