Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy

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United States
Georgia
Chatham County

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

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County Facts
County seat: Savannah
Organized: February 5, 1777
Parent County(s): St. Phillip and Christ Church Parishes
[1]
Neighboring Counties
Beaufort (SC)  • Bryan  • Effingham  • Jasper (SC)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Chatham County Court House; Savannah, Georgia.jpg
Location Map
Georgia Chatham County Map.png
Adoption

County Information

Description

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

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

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
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1806 1785 1777 1790

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.[4]

Boundary Changes

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

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

See Georgia Counties:Their Changing Boundaries

Populated Places

The following are locations in Chatham County, Georgia:

Incorporated Cities:

  • Bloomingdale
  • Garden City
  • Pooler
  • Port Wenworth
  • Savannah
  • Thunderbolt
  • Tybee Island
  • Vernonburg

History Timeline

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

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

The following web site may have additional information on Chatham County cemeteries.

Census Records

Church Records

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.

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.

Baptist

  • 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
LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Savannah

Episcopal
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.

Presbyterian
Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah

Court Records

Directories

  • 1888 Savannah, GA, 1888. Savannah, GA: The Morning News Print, 1888. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 1889 Savannah, GA, 1889. Savannah, GA: The Morning News Print, 1889. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 1890 Savannah, GA, 1890. Savannah, GA: The Morning News Print, 1890. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 1891 Savannah, GA, 1891. Savannah, GA: The Morning News Print, 1891. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 1898 Savannah City Directory Georgia Pioneers ($)
  • 1899 Savannah City Directory Georgia Pioneers ($)

Emigration and Immigration

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

African Americans

  • Savannah, Georgia, Slave Manifests, 1811-1860 at Ancestry ($). This is a database of manifests for slaves arriving in Savannah, Georgia from 1811-1860.The manifests include: Name of ship, Master, Port of departure, Port of destination, List of slaves on board. The slave information includes: First name, Sex, Age, Stature, Name of shipper/owner, Shipper/owner’s place of residence.
  • Perdue, Robert Eugene. The Negro in Savannah, 1865-1900. New York, Exposition Press, [1973]. 156 p. (An Exposition university Book) F294.S2 P47
  • Savannah, Georgia, Registers of Free Persons of Color, 1817-1864 available at Ancestry ($).

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Guardianship

Land and Property Records

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

Grants

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

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

Pony Homestead Records

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

Local Histories

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

Migration

Early migration routes to and from Chatham County for European settlers included:[6]

Military Records

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.


World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship

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

Newspapers

Savannah Morning News Live Oak Public Libraries

  • The Bull Street Branch has the Savannah Morning News from 1763-present in microfilm.
  • The Georgia Room has the index to this paper for 1763-1986 except: 1846-1849; 1892-1895 (spotty); 1896-1929.
  • The Georgia Death Index (1919-1994) is available at Ancestry ($)

Obituaries

Other Records

Voting Records

Periodicals

Probate Records

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 Records

School Records

Tax Records

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

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.

  • Savannah, Georgia, Vital Records, 1803-1966 available at Ancestry ($)

Birth

  • 1862-1865 Chatham County Birth Index. Batch C712395 at FamilySearch.[8]

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

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries

Museums

Societies

  • Savannah History Association
    303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
    Savannah, GA 31401-4217
  • Savannah Area Genealogical Association
    P.O. Box 15385
    Savannah, GA 31416
  • Georgia Historical Society in Savannah Georgia
    501 Whitaker Street
    Savannah, GA 31401
    Phone: 912-651-2125 or Toll Free 877-424-4789
    Library & Archives Phone: 912-651-2128
    Website

Websites

Research Guides

References

  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, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_County,_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. Paul K. Graham, Georgia Courthouse Disasters (Decatur, Georgia: Genealogy Co., 2013), 19. At various libraries (WorldCat).
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Georgia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  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. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 13 August, 2012)
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/0/09/Igigeorgiaad.pdf.