If you’ve spent any time researching ancestors in 19th century Georgia, then you’ve probably used Georgia’s land lottery records. Indexes of many of these records were previously published and are still in print through vendors like Southern Historical Press. Unfortunately, many of these published indexes are difficult to use because of the way they were formatted, often with fortunate drawers listed by county and no master index.
And then came Paul K. Graham. Among his other achievements, Paul has a deep background in land records, including a professional certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Georgia State University. Along with his work as a genealogist, this makes him the perfect candidate to compile and publish updated information about Georgia’s land records.
In 2004, Paul published the first in a series of guides to Georgia’s land lotteries with his book 1805 Georgia Land Lottery Fortunate Drawers and Grantees. He followed that in 2005 with 1805 Georgia Land Lottery Persons Entitled to Draw (available through Heritage Books), and in 2011 with 1807 Georgia Land Lottery Fortunate Drawers and Grantees.
Paul, of course, did not stop there. To complement his work in Georgia’s land records, he also published an Atlas of East and Coastal Georgia Watercourses and Militia Districts and his seminal guide, Georgia Land Lottery Research (available from the Georgia Genealogical Society), both of which are invaluable additions to the shelves of any Georgia researcher’s library.
Please keep in mind that all of these books are works of reference. The books covering the 1805 and 1807 land lotteries should be used as the first line of attack with these records, as part of a comprehensive research project. To learn more about the individuals involved, the original records must be sought and the information found within those records must be correlated with information from other sources.
Paul’s guides to these records are far and away better than the older publications they replace. To learn more about these or any of his publications, visit his web site.