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Houston County, GA Research Information

WILLIAM A. MILLS (Perry, Georgia) E-MAIL: wma_mills@yahoo.com

Mr. Mills has researched Houston County courthouse records for the past 15 years and published numerous volumes.     See
Mr. Mills webpage for complete information about these books, ordering information, and research services available.

Below are posted his helpful discussions which can be applied to ALL Georgia County Research.

Helpful Topics

Administrator and Guardian Bonds
Agriculture Schedule
Burned County Records
Cemetery Clean-ups
Cemetery - Unmarked Graves
Churches and Cemeteries-LDS Film
Deeds Research
Estray Books
Guardian and Administrator Bonds
Inferior Court Minutes
Land Lottery
LDS Microfilm
Libraries with Houston County Materials
Marriage Research
Migration Trails
Published Resource
Probate Research
Road Names in Houston County
Superior Court
Tax Digests

Agriculture Schedule

Are you getting tired of only finding names and dates in your genealogical research? Well, do something about it. Go down to the farm! Actually, I'm referring to viewing the Agricultural Schedules of the Federal Census years of 1850, 1860, 1870 & 1880.

The following types of Federal Census Schedules were taken in various years:

1. Population Schedules: Residents in an area.

2. Mortality Schedules: Those who died during the 12 months prior to the Census.

3. Veterans Schedules: Veterans and their widows.

4. Slave Schedules: Slave owners and the number of slaves they owned.

5. Agricultural Schedules: Data on farms and the names of the farmers.

6. Manufacturing or Industrial Schudules: Data on businesses and ndustries.

The 1860 Agricultural Schedule contained the following data:

1. Name.

2. Acres of improved land.

3. Acres of unimproved land.

4. Cash value of farm.

5. Value of farming machinery & implements.

6. Horses.

7. Asses & mules.

8. Milch cows.

9. Working oxen.

10. Other cattle.

11. Sheep.

12. Swine.

13. Value of livestock.

14. Bushels of wheat.

15. Bushels of rye.

16. Bushels of Indian corn.

17. Bushels of oats.

18. Lbs. of rice.

19. Lbs. of tobacco.

20. Ginned cotton / bales of 400 lbs. each.

21. Lbs. of wool.

22. Bushels of peas & beans.

23. Bushels of Irish potatoes.

24. Bushels of sweet potatoes.

25. Bushels of barley.

26. Bushels of buck wheat.

27. Value of orchard products.

28. Gallons of wine.

29. Value of market gardens produce.

30. Lbs. of butter.

31. Lbs. of cheese.

32. Tons of hay.

33. Bushels of clover seed.

34. Bushels of other grasses seed.

35. Lbs. of hops.

36. Tons of rotted dew.

37. Tons of rotted water.

38. Other prepared hemp.

39. Bushels of flax seed.

40. Lbs. of silk cocoons.

41. Lbs. of maple sugar.

42. Lbs. of cane sugar @ 1000 lbs.

43. Gallons of molasses.

44. From what made (molasses).

45. Value of homemade manufacturing.

46. Lbs. of honey.

The 1850 Agricultural Schedule was the same as the 1860 one, except for the following columns:

38. Lbs. of flax.

44. Lbs. of beeswax & honey.

46. Value of animals slaughtered.

The 1870 Agricultural Schedule contained 52 columns, and the 1880 one contained 24.

Very few researchers take the time and effort to peruse & transcribe the data from these extensive Agricultural Schedules. But, I highly recommend that you consider doing so, if you are wanting to add some *real meat* to the "bare bones" of your pedigree charts.

The last that I heard, the Agricultural Schedules were housed at Duke University; Durham, NC. Microfilm copies are available at most major genealogy libraries. They are also available via LDS Microfilm rental at your local LDS Family History Center.

The following LDS Microfilms are available for the 1850 to 1880 Houston Co., Georgia Agricultural Schedules:

1850: # 1602478

1860: # 1602481

1870: # 1602483

1880: # 1602491

Burned County Records

Don't forget the Twiggs Co., GA records too. Just because the early records in Twiggs and other GA Counties were burned, that doesn't mean that *all* of the records are now *lost*. In many of the court cases, there were appeals made to Federal Circuit Courts. Most of these records are now at the East Point, GA branch of the National Archives. I believe they are all indexed, and that you can send a request to that branch, and they will search for a particular name. At least this was the procedure in 1994. It could have changed by now, or maybe the records have been microfilmed also. If I had a *hint* that any of my ancestors had resided in Twiggs Co., GA during the early years, I would *wear* those records out.

In 1992, I *found* an old record book at the Houston Co., GA courthouse, which contained Federal Circuit Court records from the 1820s to the 1850s. Actually, these records are considered to be *lost* at the present time, as far as researchers are concerned. This book has never been microfilmed, and should not be photo-copied until it has been filmed. Otherwise, extremely valuable info could be damaged on the very fragile pages. I am currently in the process of making brief abstracts of the court cases in that record book.

I have found that several of the early Houston County families had spent time in Twiggs Co., GA prior to settling here in Houston, *especially* if they came from North Carolina.

If you can glean from the Tax Digests of Twiggs Co., GA, that your ancestors had resided there, then I would suggest that you "jump on" the Federal Circuit Court records that pertain to Twiggs Co., GA. The Twiggs Co., GA Tax Digests for 1818, 1826, 1830, 1833, and 1853 have been microfilmed by the LDS on Microfilm # 0159185.

One of the main things to remember about burned counties, is that they only contained a copy of the Deed Records. The family had the orginal, and would *usually* come back and have it re-recorded at the courthouse, once it was restored.

In North Carolina, The Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions (CPQS) recorded the names of the Grantor, Grantee & the witnesses to the Deed, in the Minutes. Since 1994, I have been compiling a "restored listing" of over 10,000 Wake Co., NC Deeds from the 1770s to 1833 which had burned. I am not aware of any Deed Records which are mentioned on a regular basis in the Inferior Court Minutes in Georgia.

The Inferior Court Minutes which William R. Henry abstracted and then published in 1987 thru the CGGS, ONLY covered the Inferior Court Minutes for *Ordinary Purposes*. There are also Record Books which contain Minutes of the *Proceedings* of Inferior Court. These records are literally "filled with gold" for researchers, but have never been microfilmed or indexed. Book "B" covers 1830 to 1850, but I have never been able to find Book "A". One day, it will probably surface from under some shelf in another part of the courthouse. When it does, it will be worth it's weight in gold to genealogical researchers.

My main purpose in dwelling on all of these various types of records, is that just because a researcher cannot find what he is looking for in the *supposedly* published records, all hope is not lost in the search. Even though I am familiar primarily with Houston County records, I still have times when I have to figure out "what's what, and where it's at". Regardless of how many times I have been to the Houston County courthouse, it can still be a "mind-boggling" adventure. I always take a checklist with me, so that I am not "swamped" by the quagmire of folios that await.

