Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy

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Chatham County

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


Chatham County, Georgia
Map of Georgia highlighting Chatham County
Location in the state of Georgia
Founded February 5, 1777
County Seat Savannah
Chatham County Court House; Savannah, Georgia.jpg
Address Chatham County Courthouse
124 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401-3230
Phone: 912.652.7127
Chatham County Website

County Information

Chatham County, Georgia Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate



County Courthouse

Chatham County Courthouse
124 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401-3230
Phone: 912.652.7127

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.[1]

Clerk of Superior Court
133 Montgomery Street, Room 304
P.O. Box 10227 (31412)
Savannah, GA 31401
Telephone: (912) 652-7200
Fax: (912) 652-7380

Probate Court of Chatham County
133 Montgomery Street, Room 509
P.O. Box 8344
Savannah, GA 31401
Telephone: 912-652-7264


There were no counties prior to 5 February 1777. The settlement areas were mostly near the coastline and were organized as church-governmental parishes.See Chatham County History at GAGenWeb Project.

Parent County

  • 1777-Chatham County was created 5 February 1777 from St. Phillip and Christ Church Parishes.
    County seat: Savannah [2]

Boundary Changes

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

Variant Spellings

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.[3]


Populated Places

  • Incorporated Cities: Bloomingdale . Garden City . Pooler . Port Wenworth . Savannah . Thunderbolt . Tybee Island . Vernonburg
  • Communities: Georgetown . Hunter Army Airfield . Isle of Hope . Montgomery . Pin Point . Skidaway Island . White Bluff . Whitemarsh Island . Wilmington Island

Neighboring Counties

Beaufort County  • Bryan County  • Effingham County  • Jasper County

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Genealogy Resources

Research Guides

African Americans

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

Bible Records


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.


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 - free.</ref>
  • 1846-1903 - St. John's Church, Savannah, Marriage Index 1846-1903. Batch M712431 at FamilySearch - free.
  • 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

St. Paul's, Savannah

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

Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah



Land and Property

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

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 ($).
  • Gamble, Thomas. Savannah Duels and Duellists, 1733-1877. Savannah, Ga.: Review Pub. & Print. Co., 1923. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 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 ($).


  • 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 ($)
  • 1899 - Savannah City Directory Georgia Pioneers ($)

Miscellaneous Records


  • Military - Georgia USGenWeb Archives Project
Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Service men in Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy 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, Georgia Genealogy:

- 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)
- Military - Civil War - Georgia USGenWeb | Archives Project
Civil War Battle

The following Civil War battle was fought in Chatham County.

Map showing Civil War battles in Georgia.
World War I


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

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 ($).

Early migration routes to and from Chatham County for European settlers included:[5]


Newspapers Extracts and Abstracts

Newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

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. ($)


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


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.

Chatham County Tax Digest for 1793 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers ($)

Tax Records | Georgia Archives

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. See also How to order Georgia Vital Records

Savannah, Georgia, Vital Records, 1803-1966 available at

Birth Records
  • 1862 - 1865 - Chatham County Birth Index. Batch C712395 at FamilySearch - free.[6]

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.
Telephone: 912-356-3438.

Marriage Records
  • 1805 - 1836 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1805-1836. Batch M712391 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1808 - 1967 - Georgia Marriages, 1808-1967 Name index to marriage records from the state of Georgia.
  • 1827 - 1837 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1827-1837. Batch M712392 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1830 - 1842 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1830-1842. Batch M712396 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1838 - 1852 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1838-1852. Batch M712393 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1842 - 1861 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1842-1861. Batch M712397 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1852 - 1861 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1852-1861. Batch M712394 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1862 - 1866 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1862-1866. Batch M712395 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1877 - 1878 - Chatham County Marriage Book A Index 1877-1878. Batch M712398 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1878 - 1882 - Chatham County Marriage Books B and C Index 1878-1882. Batch M712399 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1882 - 1884 - Chatham County Marriage Book D Index 1882-1884. Batch M712401 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1884 - 1886 - Chatham County Marriage Book E Index 1884-1886. Batch M712402 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1886 - 1887 - Chatham County Marriage Book F Index 1886-1887. Batch M712403 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1887 - 1889 - Chatham County Marriage Book G Index 1887-1889. Batch M712404 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1889 - 1891 - Chatham County Marriage Book H Index 1889-1891. Batch M712405 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1891 - 1892 - Chatham County Marriage Book I Index 1891-1892. Batch M712406 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1892 - 1894 - Chatham County Marriage Book J Index 1892-1894. Batch M712407 at FamilySearch - free.</ref>
  • 1894 - 1895 - Chatham County Marriage Book K Index 1894-1895. Batch M712408 at FamilySearch - free.

Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers.

Death Records
Vital Record Substitutes

Voter Records

Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Savannah History Association
303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Savannah 31401-4217

Savannah Area Genealogical Association
P.O. Box 15385
Savannah 31416

Georgia Historical Society in Savannah Georgia
501 Whitaker Street,
Savannah Georgia 31401
Phone: 912-651-2125 or Toll Free 877-424-4789 - Library & Archives: 912-651-2128

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. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.



  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Chatham County, Georgia. Page 152 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Paul K. Graham, Georgia Courthouse Disasters (Decatur, Georgia: Genealogy Co., 2013), 19. At various libraries (WorldCat).
  4. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 13 August, 2012)
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the Early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at