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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Overcoming Genealogy Hurdles

When census and other records are lost, so are people. No census is available in Georgia until 1820. So what happened to 1790, 1800 and 1810? They were supposedly destroyed by the British during the War of 1812. Thus, one whole generation is lost. This is the first in a series of articles on How to Find Lost Relatives ! No matter what the records gap is, the tips and advice given applies to every State. a series

Every researcher experiences some hurdles. If you have an ancestor who had disappeared off the planet, here are some thoughts. They can avoid the census-taker, not own land or record their deeds, not leave an estate or last will and testament of any description worthy of probate, not serve on any jury, etc. But there is one place that they cannot escape and that is the tax digest in the county where he resided. Even if other county records (or census records) do not exist, look for the tax digests, then methodically search through each district. Names are not alphabetical. Don't forget to search the back of the book for the delinquents, that is, those who failed to file for one reason or the other. They may have moved, died, etc. Absence on the county records is a clue for searching elsewhere. This is where I look. I want to verify that the family was in that county for certain time periods. The next step is to go to the county tax commissioner office and find the named district. This will help you zero in on what part of the county to search further. Purchase a county map which provides the legend and symbols for churches and cemeteries. Now all that remains is to search the graveyards in that neighborhood, writing down all entries of the surnames you are searching. Trust me, you will be able to put these names together later as cousins, great-grandparents, etc.

Jeannette Holland Austin, Georgia Author of over 100 Genealogy Books
Georgia Pioneers

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