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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hoofing it for Genealogy

Mars Hill Presbyterian Church, Acworth. The old church is on Georgia Pionees.com 


Revolutionary War Soldier, John Collins, buried here. These were his neighbors, friends



























Real-time genealogical research is very much alive and kicking.  There are tons of things to do in the field to find ancestors. A census record only goes so far, its practical application of acquiring names dates between 1850 and 1940.   And those names need to be verified with other sources. For example you might have a Mary Smith. Well, there are 3 or more Mary Smith's in the county where you are searching. You need to get the full name, an initial, or something, to verify that you have the correct person. So many times the same person is listed from census year to census year (10 year period) in peculiar ways. A suggestion is to use persons born in the same year during the census years. If you are able to grab them on the 1880 census, the month of birth is available. This is important, because, I the old days when the parent has used a family name or favorite name, when one child died young, the parent would assign the same name to the next born child. This practice was particularly preferred in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the family of Rev. William Franklin who founded the Brier Creek Church in Wilkes County, Georgia, he had a grandson who named successive children  the name Franklin.  Just like the Celtic cross is found on so many tombstones, people had their own method of carrying the family surname forward.  Further, cousins were also named after favorite family members. Thus, the keeping of a family group sheet on every family then becomes an essential record of clarification. Once you have it in perfect order, the identification of cousins is easier. And, most importantly, to keep yourself on the proper track.  Tombstones, church records, and other local field work are critical to maintaining accuracy.  There are so many problems. Your civil war ancestor might have been mustered out as A. G. Smith, or the first or last name.  The muster rolls must be carefully examined because A. G. Smith might be the same as A. George Smith.  One suggestion is to follow the camp designation and dates from one muster to the next. Also, how these dates stacked up to the dates of local battles.   Some of the Georgia Confederate Pensions are at the Cobb Library, Georgian Room, while the entire collection is at the Georgia State Archives in Morrow.  I use census records as a general guide line, realizing that children died and were married between the 10-year intervals.  Leg work will lead to definitive answers. Your relatives were not simply names. They lived a lifetime somewhere and committed all of their strengths to it.  I enjoy visiting the community where they resided, and getting a feel for all those years they worked so hard to make it easier for us.  Tombstones are fading, the slate ones are broken and buried in the dirt. Records of local churches disappear as though they never existed.  But there are some records tucked away somewhere and available for the asking.  Then there are the memories of the old folks in the community. I have discovered many Family historians in small towns. Everybody knows who they are.  They have information and pictures!  I have been given pictures of members of the community, only to discover years later that some of them were my own relatives, the younger version, or the seasoned face.

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