Georgia History

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United States > Georgia > Georgia History

Brief History

The following important events in the history of Georgia affected political boundaries, record-keeping, and family movements.

  • 1732:  King George II of England granted a charter for the colony of Georgia as a place of refuge.
  • 1733:  James Oglethorpe founded the city of Savannah, as a refuge for English debtors.
  • 1733:  Indian land ceded
  • 1734:  German-speaking Salzburgers began to settle at Ebenezer, in present-day Effingham County.
  • 1752:  The charter was surrendered and Georgia became a crown colony.
  • 1763:(February 10,) The French and Indian War came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Paris 1763.
  • 1763: Indian land ceded
  • 1773 & 1783:  Indian land ceded
  • 1788:  Georgia became a state.
  • 1790: Indian land ceded
  • 1802: Indian land ceded
  • 1802: Georgia relinquished its claims to lands west of the Chattahoochee River. These lands became part of Mississippi and Alabama.
  • 1804,1817,1818,1819, 1821, 1826 & 1833:  Indian land ceded
  • 1805, 1807, 1820, 1821, 1827 & 1832: Georgia Land Lotteries
  • 1828:  The discovery of gold on Cherokee land prompted the Georgia state legislature to declare that all Cherokee land would be open to white settlement.
  • 1832:  Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet and essayist, wrote to President Van Buren appealing against the removal of the Cherokee  tribe beyond the Mississippi.
  • 1835: Treaty of New Echota: the Cherokee Nation ceded all its remaining land.
  • 1838: (May 25,) Removal of the Cherokee Indians began under the command of General Winfield Scott. General Charles Floyd was in command of field operations.
  • 1838: (December) The remaining Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed from Georgia by Federal Troops to Indian territory west of the Mississippi River. (Trail of Tears and White River Trace) The survivors reached northeastern Oklahoma in March 1839.
  • 1784-1820:  Thousands of Americans moved to Georgia seeking inexpensive land. The first land lottery was held in 1805.
  • 1861:  Georgia seceded from the Union. It was readmitted in 1870.

Historical Content

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies.

  • A Bibliography of American County Histories [1] [2]
  • United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress [3] [4]

State Histories Useful to Genealogists

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the lauditory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of

  • The Story of Georgia and the Georgia People, 1732-1860 is a detailed history of Georgia's counties and early settlers [5]
  • Georgia Genealogy and Local History: A Bibliography. [6]
  • Georgia History: A Bibliography [7]

United States History

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [8] [9] This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [10] [11] This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [12] [13] [14] This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Georgia 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Georgia history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:


Web Sites


  1. Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
  2. Worldcat
  3. Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
  4. Worldcat
  5. George Gillman Smith, The Story of Georgia and the Georgia People, 1732-1860, Second Edition 1901, Macon, Georgia: G.G. Smith, 1901; Family History Library book 975.8 H2sg; microfilm 908502).
  6. Dorsey, James E. Georgia Genealogy and Local History: A Bibliography. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1983. (Family History Library book 975.8 D23d.)
  7. Simpson, John Eddins. Georgia History: A Bibliography. Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Incorporated, 1976. (Family History Library book 975.8 H23s.)
  8. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
  9. Worldcat
  10. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
  11. Worldcat
  12. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
  13. Limited view at Google Books
  14. Worldcat
  15. Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w
  16. Worldcat