New books helpful on African-American history

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

Two new books compiled and edited by Michael A. Ports of Jacksonville contain copies of the Georgia laws from 1818 to 1834 relating to “free persons of color.”

“Georgia Free Persons of Color, Volume I” contains lists from Elbert, Hancock, Jefferson, Liberty and Warren Counties. “Volume II” contains lists from Appling, Camden, Clarke, Emanuel, Jones, Pulaski and Wilkes Counties, as well as Morgan County from an original manuscript at the Georgia Archives (though that county was omitted from the cover).

That volume includes legislative manumissions, or freeing of slaves. The author used the original county records on microfilm from the Georgia Archives, while the originals remain in the courthouses.

Each entry contains the name, age, place of nativity, residence, date the person came to Georgia, occupation and date of registration. Under occupation, some give the name of their employer, and some counties used this column to list the white person who was named guardian to the free person. (Under Georgia state law at the time, free persons of color had to have a guardian.)

These books are a very important source for African-American history, bringing to light a source that has long needed to be accessible. They also can help genealogists connected to either the free persons or their guardians find a link back to some other states, since nativity is listed.

The books could have used a table of contents giving the counties and pages where the listings start.

"Volume I" is available for $26.95 and "Volume II" for $19.95 plus postage from the Clearfield Co., 3900 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211 or genealogical.com.

First Families of Alabama

The Alabama Genealogical Society has a First Families of Alabama certificate program open to those with ancestors in Alabama prior to 1819. Check algensoc.org for details and information on other society activities.

Cobb County obituary project

An index to obituary and death notices from the Marietta Journal and Marietta Daily Journal between 1875 and 1931, with gaps, is in a binder in the Georgia Room at the Charles Switzer Library, 266 Roswell St., Marietta.

The listings are to be added to the Cobb County Genealogical Society website later this year. More indexers are needed to complete the project. See cobbgagensoc.org.