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Friday, October 10, 2008

Finding Lost Georgia Ancestors: Field Work

Locating old homesites and nearby cemeteries lies in the legends of local county maps. But first, one must find the ancestor's deed transactions in that county. Then write down the legal description of the property. The old land grants did not provide detail because the land was considered wild. However, as time went on legal descriptions in deeds took shape and told whose lands were adjacent, identified creeks, rivers, roads and ferries. This detail is highly important to the researcher. It is always preferred to obtain all deed transactions of the ancestor and his family members. Then, a comparison of the descriptions between those persons. This helps zero in on original land grants, the year granted, how tracts were divided and bequeathed to family members, etc. Deeds of Gift was the common method of parents passing land to children. Since each deed must have a consideration, the sum of money was usually quite small. A title search in the deed office is now indicated. That is a tracing of the property forward. You observe the name your ancestor sold the property to, then see who that person sold the property to, and so on forward to the present day. Unless these transactions went unrecorded, when you get to the present-day owner, the title search should provide the exact address as modern deed descriptions contain more detail as well as street addresses. Even if you do not have the exact street address, after acquiring all of the deed descriptions, it is time to visit the local county court house and view in the tax commissioner's office the land district map. After zeroing in on this land district, you can use the legend of the local county map to locate the general vicinity old homeplace. Now the field trip. Visit local cemeteries, churches and old farmsteads in the general area. Be sure and write down all of your surnames from these cemeteries as you will be able to link these later on.

Jeannette Holland Austin, Georgia Author
Georgia Pioneers

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