Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy

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

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

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Online Records

Chatham County, Georgia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Georgia
Location of Georgia in the U.S.
Founded February 5, 1777
County Seat Savannah
Address Chatham County Courthouse
133 Montgomery Street
Savannah, GA 31401-3230
Phone: 912.652.7127
Chatham County Website

Chatham County Georgia Courthouse

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]

Chatham County Georgia History

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

See Georgia Counties:  Their Changing Boundaries  (Georgia Archives)

Record Loss

Chatham County Georgia Places/Localities

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

Chatham County Georgia Genealogy Resources

African Americans



St. John's Church, Savannah

  • 1846-1885 - St. John's Church, Savannah, Baptism Index 1846-1885. Batch C712431 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1846-1903 - St. John's Church, Savannah, Marriage Index 1846-1903. Batch M712431 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 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.[3]
  • 1892-1911 - St. Paul's Church, Savannah, Marriage Index 1892-1911. Batch M723251 at FamilySearch - free.[3]

Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah


Colonial Records

  1738 Savannah Residents Georgia Pioneers ($)

  1735-1738 Baptisms Georgia Pioneers ($)

  1738 Savannah Malcontents Georgia Pioneers ($)

  1745-1747 and 1756 Savannah Town Lots Georgia Pioneers ($)

  1760 Savannah Lots, Yamacraw Bluff Georgia Pioneers ($)

  1759 Savannah Wharf Lots Georgia Pioneers ($)


  • 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

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 ($).


  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)


Early migration routes to and from Chatham County for European settlers included:[4]


Civil War
Civil War Battle

The following Civil War battle was fought in Chatham County.

Map showing Civil War battles in Georgia.

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.

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).

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


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 ($)

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

Vital Records

Birth Records
  • 1862-1865 - Chatham County Birth Index. Batch C712395 at FamilySearch - free.[3]

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
  • 1805-1836 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1805-1836. Batch M712391 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 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.[3]
  • 1830-1842 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1830-1842. Batch M712396 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1838-1852 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1838-1852. Batch M712393 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1842-1861 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1842-1861. Batch M712397 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1852-1861 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1852-1861. Batch M712394 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1862-1866 - Chatham County Marriage Index 1862-1866. Batch M712395 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1877-1878 - Chatham County Marriage Book A Index 1877-1878. Batch M712398 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1878-1882 - Chatham County Marriage Books B and C Index 1878-1882. Batch M712399 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1882-1884 - Chatham County Marriage Book D Index 1882-1884. Batch M712401 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1884-1886 - Chatham County Marriage Book E Index 1884-1886. Batch M712402 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1886-1887 - Chatham County Marriage Book F Index 1886-1887. Batch M712403 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1887-1889 - Chatham County Marriage Book G Index 1887-1889. Batch M712404 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1889-1891 - Chatham County Marriage Book H Index 1889-1891. Batch M712405 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1891-1892 - Chatham County Marriage Book I Index 1891-1892. Batch M712406 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1892-1894 - Chatham County Marriage Book J Index 1892-1894. Batch M712407 at FamilySearch - free.[3]
  • 1894-1895 - Chatham County Marriage Book K Index 1894-1895. Batch M712408 at FamilySearch - free.[3]

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

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

Voter's Records

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

Chatham County Georgia Genealogy Societies and Libraries 

Family History Centers

Chatham County Georgia Genealogy Websites

Chatham County Georgia Genealogy References

  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. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  4. 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.
  5. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 13 August, 2012)