Mary B. Warren, the ‘dean of Georgia genealogists,’ dies at age 91

040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)
040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

Mary Bondurant Warren was the dean of Georgia genealogists.

For more than half a century, she was active in documenting Georgia’s history and ferreting out genealogical records. When I was invited to write this column in 1977, she gave her support. She was my friend for more than 45 years until her death on April 16 at the age of 91.

She lived in Athens and started documenting the city’s history in the early 1960s, wrote a weekly newspaper column there from 1962-1967 and, in 1964, began the weekly genealogy publication, Family Puzzlers, always chocked full of information and queries from subscribers. It ran until 1997.

In the decades before newspaper digitization, her “Marriages and Deaths,1763 to 1820” and her 1820-1830 volume were important source materials. Many of her books covered the records of colonial Georgia and were great sources for historians as well as genealogists. Her last series was on British Georgia and much of the research was done in person at the British National Archives at Kew. Heritage Papers, her publishing house, will be continued by her family.

She was an advocate for open records in Georgia. She won many awards, including those for lifetime achievement from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board, the Athens Historical Society and the Georgia Genealogical Society. Her contribution to Georgia genealogy for the past 50-odd years is immeasurable. Her most lasting legacy may be her support and encouragement of others as they entered the field. Check out her many publications at the Georgia Archives and other genealogy collections.

Clare Isanhour dies

Clare Isanhour, namesake of the genealogy room at the Smyrna Public Library, died on March 8, at the age of 92. She was a longtime supporter of the genealogy collection in Smyrna and helped to boost its size, especially the Virginia sources.

Don’t make gender assumptions

First names can be deceiving. So don’t assume, based on today’s names, that Hillary or Miranda was a woman. Beverly was a man’s name, as was Shirley.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or www.kenthomasongenealogy.com.

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