Georgia’s founding, 287 years ago, celebrated this month

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AJC file photo

It was on February 12, 1733 that General James Edward Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia, named for King George II of England.

Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Oglethorpe County in northeast Georgia and the town of Oglethorpe in Macon County bear the founder’s name. Brunswick, founded in 1771, bears one of the other names used by the House of Hanover, the Royal House at the time. Augusta, founded in 1736, was named for the Princess of Wales, who married George II’s son, Frederick, that year. Many of Savannah’s streets retain names related to colonial times, such as Abercorn and Bull.

The Georgia Historical Society in Savannah hosts the Georgia History Festival annually to celebrate the founding. Its website ( has many things helpful to those teaching Georgia history. Check the research section for digitized documents from the society’s collection. It also manages the state’s historical marker program. The society’s headquarters is temporarily closed for renovations until later this year, so researchers will have to wait.

GHS has a wealth of information from all eras of Georgia history. The Georgia Archives ( in Morrow has a copy of the Georgia Charter that is often displayed during this time. The archives’ collections, many of which are online, contains the colonial and early statehood records of Georgia’s founding and expansion. Check the Virtual Vault to see the vast number of documents available there to use for researching all aspects of Georgia history and genealogy.

Governor Kemp’s colonial Georgia roots

Gov. Brian P. Kemp, an Athens native, has deep roots in Colonial Georgia, being descended through his maternal grandmother from the Habershams of early Georgia. His direct ancestor, James Habersham, arrived in Savannah in 1738 and assisted Governor Wright in the running of the colony. There’s a lot of data about Habersham online. Through the Habershams, the governor is also descended from Barrington King and his father, Roswell King. His other colonial lines link him to the Georgia Salzburgers who arrived in 1734.

Georgia as an English Colony

Search for “Georgia as an English Colony, 1732-1775” to find a timeline of early Georgia on UGA’s site.

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