Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy

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Guide to Chatham County, Georgia ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Savannah
Organized: February 5, 1777
Parent County(s): St. Phillip and Christ Church Parishes
Neighboring Counties
Beaufort (SC)  • Bryan  • Effingham  • Jasper (SC)
See County Maps
Chatham County Court House; Savannah, Georgia.jpg
Location Map
Georgia Chatham County Map.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. The County is located in the Atlantic coast area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Chatham County Courthouse
124 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401-3230
Phone: 912-652-7127
Chatham County Website

Probate Court has birth, marriage, death and probate records.
Clerk Superior Court has divorce and court records from 1783, land records from 1785 and naturalization records from 1801.[3]

Chatham County, Georgia Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1919 1806 1919 1783 1785 1777 1820
*Statewide registration of births and death began in 1919. General compliance for births by 1928 and deaths by 1922.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.[5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1777 Chatham County was created 5 February 1777 from St. Phillip and Christ Church Parishes.
  • County seat: Savannah[6]

For animated maps illustrating Georgia county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Georgia County Boundary Maps" (1758-1932) may be viewed for free at the website.

See Georgia Counties:Their Changing Boundaries

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Historic African American communities

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Chatham, Georgia online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Georgia Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 10,769
1800 12,946 20.2%
1810 13,540 4.6%
1820 14,737 8.8%
1830 14,127 −4.1%
1840 18,801 33.1%
1850 23,901 27.1%
1860 31,043 29.9%
1870 41,279 33.0%
1880 45,023 9.1%
1890 57,740 28.2%
1900 71,239 23.4%
1910 79,690 11.9%
1920 100,032 25.5%
1930 105,431 5.4%
1940 117,970 11.9%
1950 151,481 28.4%
1960 188,299 24.3%
1970 187,767 −0.3%
1980 202,226 7.7%
1990 216,935 7.3%
2000 232,048 7.0%
2010 265,128 14.3%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Georgia denominations, see the Georgia Church Records wiki page.
List of Churches and Church Parishes

St. John's Church, Savannah

  • 1846-1885 St. John's Church, Savannah, Baptism Index 1846-1885. Batch C712431 at FamilySearch.
  • 1846-1903 St. John's Church, Savannah, Marriage Index 1846-1903. Batch M712431 at FamilySearch.


  • Thomas, Edgar Garfield. The First African Baptist Church of North America. Savannah, Ga.: unknown, 1925. Digital version at Ancestry

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Savannah

St. Paul's, Savannah

  • 1883-1911 St. Paul's Church, Savannah, Baptism Index 1883-1911. Batch C723251 at FamilySearch.</ref>
  • 1892-1911 St. Paul's Church, Savannah, Marriage Index 1892-1911. Batch M723251 at FamilySearch.

Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah

Colonial Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1738 Savannah Residents; 1735-1738 Savannah Baptisms; 1738 List of Savannah Malcontents; Savannah Town Lots 1745-1747; 1756; Savannah Town Lots at Yamacraw Bluff 1760; Savannah Wharf Lots 1759 Georgia Pioneers $

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Inward and outward slave manifest lists:

  • Savannah, Georgia: Coastwise Slave Manifests, 1801-1860. ARC 1151775, U.S. Customs Service, Record Group Number 36. National Archives Southeast Region, Morrow, Georgia. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

African Americans

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Georgia Land and Property for additional information about early Georgia land grants from the government. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions (generally buying and selling deeds) were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Deeds and Probate Records


Headright Surveys:

Public land given to the head of a household or to an individual who paid another person's passage to America. Headright grants were given to early colonists of America and to early citizens of Texas. See Headright surveys, plat books D and E for Camden, Glynn, Liberty, Chatham and Effingham counties, 1784-1793.

Homestead Records (See also Probate Records)

Homestead records, 1868-1902 Georgia. Superior Court (Chatham County)

Land Lottery

Oyster Leases


Mortgages, 1871-1900 Georgia. Superior Court (Chatham County)

Pony Homestead Records

Pony homestead records, 1876-1922 Georgia. Court of Ordinary (Chatham County)

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Georgia Local Histories.

