Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy

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United States  Gotoarrow-kelly.png  Georgia  Gotoarrow-kelly.png  Chatham County

County Government Site

Chatham County


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 [1]

Boundary Changes

See Georgia Counties:  Their Changing Boundaries  (Georgia Archives)

Record Loss


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


African Americans



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

LDS Ward and Branch Records



  • 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 ($).
  • 1891 - Savannah, GA, 1891. Savannah, GA: The Morning News Print, 1891. Digital version at Ancestry ($).


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 ($).


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


  Map of Chatham County Georgia Pioneers
  Map of the Savannah River Plantations Georgia Pioneers

Oyster Leases


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

Pony Homestead Records

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

Probate Records

  Complete Card Index File (digitized) of all Wills and Estates in Chatham County, alphabetical by surname. Georgia Pioneers
  Wills 1781-1824 (abstracts) Georgia Pioneers

  Will Book B 1777-1787 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book C 1788-1791 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book D 1801-1807 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book E 1791-1801 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book F 1801-1807 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book G 1807-1817 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book H 1817-1827 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book I 1827-1840 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book K 1839-1852 (digital images) Georgia Pioneers
  Will Book L 1850-1861 (digital images)  Georgia Pioneers
  Index to Estates, Inventories 1783-1788 (digital image) Georgia Pioneers
  Index to Estates, Inventories 1794-1805 (digital image) Georgia Pioneers
  Index to Chatham Will Book A 1775-1801 (digital) Georgia Pioneers
  Index to Chatham Will Book B 1777-1787 (digital) Georgia Pioneers

Tax Records

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

Chatham County - Tax Collector - Tax Digests, 1837-1978 | Georgia Archives

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, gravesites, victims of hurricans, 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 ($).



Early migration routes to and from Chatham County for European settlers included:[2]


Miscellaneous Records


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.



Chatham County - Tax Collector - Tax Digests, 1837-1978 | Georgia Archives

Vital Records

Birth Records

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: 912-356-2138

Marriage Records

Georgia Marriages, 1808-1967  Name index to marriage records from the state of Georgia. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers.

Death Records
  • Georgia Deaths, 1928-1930  Name Index and images of Georgia statewide deaths. Original records are arranged chronogically by year and then by certificate numbers.
  • 1849-50, 1879-80 - Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy Mortality Schedules at Ancestry ($).

Voter's Records

Chatham County - City Clerk (City of Savannah) - Voters Registration Books, 1867-1867 | Georgia Archives

Societies and Libraries 

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. 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.