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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Court House Fires

Fires and wars were the major culprit for destroying court house records. So why do certain books resurface? I was visiting Darien, Georgia during the 1960's speaking to local families, when a lady came onto her porch with a ledge-style book in her hand. It was an old tax digest book from McIntosh County. The reason she had it? Her grandfather had been the clerk and was in the habit of bringing work home. This explanation is not unique, as the practice was wide-spread during the 19th century. Thank goodness! I contacted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and asked them to send their film expert to her home. So now it is on microfilm at the Georgia State Archives. Also, I have seen court house books in antique shops. This is a place for the genealogist to keep the eye peeled. Incidentially, after the cold war ended in the Reagan years and the US was allowed to visit Germany and Poland, the church filmed records from those countries for the first time. I am a firm believer that more and more records will surface and when they do, it will be the genealogist who sees to preservation (and microfilming).

Jeannette Holland Austin, Georgia Author
Georgia Pioneers

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