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Cemetery Clean-Ups

Autumn is the beginning of the time of the year that awaits many anxious genealogists. By this, I mean that it is starting to cool off, and the leaves are starting to fall, thereby allowing access to some of the overgrown cemeteries that have been abandoned.

Over the past decade, I have been involved in a variety of cemetery clean-up projects throughout the Southeast. The following are some suggestions for organizing a project of this type:

1. PARKING: Many times, there is not much room to park vehicles near the cemeteries. This may be because you will be parking on private property, or there isn't much of a shoulder on the road. If parking is at a premium, it is advisable to car-pool to the cemetery if there is a crew performing the clean-up. In most cases, at least one pickup truck will be needed to carry the necessary supplies.

2. AWARENESS: If the cemetery is near someone's house, it is always advisable and proper to *inform* them that there will be a cemetery clean-up being performed, and *when* it will be done. Otherwise, you might wind up answering a few questions from the Sheriff's Department.

3. CLOTHING: If the cemetery is near a woods, or in fact, *looks* like a woods, it is best to wear bright colored clothing. This is just in case a hunter may think that you are a deer or other game. Always have gloves to work with, as well as boots. If you have an old military type jacket or shirt, this can keep your clothes from being torn by briars and other tangles of Mother Nature. I would also advise sunglasses if you don't already wear glasses of some sort. When you are around trees and briars, it is very easy to get poked in the eye. I would also advise wearing a hat of some sort.

4. EQUIPMENT: At least one chain saw will be needed, along with gas, oil and bar oil. Of course, someone who knows how to operate a chainsaw safely is *essential*. A chainsaw is a very dangerous piece of equipment. I can't over emphasize this fact. A brush axe with a long handle will do a lot of clearing away of briars, vines, and other foliage. Clippers, loppers and other cutting utensils can do a lot of work, too. A shovel, bow rake and hoe are good to keep on hand for various work that may need to be performed.

5. STRATEGY: It is not likely that a cemetery can be cleaned up in one day, unless you have *lots* of help; i.e. 5 to 10 people. It is best to cut a diagonal path across the cemetery from one corner to the opposite. Then, do the same on the other side, so that the cemetery has an "X" path cut across it. This will facilitate a bearing point on where you *are* in the cemetery. It would be best if one or more persons work in each of the four quadrants of the cemetery, primarily looking for tombstones and other markers. WATCH OUT! I have fallen into a few graves. Whenever an indention is observed in the ground, it is best not to stand there.

6. CLEARING & PILES: As you clear the foliage, trees, vines, briars, etc., away, you have to put it *somewhere*. You will need to figure out some central location where you can pile the debris. It will be too much of a job to haul it all off. If there is any wood that can be used for firewood, try to cut the logs into 24- inch lengths. I have always burned the piles of debris on the projects that I have organized, but this can be *very dangerous* and entail a lot of liability. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS unless a water hose is nearby.

7. FOOD & WATER: Cemetery clean-up projects take a lot of *energy*. Plan to take a break at least once every hour or two. Always have plenty of cold water on hand in a thermos. Snacks can *re-charge* hungry helpers who have become dirty and tired. It is also a good idea to have some water to clean dirty hands, or some other type of wipes. What goes in, must come out. This means that going to the bathroom is easier for the men. Hopefully, this will be of the liquid nature. I'll leave the details to the imagination.

8. RECORDING: One person needs to be in charge of transcribing *all* info that is found on the tombstones. The main prerequisite is for that person to have neat, legible handwriting. This person also needs to compile a plat of the cemetery. Graph paper works good for this task. Once the boundaries of the cemetery can be ascertained, someone needs to estimate the length and width of the cemetery. Walking this off, will be sufficient. An average person's pace is about 3 feet. It is advisable to assign a number to each grave that is found. This can best be done by driving a wooden stake into the ground next to the grave, and then marking a number on that stake. This number will coincide with a number on the plat of the cemetery. Usually, cemeteries are arranged in rows. Almost always, a body is buried in an East-West direction. The head is at the West side, looking towards the East. This custom has been practiced for hundreds of years.

9. CLEANING MARKERS: Many of the tombstones will have mold and mildew on them, which makes them very *difficult* to read. Usually, a stick found in the woods can scratch some of this off. It would be best to have a thin piece of wood to do this with, like a popsicle stick. I wouldn't advise taking bleach or other cleansers to the cemetery during the first trip. All of this can be done on a later date. There is no doubt that you will find some grave markers that have been broken, and possibly even half-buried in the ground. These markers are sometimes the only *tangible* evidence of when someone was born and died. Do your best to salvage *whatever* you can of these markers.

(The Association for Gravestone Studies provides excellent information on the cleaning and preservation of old tombstones).

10. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Those who perform cemetery clean-up projects, usually do so as a "labor of love". What you are doing, in fact, is *preserving* a part of history. As time goes by, the tombstones will just get more eroded, and less likely to be legible. EVERYONE who helps out with these projects is performing an IMPORTANT part of this preservation. All of you are to be commended for investing your time and energy to perform these vitally important projects!

The above are only suggestions as to how to perform a successful cemetery clean-up project. I am sure that there are lots of other ideas as to how this can be done. The most important thing, is to realize that it NEEDS to be done. These projects always work out better if you have a PLAN, and then *stick with it*. It is best to set a DATE for doing the cemetery clean-up, and then seek HELPERS to perform the work.

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Unmarked Graves

When trying to ascertain the identity of who may be buried in an unmarked grave at any cemetery, the obituary notices may provide a lot of hints. And I don't mean only the obituary notice of the decedent. You may have to peruse the obituary notices of the decedent's spouse, children or grandchildren to glean the entire picture. You may see something such as: "She was buried beside her grandparents who preceded her in death many years ago", or "He was laid to rest beside his first wife who died 12 years prior".

Most of the published abstracts of obituary notices are just *that* "abstracts, or summaries". In the Evergreen Cemetery book, every word that was etched in any way or means, even if it was a slight inscription on a hand-made concrete slab, was recorded. But, the real key is the placement of the gravesites. If you see where a particular man was buried, and find no evidence that his wife remarried, you can be somewhat assured that she is buried next to him, especially if there is an unmarked cement slab.

There are various circumstances as to why an individual's grave is not marked. Just because it isn't marked, or appears to me unmarked, is really of no consequence. Many of the folks who died during various times in history, didn't have markers because of price considerations of tombstones. And... many of the markers that appear to mark graves from the early 1900s, were actually placed there in the mid 1900s. Also, some of the markers may have been damaged from falling tree limbs or inattentive lawn maintenance workers.

I've seen several instances where there was actually a tombstone, but didn't appear to be. The only evidence was a partial corner of it protruding from the ground. Upon closer inspection and excavation, the entire stone was found... in several pieces, however. Generally speaking, in Houston Co., GA, the majority of the graves were not marked with stone markers prior to 1830-1840. The oldest extant marker at Evergreen Cemetery is from 1841.

