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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Following the Trail ...

Follow the research road
Answers come when you know the history of any given area where your ancestors resided.  There are some simple observations which should rest in your mind.  For example, burials in nearby cemeteries. Did you notice a lot of young children dying in the same time period? Before the modern cures, fevers and ordinary ailments were the causes of deaths.  The beutonic plague is a zoonotic disease carried by fleas on small rodents. The result is swollen lymph glands in the neck, armpit and groin.  Essentially, it is the cause of the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.  The infection was fatal. Today, antiobiotics along with oxygen and intravenous fluids save the patient.  One of my grandmothers died at the age of 30 leaving three small boys.  The Hollands resided at McPherson, Georgia next to the railroad.  My grandfather owned a merchandising store which served the small community of railroad workers. They had just built a new home when she crawled into bed and was bitten by a rat.  As a result, her three small boyds were raised by Aunt Ida.  But the facts of her death were necessary to understand the local issues. A railroad spur was being constructed through this village and the transient workers resided in sheds or alley houses. When the spur was complete, they moved on. Thus, the local economy lagged or disappeared altogether. To survive, it was necessary for my grandfather issue credit in his store.  Today, his home still stands beside the railroad tracks, but all of the alley houses are gone.  Before her death, my grandmother went out of her front door and caught the train to Atlanta to shop.  Her sons wore crisp white shirts to school, so unlike the other country children.  Thus, the railroad lines and yards enabled people to travel long distances.  Our ancestors were building cities and the American way of life. My second-great grandparents left the plantation or farm around 1900 to come to Atlanta for work.  They went back home to visit every summer, but eventually the old house was torn down.  The slaves were freed and had to be hired.  But there was a problem.  The slaves would not work for hire so the whole agricultural landscape changed in the worst sort of way until machine were invented to replace labor. Without crops, many farms were sold for back taxes. Georgians were a "conquered" people and reconstruction brought carpet baggers from the North to run local governments.  Conquered people are punished.  So it was.  As the income from agriculture.disappeared, losses were never recouped.  To learn more about local histories, read old wills, inventories, estates and deeds; visit local cemeteries and find old bibles church records.  Tidbits of information from all of these resources help to piece the puzzle together and explain the reasons that people moved on.

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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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