Poor People, Rich Records

A quick reminder that I will be in Conyers, Georgia, on August 12 presenting “Poor People, Rich Records: Researching Georgia’s 19th Century Poor” to the Rockdale County Genealogical Society. The meeting is free and open to the public, and I would very much like to see my Atlanta-area research friends there.

This is a topic I’ve been hoping to develop into a lecture for a while now. When the program director for the RCGS contacted me to see if I would be interested in speaking to that group, I jumped at the opportunity. Initially, I offered her the choice of two lectures, but we eventually settled on this one.1

I couldn’t be happier to present “Poor People, Rich Records” as my first professional lecture.2 The most exciting part for me is that I will be able to share information on some of my favorite records sets, including Georgia’s poor school and academy lists, homestead exemptions, court records specifically created to assist or deal with the poor, state censuses, tax rolls…and, yes, deeds and court cases will make brief but important appearances as well. The lecture ends with a quick overview of research strategies, some of which will be discussed during the presentation on specific records.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it is. When I say rich records, I mean it! While our less wealthy ancestors may not have owned land or left estates, that doesn’t mean they were absent from the records genealogists use most often. Plus, there are plenty of non-government records in which our ancestors may have been named, regardless of socioeconomic status. Some of these records provide important clues not only to heritage, but also to the character of our ancestors and to their daily lives.

I hope to see y’all in Conyers. If you can’t make it, stay tuned. Over the next few months, I hope to share here a few of the records I uncovered while looking for examples but that I didn’t use in the lecture itself.

* * * * *

1. The other lecture was “Proving Parentage Using Indirect Evidence: The Case of Amy (Nichols) Ledford of Macon County, North Carolina.” While all of the techniques I used to research Amy’s parentage could easily be transferred to Georgia research problems, the program director and I agreed that the “Poor People, Rich Records” lecture would be a better fit for this group.

2. All of my previous lectures on genealogical research were delivered during my three-year tenure at the Rabun County Public Library, as a staff member.

3 Responses to “Poor People, Rich Records”

  1. If I’m not working, I’ll see ya there.

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