The majority of tombstones that have death dates prior to 1880, are of families that were considered and *were* well-to-do. This is no reflection for a lack of memorial consideration though, as most early graves (1800 to 1875) had wooden crosses placed on them. These crosses were replaced as they eroded, or until the memory or family may have faded from the area.

I learned an interesting thing about a month ago. While taking a leisurely stroll thru Evergreen Cemetery, (prior to the tropical weather that we are now observing in Central GA), I noticed a cement slab that looked like part of it had broken off, and had been removed. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that what I thought was only a cement slab, was actually an example of an 1850-1900 elaborate tomb. The cement slab was only the top, and *visibile* portion.

Because a portion of the cement slab top of the tomb had fallen in, I could see inside, somewhat. This tomb had elaborate brick walls, and was very well constructed. For being almost 150 years old, I would say that it had weathered the ages quite well. The only reason that a portion of the top had fallen in, was because of a huge tree root that had undermined the soundness of the foundation of the tomb.

In other words, what may be perceived as a mere inexpensive cement slab, may be in actuality, an elaborate tomb.... and one that could have *had* a tombstone of some sort placed upon it for many decades. If only the surrounding markers could tell us the story :-)

The above statements merely reflect various things that I have observed while surveying the various cemeteries in Houston Co., GA. If any of you have noticed other practices and procedures of burials and grave markings, please share them with us. Take care & happy hunting!

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Churches and Cemeteries - LDS Films

While the topic of old Churches & Cemeteries of Houston County, Georgia, is interesting, I thought I would pass along this info regarding which LDS Microfilms are available. Many of the transcripts were taken during the 1950s, so they may contain info that is now *long gone* by the aging and destruction of many of the old tombstones.

# 0182821: HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA CEMETERY RECORDS, 1958. Information given on cards includes: Name of deceased, birth date, birth place, parents' names, death date, age and name of spouse. Contains the following cemeteries:

Baskins Family Cemetery

Bason Family Cemetery

Bryant & Johnson Family Cemetery

Castellow Family Cemetery

Christ's Sanctified Church Cemetery

Elko Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery

Frederick Family Cemetery

Hattie Baptist Church Cemetery

Leverett Family Cemetery

Hayneville Cemetery

Henderson Baptist Church Cemetery

Holmes Family Cemetery

Houston Lake Baptist Church Cemetery

Laidler Family Cemetery

Lockett Family Cemetery

McCoy Family Cemetery

Magnolia Park Cemetery

Nelson Family Cemetery

Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fort Valley, Georgia

Old Welston Cemetery

Parker Family Cemetery

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

Smith Family Cemetery

Wellborn Family Cemetery

Wimberly Family Cemetery

# 0002106, item 95: BONAIRE, GEORGIA, CITY CEMETERY RECORDS, 1956. Contains a Microfilm transcript of 5 pages.

# 0204489, item 19: A CENTURY OF GROWTH IN THE HOUSTON ASSOCIATION OF MISSIONARY BAPTISTS IN GEORGIA, 1959. By Walter M. Lee. Microfilm of typescript at the Mercer University Library at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

# 0203826, item 1: HISTORICAL SKETCH OF HOUSTON COUNTY BAPTISTS (GEORGIA), 1959. By Walter M. Lee. Photo-reproduction of original published (Cochran, Georgia), 1923, 12 pages.

# 0203824: HOUSTON FACTORY BAPTIST CHURCH, HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA. CHURCH MINUTES 1836-1904. 1959. Microfilm of manuscript at the Mercer University Library at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

# 0203826, item 2: PERRY BAPTIST CHURCH, HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA. FIRST RECORDS OF THE PERRY BAPTIST CHURCH, 1838-1866. 1959. Microfilm of manuscript and typescript at Perry Baptist Church, Houston County, Georgia.

# 0203819: PERRY METHODIST CHURCH (PERRY, GEORGIA). CHURCH HISTORY, MEMBERSHIP ROLL, REGISTER, MINUTES, 1827, 1885-1919. 1959. Microfilm of manuscript and typescript at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

# 0928074, item 9: WARNER ROBINS, GEORGIA, CITY CEMETERY, 1975. Micro-reproduction of typescript (1 volume of various pagings), written in 19--?

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Deeds Research

The CGGS has published 5 volumes of Deed Abstracts from the beginning of the county in 1821, up to 1840. If you are researching your ancestors in this time period, these books can save you a lot of time. Most of the major genealogy libraries have these books, and they are also available thru the CGGS. Davine V. Campbell & the late William R. Henry have provided a valuable asset for Houston County researchers by compiling these excellent books. Any county that is considering abstracting and publishing the Land Records for their county, would do well to emulate the first-class research that these 5 books contain.

Houston County Deed indexes are some of the worst in the State of Georgia. What I am referring to, are the 4 books which index the Deeds from 1821 to 1943. You start out with the surname's first and second letter, and then proceed in running circles between all 4 books. It is much easier to just get familiar with which years are in each of the books, and check the Grantor & Grantee Index at the front of each Deed Book.

Another *fun* thing about the Deed Books, is that they are located in 3 different rooms at the courthouse. The 1821 to 1943 Deeds are located in a back room in the Law Library in the basement of the building. The 1944 to 1966 Deeds are located on the first floor towards the south side of the building. The 1967 to current Deeds are located on the first floor towards the north side of the building. Of course, if you are doing your research via microfilm, you don't really care where the originals are at.

Deeds can contain many important genealogical clues, but basically they all contain the following:

Grantor: The Seller of the property.

Grantee: The Buyer of the property.

Legal Description: The Land Lot, Land District, and Town Lot Numbers if

applicable.  A full Land Lot is 202 1/2 acres in Houston County.

There is other data such as: the county where the transaction took place, the names of the witnesses to the transaction, the names of the adjoining neighbors to the property, etc.

The first time that a person moved to Houston County in the early years, and then purchased property, it wasn't unusual to have him listed as: John "Twiggs County" Smith.

Land Records are not the only thing that you will find listed in the Deed Books of Houston County. In the early years, especially prior to 1830, you could find just about anything in the books, such as: Wills, Sales Receipts, Slave Records, Divorce Papers, etc.

If you suspect that a family cemetery may have been located on property that your ancestors owned during the 1800s, the Deeds may make mention of this. However, I have never seen a cemetery mentioned in a Houston County Deed until the early 1900s. It would say something like: "The old Elijah Johnson homeplace, containing 202 1/2 acres, except for a one acre graveyard, and 1/2 acre graveyard for negroes." As time edged closer to our current day, references to old cemeteries weren't *mentioned* in Deeds, as they are considered to be "clouds on titles". They legally encumber property, and banks don't *like* the mention of them.

If you are fortunate, you may find a plat of your ancestor's property in a Deed Book, but that is rare during the 1800s. There are a considerable amount of early plats recorded in the Homestead Exemption Record Books, but it was about 1913 before Houston County started to record the plats in Plat Books. These Plat Books are *huge*, and are set on large metal rolling shelves on the first floor of the courthouse. They have been microfilmed, but the only copy that I have seen is at the courthouse, and that is only for photocopying purposes. The Deeds from about 1913 to the present, will mention the Plat Book and page number where the plat is recorded.

