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Abstracts are helpful, but find original records when doing research

With so many abstracts and transcripts of records out there, researchers frequently aren’t getting all the information that’s available.

These works can be good leads, but they are incomplete. By definition, an abstract is someone else’s summary of a document. The information left out could be just the nugget you need.

In researching the digitized comprehensive deed index covering 200 years in one North Carolina county, I realized a key deed that I had seen in a family history document was not there. In that deed, my ancestor’s mother gave her a slave in 1792. Had I not known that the deed existed, I would have missed it. So how many others are left out of the index? Thankfully, that county has a number of published books covering deeds and estates. But those abstractors also left out things like the names of slaves, adjacent land owners and other details.

You have to go back to the originals. For that county, they are digitized and online at FamilySearch.org for free, as are many county records around the country, up to roughly the year 1900. For newspaper abstracts, you also need to check the originals. You might not know if anything was left out until you check.

East View Cemetery booklet

“History of East View Cemetery,” by Leroy W. Gardner, is a 26-page look at this privately owned cemetery off Memorial Drive in the East Lake area of DeKalb County. Gardner has provided a history of the creation of East View in 1884. This came about after Oakland Cemetery filled up. Around this same time, Westview, Southview and Crestlawn (Northview) Cemeteries were also started. This booklet is a narrative of the land’s history from 1821 until the present, with several plats of the cemetery. It is not a recording of burials. It is available for $10 plus $5 postage to raise funds to maintain the cemetery, which is managed by an unpaid volunteer board. Send checks to East View Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 3572, Lilburn, GA 30048-3572. See eastviewcemetery.org.

Social Media and genealogy

Family Tree Magazine’s March/April 2020 issue, on newsstands now, has a great article on “Fan Favorites,” by Rachel Fountain. It details social media sites related to genealogy. Many are through Facebook, including one related to “Evidence Explained” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, the leading genealogy documentation expert.

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Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.