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05 February 2017

A Super Bowl of Links: Atlanta (and Georgia)

This is part two of my 2017 Super Bowl links. The New England links are here.

I'm going to try to keep my cool and not give you every Georgia link I have saved. We would be here for ever and many are too specific to be of interest to the majority of Georgia researchers.




Georgia Archive's Virtual Vault 
This is a treasure trove of Georgia digital images and finding aids.

Some of my favorite digital images are the digitized maps. There are several collections of them. These include historic county maps, land lottery maps, and headright maps and probably some others I have forgotten. I like maps and this is my first stop for Georgia maps.

My favorite finding aids are the digitized card catalogs. This may not be what you'd expect. The Archives literally scanned the cards and it's a PDF where you flip through the cards. There are multiple collections of these, too. Each collection corresponds to a collection in the physical card catalog (which you still use for microfilm when on-site). This isn't the fastest way to search for microfilm (books and original records have digital catalogs like you're used to which is faster to search). I like to browse so I don't mind the digitized card catalog because I can browse it just like a physical card catalog.

There's lots more in the Virtual Vault, so check it out.

Atlanta History Center Collections
Check both the Atlanta History Center website and FamilySearch.org (the link goes directly to the Atlanta History Center collection which is "Georgia, Fulton County Records from..."). The FamilySearch collection is by no means everything from the Center. If you have Atlanta ancestors, check these out.

Atlanta newspapers
I find the Georgia online digitized newspapers underwhelming but that may be because my entire family is from here. If you want Atlanta newspapers, check Georgia Historic Newspapers from the Digital Library of Georgia, Fold3, and Newspapers.com. GenealogyBank also has obituaries from 1985 to the present plus some sporadic historic Atlanta papers but not a consistent run nor a major paper. There is some overlap of Atlanta paper availability so search each place as the search functions work differently.

Georgia newspapers
You've got to check each site with digitized newspaper as all of them seem to have a Georgia paper, maybe several, but no one stands out. The closest is the Georgia Historic Newspapers from the Digital Library of Georgia. To use it, I go to the Digital Library of Georgia site and then "Browse by Media Type" and check out everything under "Newspapers." This collection is actively updated so it pays to check for new collections. Also in the Digital Library is one of my personal favorites, newspaper clippings from Gordon County, Georgia.

Historical Atlas of Georgia Counties We have A LOT of counties for a state our size (we have a lot of counties period). This will give you the history of the county creation and boundary changes plus links to multiple historic maps. If you're researching in Georgia, just use it.

Deeds/Deed indexes
In Georgia, land was cheap (and still is, relatively speaking). We have a very agrarian background so if you have Georgia ancestors, you are likely to need deeds. Many counties are putting deeds online but you have to check for the individual counties. Often for early 20th century or earlier, you will only get an index. It still saves you a TON of time to use these online before doing research on-site or hiring someone.

These records are usually online through the county clerk's office but if you search for the county name "ga" and "deeds" or "property records" you will usually get the result (if they are online) within the first five results. Make sure you read the description or instructions for each site. Some show a date range or say "all" deeds but historic deeds (or indexes) are not available or need to be used differently.

Georgia tax digests The collection of these on Ancestry.com is extensive. It is called "Property Tax Digests" but each one I've ever used includes those who owed the poll tax, too (you will need to check the laws for the time period to determine if your ancestor should be included, it's faster just to search and figure out why they aren't listed, later).

There are a lot of missing tax digests in Georgia, though. Most of the 19th-century ones have been digitized on Ancestry.com (some are free in the Virtual Vault, see the first link). However, the collection on Ancestry.com is not all the available tax digests. Use those on Ancestry from the comfort of home or at your local library. Then use the Georgia Archive's online "Finding Aids" to identify other extant digests. You can browse by county or search for "tax digests."

You may be able to get some of the non-digitized digests on microfilm from your local Family History Center. What was digitized was original records, I've used un-digitized microfilmed digests. [note, the link is to the state-wide collection on Ancestry.com, there are also a number of county-level tax records for Georgia, search Ancestry's card catalog for keywords "Georgia" and "tax"]

General bonus
Not too long ago I heard about digitized records that were only accessible through the FamilySearch Catalog (previously digitized records were only under the "Records" tab). I've now heard some people prefer to start by searching the catalog for digitized records rather than starting at the "Records" tab. If it shows up under the "Records" tab, it will be linked in the catalog so this idea won't result in missing anything. Another advantage of using the catalog is you can see what else exists that isn't digitized. Records only accessible through the catalog are not searchable, you must browse, as you have to with so many collections on FamilySearch.

This is just a small selection of the available Georgia and Atlanta genealogy links. I've tried to give some of the broadest collections. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Georgia genealogy links.



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