When performing Deed research on property in Houston County, GA, the main thing that you will be tracing, is the "legal description" of the property. If you don't know which Land Lot and Land District that your property is located in, you will need to know which road it is near in the county. There are several aerial maps located in the Tax Assessors Office, which will allow you to find which Land Lot that you are looking for. These maps are already on-line at:


Suppose you are trying to trace a certain parcel of land from the present, all the way back to when it was first drawn from the Land Lottery. You may have various reasons for doing this, among which may be a Title Search. In the State of Georgia, Title Abstracters who perform Title Searches, and then provide this data for attorneys to compile an Abstract of Title, only trace back 50 years.

Genealogists sometimes trace property ownership from the present to the past, for reasons of finding the location or *mention* of a cemetery that may no longer appear to be in existence. The first place that you will attempt either of the above types of research, is the Tax Assessors Office. This office is currently located in the Houston County courthouse in Perry, GA . Currently, you would need to actually visit this office to obtain copies of the Building Record cards to start your research. But, in the near future, these records will be available on-line.

You will start your research with the "Building Record". Regardless if there is a building on the property or not, this is the name of the record card. These Building Record cards are located in several metal filing cabinets, and organized according to the Tax Map numbers. Once you determine which Land Lot your particular property is located in, the various Tax Maps will show the property in greater detail.

One side of the Building Record contains a partial history of the ownership of the property, for about 50 years, in most cases. The other side of the Building Record contains a floorplan of the home, if there is or was one there in the past 50 years. There is also other data that shows the history of the valuation of the property, as well as if it's value is increasing, decreasing, or static.

Genealogists are most concerned with the front of the Building Record because it gives the Deed Books & page numbers, as well as the Plat Books & page numbers. And, you can actually decipher how much the property sold for each time it changed ownership. For example, if the intangible tax is for $3.30, then the property sold for $33,000. The actual Deed may show that the property was sold for "Ten Dollars and other valuable consideration", but this Building Record card has the *real* story on it.

If you are searching for a cemetery on a particular piece of property, you will need to check each Deed Book that is listed on the Building Record. Once you get back to the earliest Deed Book mentioned on the Building Record, you will need to finish the *digging* one Deed Book at a time. Sometimes the Deeds are tied together by mentioning the previous owner *and* the Deed Book references. This can save you a lot of time during your Deed searches.

If you cannot establish a connection of Deed Book references in your search, it will be necessary to trace the last found owner (Grantee) of the property, and find who he purchased the property from (Grantor). This type of research is performed by going back in time, one Deed Book at a time, and sorting thru the Grantor & Grantee index located at the front of each Deed Book. Occasionally, you will wind up completely lost. If this is the case, you can start your search from the first lucky drawer of the Land Lottery, and carry it forward. However, this could cause some problems if the land has been divided into smaller sections during the early years. In all of my years of Deed research, I have only run across a few properties that I couldn't trace from the present, all the way back to the beginning of the county in 1821.

In the basement of the Houston County courthouse, in the same room as the early Deed Books are located, there is a listing of the original lucky drawers of the Land Lottery for Houston County, Georgia. This listing is a photocopy made from the original Land Lottery records. It is divided by Land District and Land Lot. I've utilized this listing on several occasions, and it can be very helpful in your research of land records in Houston County.

If you don't live near the Houston County courthouse, you can still perform much of your Deed research via LDS Microfilms of the records. There are a considerable amount of microfilms that contain only Deeds and other Land Records. If you haven't already checked it out, there is a detailed listing of these LDS Microfilms, which is currently near the bottom of the Houston County webpage at:


As I had mentioned in Part 1 of this article about Deeds, the Central Georgia Genealogical Society (CGGS) has published the 1821 to 1840 Houston County, GA Land Record series. There are 5 books in all, and they are extremely helpful in performing the early research of Land Records in Houston County, GA. If your local genealogy library doesn't have these books, information about this series of books can be obtained at: http://www.cggs.org

The books are listed under the Resources portion of this webpage.

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Inferior Court Minutes

This email list and almost every other sort of query media, contains extensive pleas for someone to help us get past our brickwalls. Big sledge hammers are helpful, but shovels work best.

After searching for years through the very basics of Genealogy 101 (Census, Cemeteries, Bibles, Marriages, Wills, Obituaries, etc.) we throw up our hands in despair, and expect that somehow, someday, the answer will arrive in our emails or snail mails. In a small percentage of cases, this may happen, but it is not very likely.

The researchers who find the "real nugget of gold" about their families, are those who take the time and efforts to really dig for it. Once you have ascertained a general time period and location of where your family resided, it is time to zero in on the real facts about them.

Over the years, I have dug through literally thousands of pages of court records, and they are jammed full of genealogical data. But, the "real gold" is in the Inferior Court Minutes.

The Inferior Court has also been called the Court of Ordinary and the Probate Court. Generally speaking, the Minutes contain a description of the proceedings of that court. But, that's not all they contain. Actually, there is no particular set of rules of what they may contain in any given county. Take a look of what I have found in the Houston County Inferior Court Minutes:

1. WILLS: Do you think that the Wills are only in Will Books? Think again. Sometimes the only extant evidence of a Will, is hidden away in the Minutes of the Court, primarily because the Will was not sufficiently proven. This is especially true in the early years of the county.

2. NATURALIZATION RECORDS: If your ancestor was an immigrant, you may find a goldmine of treasure about him. The Naturalization process varied, but usually the immigrant had to live a certain period of time (about 10 years) in America before he could apply for citizenship. These records usually tell where & when he was born, who his parents were, when he was married, when and how he arrived in America, etc. I have seen up to 12 pages in the Minute books that dealt with only one individual.

3. MILITARY PENSION RECORDS: Although the National Archives in Washington D.C. has a ton of pension records, the local courthouses have their share too. And, unless you specifically ask for "all" of the files on your ancestor, when dealing with Washington D.C., you may only get a few pages. If you had a Revolutionary War veteran ancestor (or his widow) who lived to at least 1832, you may find a great deal about him in the Inferior Court Minutes. And, especially when he dies, you will find a lot. That is because his heirs had to just about give their life history to obtain the balance of their father's last pension payment.

4. EQUITY PROCEEDINGS: Sometimes, once an estate was settled, their were a lot of hard feelings among the heirs. Usually, because they felt that they did not get their fair share of the assets. The initial mention of this event may be listed in the Inferior Court Minutes. But, from there, it went to a higher appeals court. In Houston County, Proceedings In Equity were under the jurisdiction of the Flint River Circuit Court which met in Perry. These cases contain a lot of nitty gritty details that may make you blush. Primarily because the opposing parties were trying their best to diminish the character of their opponents. Usually, there are detailed names & dates mentioned.

The Inferior Court mainly handled what the County Commissioners now perform: road maintenance, bridge building, welfare of indigents, bastardy bonds, appeals to Superior Court, etc.

