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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Visiting Court houses - A Plus or Minus?

I have been visiting court houses since 1964 and have to tell you that some some pretty uncomfortable changes have been made.  The labor force is a problem. In some instances, those who work in the clerk's office do not know what a will is, much less how to find the old will books. Another disturbance is the sloppy manner in which the old books are treated. If most of these counties had not been microfilmed in the 1950's, the information would be lost.  Faded ink, moisture damage and the like   are making some records virtually impossible to photocopy. Another issue is "off-site storage". We are in the age of having to store old books because of a shortage of space. When I recently visited Chatham County, I had to wait several dates for the "off-storage" books to be sent to the court house. This was really inconvenient, since I had travelled there from Atlanta. Some of the old books for Franklin County are at the local historical society.  Other books are in the possession of the Georgia State Archives.  How would you know these things?  Additionally, other old books which were not burned by Sherman were taken home by clerks to work on at night and eventually lost.  Occasionally some court house books show up in antique stores such as some records from New York which I once saw in Brunswick, Georgia.  Another book from McIntosh County was shown to me by an individual who found it in their attic.  These things exist.  What I am saying is that all records were not microfilmed. All is not lost, however. Avid researchers, like myself, collect all works possible. Some of these private collections are reflected in my books and in databases on Georgia Pioneers , the largest Georgia genealogy website online. The collections are not available elsewhere. Happy hunting to members!

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  7. (Graduates database from ca 1830 to 1925)
  8. (Digitized Wills in counties of: Carter 1794-1830; Jefferson 1802-1810;Johnson 1839-1900;Unicoi 1878-1887; Washington 1779-1800)

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