Georgia wills listed in two new books

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

Wills are some of the most important sources for genealogists, and Ted O. Brooke has long been the go-to person for information on Georgia wills.

In 1976 he published the first listing of Georgia’s wills up to 1860. Now, decades later, he has revised and expanded his work as well as compiled a second volume listing Georgia wills to 1900.

“Georgia Will Directory 1733-1860” is a list of those who wrote wills (or testators) from Colonial times until the eve of the Civil War. It contains 15,271 will references, 800 more than Brooke’s earlier work. In his introduction he discusses each county and the situation with wills found there. For each will, the citation includes the name, county, date, book and page.

Most of these wills can be viewed online via Familysearch.org, by visiting the Georgia Archives, or at the county courthouse, but this book is the only guide to where to locate them.

Brooke’s second book, “Georgia Will Directory 1861-1900,” covers the last 40 years of the 19th century, with the same information included on each will as outlined above and with the same county glossary. There are 20,000 wills referenced in this new book.

These are two of the most important works published on Georgia genealogical sources in the past 40 years and should be a part of any serious genealogist’s library. Georgia is very lucky to have had someone as determined as Brooke working on these resources.

The books were published with a grant from the R.J. Taylor Jr. Foundation. They are available for $35 each postpaid (if ordered together, the cost is $60 postpaid) from Ted O. Brooke, 2055 Foster Dr., Cumming, GA 30040.

Historical documents online

Historical documents can be found on two important sites online.

Check www.founders.archives.gov to see the published papers of Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Washington in one location.

Also, at the University of Georgia’s Digital Library of Georgia, Civil War-era documents from the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society and UGA can be viewed. Search for “America’s Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia.”

Family history

Genealogy is the study of family history, but some people don’t realize that. So help pass the word that your interest in genealogy is really about family history.