Back to my initial point. If you have already been through the Genealogy 101 portions of your research, it will be to your benefit to thoroughly search the Inferior Court Minutes. In Houston County, we are fortunate that William R. Henry abstracted these Minutes for the period that started around the beginning of the county in 1821, and up to around 1850. From that point on, you will have to dig for yourselves. But, Houston County is fortunate that their Inferior Court Minutes have an index of the primary parties in each case. A lot of counties don't have this index in the front of their Minute Books.

The LDS has microfilmed most of the pre-1900 Inferior Court Minutes for Houston Co., GA, so just about anyone is within reach of them. Or, if you don't live near an LDS Family History Center, the Georgia Archives will sell you the microfilm, once you get the written permission from the Probate Court Judge. For those of you who are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of the Houston County Courthouse, you can view the original records. Please be very careful when handling these record books, as many of them are almost falling apart by now.

You may also find list of Jurors for Inferior Court. The Grand Jury was selected from a pool of landowners who were held in high esteem in the community. The Petit Jury was chosen from those listed in the Tax Digest which included all men of military age whether they owned land or not.

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Superior Court

The Superior Court Minutes contain a lot of legal terms which most genealogists don't understand. They contained divorce, criminal, equity appeals, etc. These contain the lists of "drawn" jurors, both Grand and Petit, and the actual jurors selected sign off on the cases.

The Minute Book simply gives the names of the plaintiff and defendant and the verdict and amount of money of the decision. Sometimes the "type" of case is listed, i.e. trespass, complaint for rent.

But, the real info and transcript of the trial is contained in a case file or case transcript (State cases) record book. Those books are rarely ever microfilmed. However, I have found some of them for Houston Co., GA. You will usually have to go to the actual courthouse to dig up those records, as they are often stored away where most people can't find them.

Once a particular crime is committed, it is usually first mentioned in the Inferior Court Minutes, as being held over to the Superior Court's next meeting. It will usually give a good description of the charges, and list the witnesses who are being subpoenaed to testify.

The contemporary records are what the courthouse staff is concerned about. Extant and *ancient* records that genealogists are seeking, are something that the staff knows very little about (unless they are researchers as well).

The Grand Jury was selected from a pool of landowners who were held in high esteem in the community. The Petit Jury was chosen from those listed in the Tax Digest. Much of the Superior Court Minutes is devoted to the many pages of jury lists and verdicts of litigation.

If you can lay your hands on the actual case files or transcripts, that's where the "real meat" is at.

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Estray Books

You may also find some Estray Books in the Courthouse (some have been microfilmed). Here is what the Encyclopedia Americana (1949 edition) says about Estray:

ESTRAY: In law, any animal, the subject of property which is found at large without ostensible owner in any place other than the land of the owner. If found on private land, such an animal, in most jurisdictions, may be impounded at the cost of the owner. In some States, the finder of an estray may, after due advertisement, sell same at public or private sale, and the purchaser will acquire a good title therein. The proceeds of the sale, after the finder's expenses have been deducted, are as a general rule, paid into the town treasury.

In cases where there is almost no mention of a particular family in a county, the Estray Book Docket could yield some hint. And, most Estray Book Dockets are indexed. The Houston Co., GA Estray Book Docket covers from: 15 Oct 1836 to 7 Jan 1924, is 104 pages long, and has never been microfilmed. These books are usually located in the Probate Court.

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Land Lottery

For those of you who have utilized the Land Lottery info that is printed in THE FIRST 110 YEARS OF HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA (formerly THE HISTORY OF HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA), there are many errors.

I only discovered this in the past few days. For example:

Alexander Smith is listed as being the fortunate drawer of Land Lot 222 of the 8th Land District of *Houston County*. While there is, in fact an 8th Land District of Houston County, the Land Lots end at Lot # 180.

An examination of the 1829 Houston County Tax Digest revealed that Alexander Smith did, in fact own Land Lot 222 of the 8th Land District, but that this parcel was in *Troup County*, Georgia.

THE HISTORY OF HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA was compiled, edited and "sort-of published" in the 1930s. It was a group effort, primarily of historically concerned citizens who wanted to document and preserve their county's heritage. It is my opinion that one of them reviewed the Land Lottery data at the Georgia Archives, and then *misinterpreted* it. They abstracted the Fortunate Drawers who were residents *of* Houston County, not who drew Land Lots *in* Houston County. I've reviewed the extensive listing of *all* of the fortunate drawers of the land *in* Houston County. It lists the following:

Land Lot.

Land District.

Name of Fortunate Drawer.

County where they resided.

Captain's District they resided in.

Date of the Land Lottery Drawing.

When you are up against a "brick wall" with your genealogical research, it is imperative to check all of the primary sources, and not rely on published secondary sources. This is just a good example of perpetuating inaccuracies.

The information that is contained in the 5 volumes of LAND RECORDS OF HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Compiled by Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry *is* CORRECT. If you have access to a genealogy library that has these excellent publications, you would do well to review them. These publications are also available directly from the Central Georgia Genealogical Society (CGGS).

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Marriage Research

There are usually 2 dates on a Houston Co., GA marriage license: one for the date of the application, and another for the date that the marriage was performed. You can usually tell if a minister or a Justice of the Peace performed the marriage also.

Prior to the GA Code of around 1868, most GA counties kept their marriage records in no particular uniform arrangement. However, after 1868 and the Reconstruction Period, things started to fit a particular pattern of order.

Starting in the early 1900s, there was a detailed marriage application to fill out prior to marriage. This gave the names of the parents, where they were born, how old they were, etc. These records are locked in a long storage room in the basement of the courthouse.

For those who have the Houston Co., GA Marriage Record series of books which were published by the CGGS, you can take a *look* at what information was on some of the marriage licenses. Mr. Henry made a photocopy of some of those licenses, and included them in his books.

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 Migration Trails

In Central GA, Perry is known as the "Crossroads of Georgia". This isn't just because of the contemporary criss-crossing of Highways 41 & 341. Prior to Houston County's formation in 1821, this area of the state of Georgia was occupied by Indians. And, these Indians utilized major trails to travel between their settlements and hunting camps.

The primary 3 trails which crossed Houston Co., GA were:

  • 1. THE PECATONICA TRAIL: It passed through the states of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It commenced at a connection of THE LOWER CHEROKEE TRADER'S PATH, about halfway between Spartanburg, SC and Atlanta, GA. >From Atlanta, it proceeded South, just West of Macon, thru Perry, and then Americus, GA. It continued due South, and then crossed THE OLD TRADING PATH OF THE SOUTH about 75 miles south of Americus, and then proceeded to the East of Tallahassee, FL and directly to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • 2. THE LOWER CREEK TRADING PATH: It passed through the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, passing through Birmingham, Macon, & Augusta, with important connections which went to Savannah and St. Augustine, Florida.
    In Georgia, it took an almost straight line from Augusta to Macon, and then proceeded Northwest and West into Alabama past Anniston and thru Birmingham. From there, it went into Mississippi.
  • 3. THE MACON & MONTGOMERY TRAIL: This trail commenced at Macon, GA at a connection with THE LOWER CREEK TRADING PATH, then proceeded thru Perry and Columbus, GA into Montgomery, AL where it connected THE ALABAMA & MOBILE TRAIL and THE ALABAMA, CHOCTAW & NATCHEZ TRAIL.