  • Gamble, Thomas. Bethesda: An Historical Sketch of Whitefield's House of Mercy in Georgia, and of the Union Society, His Associate and Successor in Philanthropy. Savannah, Ga.: Morning News Print, 1902. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Gamble, Thomas. Savannah Duels and Duellists, 1733-1877. Savannah, Ga.: Review Pub. & Print. Co., 1923. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Granger, Mary. Savannah River Plantations. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Harden, William. A History of Savannah and South Georgia. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Harden, William. Recollections of a Long and Satisfactory Life. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968, c1934. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Jones, Charles Colcock. History of Savannah, Ga.: From Its Settlement to the Close of the Eighteenth Century. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & Co., 1890. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Lattimore, Ralston B. Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1954. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Lee, F. D. Historical Record of the City of Savannah. Savannah Ga.: Printed and published by J.H. Estill, Morning News Steam-powered Press, 1869, c1868. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Lichtenstein, Gaston. Early History of Tarboro, North Carolina: Also, Collated Colonial Public Claims of Edgecombe County, and Easter Sunday in Savannah, Ga. Richmond: W.E. Jones, Book and Job Printer, 1908. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Piechocinski, Elizabeth Carpenter. Once Upon an Island: The Barrier and Marsh Islands of Chatham County, Georgia. Includes marriages and other vital records for Island residents, family history information for Island residents, listings of Island-born Blacks, grave sites, victims of hurricanes, Union soldiers involved in the skirmish on Whitemarch Island, plantation owners, and freed Blacks who obtained land in the Islands.
  • Savannah. Savannah, Ga.: Review Print. Co., 1937. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Sholes, A. E. Chronological History of Savannah: From Its Settlement by Oglethorpe Down to December 31, 1899: Together with a Complete Record of the City and County, and Savannah's Roll of Honor, A Roster of the Soldiers Who Have in Three Wars Gone Forth at Their Country's Call, from This City. Savannah, Ga.: Morning News Print., 1900. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Wilson, Adelaide. Historic and Picturesque Savannah. Boston: Published for the subscribers by the Boston Photogravure Co., 1889. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Jasper CountyEffingham CountyBryan CountyGA CHATHAM.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Chatham County for European settlers included:[8]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Online Records

Regiments. Service men in Chatham County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Chatham County:

- 1st Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Olmstead's) (Confederate), Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K
- 8th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company B
-11th Battalion, Georgia Infantry (State Guards) (Confederate), Company E
- 25th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Companies H and I
- 29th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company F
- 31st Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company C
- 35th Battalion, Georgia (Confederate), Company C
- 47th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Companies A and E
- 54th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company F
- 63rd Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate) , Companies B, F and K
- Wheaton's Company, Georgia Artillery (Chatham Artillery) (Confederate)

Civil War Battle
The following Civil War battle was fought in Chatham County.

Spanish-American War

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

  • Savannah, Georgia, Naturalization Records, 1790-1910 available at Ancestry ($)

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Jail Records

Voting Records

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Colonial courts kept some early probate records.  From 1777 to 1798 and since 1852, the court of ordinary or register of probates has kept probate and guardianship records.  The inferior court handled probate and guardianship matters from 1798 to 1852.

Many probate records to the 1930s and 1940s are at the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the Family History Library on microfilm.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records (not all years).

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and all slaves up to age 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Georgia State Department of Health , the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred or order electronically online.

For some online statewide indexes, see the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for Georgia.

Birth[edit | edit source]

The City of Savannah (Chatham County) has birth records beginning in 1890. They were recorded state-wide beginning in 1919.

Chatham County Health Department
P. O. Box 14257
Savannah, GA 31416
Phone: 912-356-3438

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Voter Records[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Chatham County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Georgia Archives and Libraries.

Savannah Diocesan Archives
2170 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Chatham County. For state-wide library facilities, see Georgia Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Fort Pulaski National Monument
101 Fort Pulaski Road
Savannah, GA 31410

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Chatham County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Georgia Societies.

Bonaventure Historical Society
330 Bonaventure Rd
PO Box 5954
Savannah, GA 31414

Coastal Heritage Society
303 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Savannah, GA 31401

Coastal Museums Association
PO Box 11362
Savannah, GA 31412

Coastal Scottish Heritage Society
PO Box 5053
Savannah , GA 31414

Georgia Historical Society in Savannah Georgia
501 Whitaker Street
Savannah, GA 31401
912-651-2125, 877-424-4789

Historic Savannah Foundation
321 E York St
Savannah, GA 31401

Savannah Area Genealogical Association
PO Box 15385
Savannah, GA 31416

Savannah Jewish Federation
5111 Abercorn Street
Savannah , GA 31405

Society for the Preservation of Laurel Grove
PO Box 10315
Savannah, GA 31412-0515

Thunderbolt Museum Society
2702 Mechanics Ave
Thunderbolt, GA 31404

Tybee Island Historical Preservation Commission
403 Butler Ave
Tybee Island , GA 31328-0366

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Georgia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Chatham County, Georgia" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Georgia" accessed 31 Oct 2018
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Georgia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Chatham County, Georgia. Page 151-163 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 155-160.
  5. Paul K. Graham, Georgia Courthouse Disasters (Decatur, Georgia: Genealogy Co., 2013), 19. At various libraries (WorldCat).
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Georgia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Chatham County, Georgia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 Febuary 2019.
  8. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Georgia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  9. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 13 August, 2012)
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at