Don’t overlook defunct counties when doing genealogy research

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AJC file photo

Here’s something for researchers to consider when searching for genealogy information — defunct counties.

Records could exist from locations that predate today’s counties. I recently joined the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County, in North Carolina, because of an article in the latest issue of its bulletin. The organization’s mission is to emphasize the history of Tryon County, which existed from 1769 to 1779 and covered a territory now divided into a number of counties west of Charlotte/Mecklenburg. It could be easily overlooked by researchers. The bulletin has been published for 45 years and has excellent articles. The website leads researchers to several books on the original county and on successor counties and has links to documents and databases. The society’s address is P.O. Box 938, Forest City, N.C., 28043. Its library is at 319 Doggett Road.

Bute County, N.C., is similar, lasting from 1764 to 1779 before being divided into Franklin and Warren. Records for Bute exist and some have been published. In Georgia, what’s now greater Fulton County was created in 1931, absorbing Campbell (1828-1931), on which a lot of books have been published using original records, and Milton (1857-1931). Records from those two counties are on microfilm at the Georgia Archives and at

So, know the territory your ancestors lived in and the history of the counties. Always check to see if previous counties left records and if historical and genealogical societies have focused on that previous history.

Ancestral Wanderer subject of Lunch and Learn on May 10

The Georgia Archives Lunch and Learn topic for May 10 will be “The Ancestral Wanderer: In Search of a New Beginning.” The speaker will be Dr. Nydia Hanna, Ph.D., professor, pharmacist and genetic genealogist. The event is at noon and is free, but bring your own lunch. For further information, call 678-364-3710, or check For more on the speaker, see the website for the Association of Professional Genealogists at

Living DNA update

After mentioning LivingDNA in last week’s column, I received a clarification on test takers/customers: “The majority of Living DNA’s customer base comes from the United States with 51% of total sales, followed by the UK (United Kingdom) at 29%, Australia at 6%, EU (European Union) at 6%, Canada at 4%, New Zealand at 1% and the rest of the world at under 3%. Living DNA’s laboratory, Aksogen, is based in Atlanta.” See for more.

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