These Migration Trails followed the lines of least resistance which was always a valuable feature in transportation or travel. They also avoided rough, stony ground and dense undergrowth. Several of the current Interstate Highways substantially follow these exact Migration Trails.

If there is enough interest, I may go into further detail of the various places in Georgia where these Migration Trails traversed. Because of the boundary changes of the Georgia counties, and the non-existence of many of the early towns, it would be best for me to refer to current cities and towns whereby these trails passed.

If you know the places your ancestors came from prior to residing in Houston Co., GA, and then where they may have went after leaving here, you can bet that they utilized these Migration Trails, especially if it was prior to the railroads being built.

It would be interesting for you to post to the Houston-L list, a brief outline of your ancestors' migration routes. For example, it may be something similar to:

NC > SC> Warren > Hancock > Twiggs > Houston > Muscogee Co., GA, and then into Alabama and Texas.


While compiling our Family Histories, we are often concerned only with establishing the "bare bones of our pedigree charts". Those of us who aren't content with this method, know that there is a lot more information available about our families, and newspapers are a *great source* of genealogical material.

In Houston County, the first official newspaper (legal organ) of the county, was the FORT VALLEY MIRROR. This newspaper was established sometime in the 1860s by the elite class of families who migrated there from South Carolina during the 1830s thru 1850s. However, there was a certain animosity which existed between Fort Valley and Perry, both of which were Houston County towns.

So, in December 1870, THE HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL was established, and soon became the legal organ of the county. This newspaper is still in existence today, almost 130 years later.

If you want to add some "real meat" to the bare bones of your pedigree charts, you will really *enjoy* reading the very early issues of THE HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL. Besides the obvious birth, marriage and death notices, there are many other portions which yield genealogical *gold* to determined researchers. The society page, the legal notices, the monthly court case listing, the listing of jurors, etc., will give you plenty of *ingredients* to "stuff your turkey".

The HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL newspapers from 1870, and up to the 1980s, have been microfilmed by the University of Georgia. Although there are many reels of microfilm of the HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL, the period of 1870 through 1900 are included on nine reels, as follows:

1. 17 Dec 1870 thru Jun 1874.

2. Jul-Dec 1874, 5 Jan 1877, 26 Jan 1877 thru Apr 1880.

3. May 1880 thru 12 Jul 1883.

4. 19 Jul 1883 thru 16 Sep 1886.

5. 23 Sep 1886 thru Jul 1889.

6. Aug 1889 thru Oct 1892.

7. Nov 1892 thru Mar 1896.

8. Apr 1896 thru Jul 1899.

9. Aug 1899 thru Nov 1901.

As you can see, there is a serious *gap* from January 1875 thru January 1877, where there are *no* newspapers microfilmed. We are lucky that this is the only portion missing.

In Summer of 1999, I went through *every* bound volume of the HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL at the Houston County Probate Court, as well as the 130-degree attic of the HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL newspaper office. Many of the early newspapers at the Probate Court have been eaten by silver fish and various other pulp-eating insects. The attic of the HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL newspaper office, had almost no issues prior to the early 1880s.

It's a good thing that these newspapers have now been microfilmed, because a lot of Houston County's early recorded history could have *easily* been "lost in oblivion".

Most all public libraries have a microfilm reading machine for you to use. Some of you more *addicted* genealogists may actually have your *own* readers.

If you would like to purchase your own microfilmed reels of the HOUSTON HOME JOURNAL newspaper, you may do so for $28 per reel, as of 1999. Please allow 1 to 3 weeks for delivery. For further information, please contact:

ATHENS, GA  30602-1641
PHONE: (706)-542-2131

EMAIL: ccbrown@arches.uga.edu

Published Resources

Those of us who live in central Georgia are really spoiled with the abundance of records available at the Houston County Courthouse, Washington Memorial Library, and the Perry Library local history room.

For those of you who do not have access to these publications, you may not even be aware that they exist. Therefore, I have compiled what I believe is a comprehensive listing of these research publications. If I have missed any, please bring it to our attention.

1. 1830 Federal Census for Houston Co., GA: William R. Henry.

2. 1840 Federal Census for Houston Co., GA: William R.  Henry.

3. 1850 Federal Census for Houston Co., GA: William R. Henry.

4. 1860 Federal Census for Houston Co., GA: Addie P. Howell & William R.Henry.

5. 1825-1898 Marriage Records for Houston Co., GA: William R. Henry.

6. 1898-1919 Marriage Records for Houston Co., GA: William R. Henry.

7. 1821-1855 Wills & Inferior Court Minutes for Houston Co., GA: William R. Henry.

8. 1824-1834 Miscellaneous Estate Records for Houston Co., GA: William R.Henry.

9. 1822-1829 Land Records of Houston Co., GA: Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry.

10. 1829-1831 Land Records of Houston Co., GA: Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry.

11. 1831-1834 Land Records of Houston Co., GA: Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry.

12. 1834-1836 Land Records of Houston Co., GA: Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry.

13. 1836-1840 Land Records of Houston Co., GA: Davine V. Campbell & William R. Henry.

14. Cemeteries & Obituaries of Houston Co., GA: Addie P. Howell.

15. Evergreen Cemetery Tombstone Transcripts 1827-1997: William A. Mills.

16. Oaklawn Cemetery, Fort Valley, GA 1850-1992: Guelda L. Hay, Millie C.Stewart & Davine V. Campbell.
    [Peach Co., GA was created in 1924 from Houston & Macon counties.  The county seat is Fort Valley].

17. A History of Houston Co., GA 1821-1934: Warren Grice.

18. First Hundred and Ten Years of Houston Co., GA: 
    Central Georgia Genealogical Society [This is a reprint of A History of Houston Co., GA,
    and also includes a section on the early schools, as well as a full name index].

19. Administrators & Guardians Bond Abstracts 1821-1851: William A. Mills.  
      [This publication is still being compiled].

20. Administrators & Guardians Bond Abstracts 1852-1870: William A. Mills.

21. Administrators & Guardians Bond Abstracts 1871-1900: William A. Mills.

22. A Land So Dedicated: Bobbe Nelson.

There have been some publications which deal strictly with Warner Robins, GA and Robins Air Force Base. However, since this city did not exist prior to World War II, the time period of 1941 to the present does not interest most genealogists.

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Road Names in Houston County

This post is primarily for those who don't live anywhere near Houston Co., GA, and have *never* been here. I have compiled a list of roads which are named after the various families of Houston County. Some of these roads may give an indication of *where* a particular family lived in the early days.

I have included the names of the roads which refer to churches, so that if that church no longer exists, at least you know it *was there* at one time.

