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Monday, January 9, 2012

Finding Relatives in the County Records

There are a whopping 156 counties in Georgia! Pretty hefty for genealogists who dig through records searching for relatives. However, this is the surest method of discovery. Here are the options. You can make a trip to one of the court houses in the county where your people resided and examine the records there. This always has pitfalls. For one thing, many court houses have placed the old clerk's record books into storage and many of the originals which were kept in file cabinets have simply been lost. No matter, because the clerk copied in his own handwriting each and every document. That is what you need: the clerk's books of inventories, estates, annual returns, vouchers, receipts and wills (last wills and testaments). If a person died intestate (without making a will), you should still find some record of that estate in the probate office in the form of returns, inventories, receipts, etc. Do not expect the employees to have any expertize whatsoever in the knowledge of where the records are lodged. Sometimes there is a big hassle, as in Chatham County, where you have to make specific requests and then wait 2 or 3 days for the records to arrive from storage. The next option is to go to the Georgia State Archives and examine the records on microfilm. Another problem. Due to budget cuts the archives is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Watch out for Friday holidays, because they get the following day off. This month, there will be two Saturdays when they are closed. So that draws it down to 6 days for the month. Also, please phone before making the trip as there is discussion as to whether to close the archives to the public.

Luckily, Georgia Pioneers has been digitizing the county records to that website for the past several years. This is the largest genealogy website or Georgia records. "Find your Ancestors on Georgia Pioneers"

Become a member and view documents Click here for counties

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