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Monday, November 28, 2011

About Georgia Graduations

You might think of life in the 1800s as back country, with relatives working their farms in remote areas. However, they were busily engaged in building their communities and economic future. Education was not neflected. Children attended field schools inside local church buildings. While young ladies were sent to female academies, the boys attended agricultural academies, medical colleges and studied law. A popular vocation was to study law under a the supervision of a local judge or lawyer. In Georgia, the Georgia State University (later called the University of Georgia) was the State school. The records reflect students in attendance from the early 1800s, coming from all over the State. Before this institution was available, students went out of State. After much controversy about providing a college education for females published in the Macon Telegraph, the first female college in Georgia was opened in Macon. It was called Wesleyan Female College. The year was 1836. The college quickly filled, with students arriving from all over Georgia, but mostly the central portion. The old records of this venable institution did not survive, however, the class of 1850 was listed on the Bibb County Census. Such is the case for most schools. Search the census (1850 to current date) to find the names of students. As it turns out, i began the massive undertaking of reading old newspapers, trying to locate the graduation class of my second great-grandmother, one of the first classes, according to family tradition. I had always been told that three generations of grandmothers had studied music at Wesleyan. I was interested in discovering their accomplishments. On and on it went, until I had searched to 1925. I never found the records or notices, however, the project is not lost. Anyone can benefit by going to the website GA Greduates In the meanwhile, no matter what State is involved, the research process is the same. Search newspapers and census records. Tedious, but rewarding.

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