Since most of Peach Co., GA was included in Houston Co., GA up until 1924, I have included that county, as well as Fort Valley.

Houston County was a *huge* county at the time of its creation in 1821. However, in 1822, portions of it were "whittled away" and added to Bibb & Crawford Counties, GA. In 1828, another section was added to Pulaski Co., GA. In 1837, Macon Co., GA was created, which took a huge portion of the western territory of Houston County.

For all intents & purposes, my listing of roads contains the makeup of Houston Co., GA from 1837 up until the present day. I have divided the county into various sections. Since some of the roads are located in more than one section of the county, there are several instances where that road is listed in more than one section of my listing.

I have done my best to include all of the roads which refer to the families which have lived in this county in the early days. However, it is very likely that I have missed a few.


Baker Road

Bass Road

Booth Road

Brantley Road

Chadwick Road

Corder Road

Crestview Church Road

Dunbar Road

Feagin Mill Road

Giles Road

Gunn's Farm Road

Hatcher Road

Jerusalem Church Road

Johns Road

Johnson Road

Kersey Road

Leverett Road

Oak Grove Church Road

Page Road

Scarborough Road

Shallowford Road

Simmons Road

Smithville Church Road

Story Road

Thomson Road

Weaver Road

Wellborn Road


Ammons Road

Arena Road

Barrett Road

Beulah Church Road

Bunn Road

Cullen Road

Davidson Road

Davis Road

Duke Road

Ellis Road

Farr Road

Felton Road

Flournoy Road

Fosson Road

Franklin Road

Fuller Road

Gilbert Road

Graham Road

Gray Road

Griffin Road

Gurr Road

Hardin Road

Harner Road

Harper Road

Hay Road

Heard Road

Henson Road

Hodge Road

Howey Road

Hunt Road

Kersey Road

Keyes Road

Kings Chapel Road

Kovac Road

Langston Road

Lashley Road

Moody Road

Morton Road

Newberry Road

Pitts Road

Pyles Road

Richardson Road

Roberts Road

Sanderfur Road

Sasser Road

Scott Road

Sewell Road

Short Road

Solomon Road

Story Road

Talton Road

Thompson Mill Road

Thompson Road

Tidwell Road

Todd Road

Toomer Road

Tucker Road

Whitfield Road

Whitworth Road

Williams Road

Wimberly Road

Woodard Road

Woolfolk Road


Allen Street

Ansley Street

Baird Drive

Baker Street

Ball Street

Carroll Street

Cater Street

Cooper Street

Davis Avenue

Duncan Avenue

Edwards Street

Gardner Drive

Gilmer Street

Gordon Street

Gordy Street

Gray Road

Gurr Road

Haliburton Street

Hamstead Circle

Harper Road

Hicks Road

Hill Road

Horton Street

Jernigan Street

Langston Road

Lawson Drive

Lee Street

Linden Street

Mason Terrace

Riley Street

Rogers Street

Ross Street

Roughton Street

Rutherford Drive

Sewell Circle

Smith Drive

Smoak Avenue

Swift Street

Talton Place

Thompson Road

Todd Road

Tolleson Street

Tucker Road


Allred Road

Andel Road

Avera Road

Barker Road

Barrow Road

Bateman Road

Borders Road

Brock Road

Bryan Road

Burnett Road

Cliett Road

Doles Road

Duke Road

Friendship Church Road

Fulwood Road

Giles Road

Hardison Road

Harper Road

Hartley Road

Hendrick Road

Holland Road

Houser's Mill Road

Irby Road

Joyner Road

Lane Road

Mathews Road

Mosley Road

Murray Road

Norwood Springs Road

Sledge Road

Smith Road

Suber Road

Sullivan Road

Tabor Road

Taylor's Mill Road

Trussel Road

Union Church Road

Vinson Road

White Road

Woolfolk Road


Allen Street

Anderson Avenue

Avera Drive

Barrett Drive

Braswell Street

Brooks Boulevard

Bryant Drive

Calhoun Street

Carver Drive

Cliett Street

Cobb Road

Culler Street

Davidson Drive

Davis Street

Duncan Street

Edward Street

Emory Street

Everett Square

Fagan Street

Farley Drive

Franklin Boulevard

George Avenue

Hampton Street

Hardeman Avenue

Harris Street

Hartley Street

Hiley Street

Hinton Street

Holmes Street

Holsey Street

Howard Street

Hunt Street

Jacobs Alley

Jones Alley

King Street

Lamar Street

Lavender Street

Leighton Avenue

Love Street

Lowe Street

Marion Avenue

Mathews Street

McGee Street

Miller Avenue

Monroe Street

Moore Street

Murray Road

Neil Street

Pearson Mill Road

Persons Street

Powell Street

Ricks Lane

Riley Avenue

Ross Alley

Schley Street

Smith Street

Snow Street

Spalding Street

Spencer Street

Spillers Street

Troutman Avenue

Vinson Drive

Walden Street

White Street

Wilson Lane

Wood Street

Tax Digest

How many of you are taking advantage of all of the excellent genealogical information that is contained in the Tax Digests for the counties that you are researching?

In Georgia, taxes were levied on free white males over age 21, and slaves aged 21 to 60. These people were referred to as "polls". The tax records in each county are divided by Militia District.

There are a variety of published Tax Digests for various Georgia counties, but primarily they are for the early years. For example, SOME EARLY TAX DIGESTS OF GEORGIA (1790-1818) by Ruth Blair, 1926, is available via LDS Microfiche # 6046883. Another excellent publication is AN INDEX TO GEORGIA TAX DIGEST (5 volumes) by The Reprint Co., 1986.

If you haven't taken a look at the types of info that is contained on an *actual* Tax Digest for the county that you are researching, you are in for a real treat! It's not just a listing of a bunch of names, polls, and the amounts to be paid to the Tax Receiver. Far from it!

I'll just give you an example of what can be found on the 1829 Houston Co., GA Tax Digest:

1. Captain's District (Militia District).

2. Name of person taxed.

3. Acres of pine land.

4. Acres of oak & hickory land.

5. Quality # of acreage.

6. County where the land resides.

7. Land District number.

8. Land Lot number.

9. Stock & Trade.

10. Town Lots & value.

11. Gigs & carriages.

12. Stallions.

13. Polls.

14. Slaves.

15. Dollars & cents due for tax.

In cases where there may be two people with the same name in a particular county, during the same time period, the Tax Digest could be a major help to you. Since you have probably already checked out the Land Records (Deeds, etc.) you can usually match up the person from the Tax Digest, since it shows which land he owned. And the legal description of that land will show the County, Land District and Land Lot numbers. And that's not all. You may be surprised to find that your ancestor also owned land in *other* Georgia counties. This may give you just the clue that you need to find out *where* he came from, and where he later *went*.

Since the Federal Census was taken only every 10 years since 1790, the Tax Digests can fill in a lot of blanks in between. It can help you determine when a person either died, or left the county.

