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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Old Chatham County Wills 1777-1861 Digitized

 You will save yourself a lot of time if you know which records to search first. Generally speaking, we interview relatives, search old family bibles and visit cemeteries.  Next,  are the census records, and finally the major source of all genealogical discoveries:  county records. My first choice is a search of the old wills because this is the fastest route to discovering the names of heirs and other relatives. Georgia Pioneers has digitized millions of old wills in Georgia counties.

The images are in the PDF format. The user has the choice to use the zoom lens. It is very easy to view on any computer, and the iphone. When you login to the site, click on "Wills"' then "Chatham County" which lists all of the wills available to view, as well as a card index file of extracted notes on the colonial documents. A time saver, since Chatham County records are so extensive.
To view a will image, click on the link  for whatever time period and see a list of the names of the testators. Next,  click on the name you want and the pdf image opens onto your screen. Then, you can zoom in or out on the entire document, or on certain words.  It is that simple. 

The lwt provides the names of heirs but a true history of that person's life. For example, the oldest county in Georgia is Chatham County, and all of those records survived. Many of the first colonial wills are 50 pages long, or more. And that is because the will includes all of the business affairs of that person. In colonial days, of necessity the planter created his own economy, one which combined with the operations of his neighbors, and helped to build communities and towns. These long and tedious wills inventory every item on the farm as well as tge details of other plantations or tracts of land .  It included notes given by neighbors for borrowed money owed the testator, and many such details about his day to day business. The testators bequeathed a lifetime of labor and enterprise to his heirs and relatives. If you have an ancestor who resided in Savannah, you will want to see his life unfold before you in these old documents. Your history waiting to be uncovered,

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