Unless the Tax Digest has been abstracted and published, generally speaking, they are not indexed. This means that you will have to search thru them "page by page", to find the name(s) you are looking for. That is really not as hard as it seems. Since you are probably used to scanning for names on Census Records, it usually doesn't take more than an hour or so to perform.

The 1829 Houston Co., GA Tax Digest is 103 pages long, but 2 pages are utilized to contain all of the data for the tax payers. And since there are 44 lines per page, that means that there were about 2,300 tax payers listed on that Tax Digest.

The amount of Tax Digests that are available for your particular county of interest, may vary. In Houston Co., GA, there are the following extant Tax Digests at the courthouse in Perry, GA: 1829, 1831-1835, 1837-1839, 1841-44, 1845-48, 1848-50, 1853, 1856-60, 1863, 1864 & 1869. These Tax Digests have all been microfilmed by the Georgia Archives. Also, a lot of them have been microfilmed by the LDS.

To ascertain which Tax Digests have been microfilmed by the LDS, for your county of interest, you can access the LDS Family History Catalog (FHLC) Locality Catalog. If you access it via microfiche at an LDS Family History Center (FHC), it is color coded with a yellow strip at the top of the microfiche. If you access it thru the www.familysearch.org LDS website, you may or may not be able to locate it. It is there, but there are several steps necessary to locate it.

If the LDS has not microfilmed the Tax Digests for the years that you are interested in, it has probably been microfilmed by the Georgia Archives. This microfilm is available for purchase, once you obtain the permission of the Probate Judge or other steward of those records, from that particular county. In 1998, the cost was $20 per microfilm reel. More info may be obtained at: http://sos.georgia.gov/archives/. Many of the major genealogy libraries throughout the U.S. have microfilm collections of Tax Digests, especially the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT.

Once you see how valuable the info is that is contained on the Tax Digests, and if you really feel ambitious and energetic, perhaps you will consider this: If you abstract, index and compile a Tax Digest for a Georgia County, The R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation of Atlanta, GA *may* approve a grant for you to have this compilation published. For more information about the Taylor Foundation, please check this website: http://www.taylorfoundation.org

The plain fact of the matter is, that most people hardly ever utilize the original Tax Digests, and in most cases, that is all that is available for now. Until and *if ever*, the Tax Digests are published for your particular county of interest, I highly recommend that you access these valuable genealogical records *somehow*. Your time and efforts will very likely yield you excellent results in your genealogical endeavors.

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LDS Microfilm on Houston County

Be sure to visit the sites below for the actual listing of the microfilm available for Houston County. These are divided into 3 separate pages.

Microfilm listing with Order numbers
Microfilm listing with Order numbers
Microfilm listing with Order numbers

The following is an outline of some of the LDS Records, as well as how I have utilized them for several years.

LDS MICROFICHE RECORDS: You can either view these microfiche at any Family History Center throughout the world, or purchase them for yourself, at 15 cents per sheet. Most Public Libraries have a microfiche reader, or you can purchase a used one for less than $75. If you want to purchase LDS Microfiche, follow these directions:

Call 1-800-537-5950 and order these FREE order forms. Tell them that all of your items are FREE items.

 # 33360 Order forms

 # 31874 FHL catalog order form for microfiche

 # 31791 IGI order form for microfiche

 # 34083 Family history publications list order form

Order about 5 copies of each item. When you receive the order forms, you can purchase the microfiche for 15 cents each, plus S&H.

1. International Genealogical Index (IGI): Millions & millions of names. You will not find dates of death on this index. But, did you know that your ancestor's name is not even on this index unless a member of the LDS has performed an LDS ordinance for your ancestor? There are a variety of ordinances which they perform besides Baptisms. Each Microfiche sheet has about 40,000 names on it.

2. Locality Catalog: This shows you what types of records have been microfilmed for a particular locality. The microfilm numbers relate to the reels, which have the actual documents microfilmed.

3. Surname Catalog: This shows you which books that a particular surname are listed in, even if the title may not include your particular surname. Through these records, I was able to find 2 books that included my direct lineage, and I had no idea that they were ever published. Many of these books are also available to rent via microfilm from the LDS.

4. Author, Subject & Title Catalog: This catalog is MASSIVE! A listing of just about everything regarding family history in the entire world.

As you may or may not know, a lot of this info is also available on www.familysearch.org . But, this website has a lot of traffic, and I find it much easier to get a bird's eye view via microfiche. Also, the microfiche allows you to see various codes, which gives you many more clues in your research.

Everyone who is on this list, does not have access to the web. I, for example, am writing this email to you, via a 486 computer that has only email access on it.

I am not affiliated with the LDS in any way. However, I do know that they have the largest collection of genealogical records in the entire world. They are the ones who created GEDCOM & the first genealogy software called PAF. They are also the ones who started the massive microfilming projects during the 1940s. If it wasn't for their efforts, I could not have found a lot of what I have, unless I visited the actual courthouses & State Archives.

When I am satisfied that I have collected a large amount of information on one of my particular lineages, here is what I do:

I submit a GEDCOM diskette to the LDS Ancestral File, and then I print out a hard copy of narrative about these folks, and organize & index it in book form. Many of today's genealogy software programs will do this for you.

I send this hard copy to the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT, and they have it hard bound for their library's circulation.

I also give the LDS the right to microfilm my book, so that someone else who is looking for this info, will be able to find it, maybe 50 years from now.

Everything that I submitted to the LDS Ancestral File in 1995, is now available for others to download via www.familysearch.org . The main fruits of our genealogical efforts is the ability to SHARE with others.

You often hear a lot about how inaccurate the LDS records are. But, in genealogy, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. Do you think that you have actual "proof" of anything? Think about it. The only real proof of your ancestors, is if you have a video tape of you being born, and then, you would only know who your mother was. While people were giving depositions in court, responding to census enumerators, and giving information about the deceased on a death certificate, do you think that everything that they stated was accurate? Not to mention, the massive amount of errors that you can find in newspaper obituaries, as well as tombstones at cemeteries. The best that we can do, is to measure the whole pile of "evidence", and try to make a conclusion based on this.

The LDS should be commended for providing most of this information to us for FREE, or for such a ridiculously low price, that it only compensates them for their actual costs. Their Family History Publications List has several research supplies for FREE or almost nothing, such as:

 1. List of Family History Centers.

 2. Ancestral File info.

 3. Family History Research.

 4. Foreign Language Helps.

 5. Software & resources.

 6. Research Outlines for: British Isles, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Scandinavia,

 Asia/South Pacific.

 7. Research Outlines for every State in the US. These cost 50 cents each, and give great

 details on every phase or research within that state.

 8. Family Group Records & Pedigree Charts.

 9. Research Logs. Cost is $2.25 for 100 sheets.

 10.Census Work Sheets. Cost is 4 cents each.

 11. US Military Records Research Outline. Cost is 50 cents.

 12. US Genealogical Research Outline. Cost is $1.


2000 Copyright - William A. Mills

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