Friday, Oct. 22, 2004
Genealogy: Finding Your Folks
Meriwether book is a masterpiece
By Judy Fowler Kilgore
Last Tuesday after work, I squeezed in a trip to Greenville to pick up my long-awaited copy of the new Meriwether Heritage book. I say squeezed because there is a short window of daylight between the time I leave the office and the time I arrive home. Like most people my age, I have a problem driving after dark, especially in the rain, and it was raining buckets last Tuesday, as you all know. I also was faced with a tight schedule this week, planning for a trip to New Orleans to attend the wedding of a cousin, and knew if I didnt go Tuesday, I couldnt go at all until next week. I couldnt stand it. I had to have my book.
The rain appeared to let up a bit around 5 p.m. and I headed down Highway 85, hung a right at Alvaton and scooted down to Greenville, pulling into the parking lot of the Meriwether Historical Societys building around 6 p.m.
I was greeted by Linda Dobbs, co-chairman of the book committee, and Lelia Freeman, book committee historian, who were surrounded by boxes and boxes of books (they have plenty of extras which may be purchased) and I finally had the book in my hands. It is a masterpiece.
After an enjoyable conversation with Linda and Lelia, I drove home, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat down on the sofa to go through the book. The next time I looked at the clock, two hours had passed, and I had just skimmed the book briefly. It is chock full of Meriwether history and family information, nearly 500 pages of it. All the surnames I had seen during hours and hours of research at the Meriwether courthouse were there and many more.
It wasnt until about three years ago that I learned I had ancestors in Meriwether. And, much to my surprise, they were from both sides of my pedigree. Both my mothers and my fathers ancestors were there in the very early years (1820s to 1850s) and another surprise came when I learned they were neighbors and even bought land from and sold land to each other.
Before I started doing my family history, my genealogy information consisted of knowing that my dads folks were from Alabama, my moms folks were from Carroll County and we all grew up in East Point. The end. No more.
But after a little digging, I have found our folks in many counties in Georgia, including Fayette, Coweta, South Fulton and Meriwether.
Many of the people in this book moved from Meriwether into Fayette, Campbell, Coweta, Spalding, Henry and other Georgia counties, and many moved on into Alabama, settling in Randolph, Chambers and Cleburne counties. And, of course, many stayed for generations and have made Meriwether their permanent home.
Many of the early settlers came from North and South Carolina, or from eastern Georgia counties which had been settled prior to the 1827 land lottery. This lottery formed Troup and, later, Meriwether County.
The book is most valuable for its family stories since there is no resource available at present which gives detailed information on Meriwether families. Regina Pinkstons book, Historical Account of Meriwether County, gives a wealth of factual information, but does not go into any detail about families. There is also a book on Meriwether cemeteries and one on Meriwether marriages, but both are out of print.
Stories of the pioneers, as well as those who came later, are all included in this book. It also includes information on churches, businesses, organizations and landmarks. This book, unlike any of the other Heritage books I have seen, also has an every name index, that is, the surnames as well as given names are indexed. There are more than 2,400 surnames in the index.
Those surnames with significantly larger entries include Allen, Anderson, Argroves, Barnes, Bartee, Boyd, Brittain, Brown, Bulloch, Caldwell, Clark, Clements, Collins, Crowder, Culpepper, Davis, Ector, Estes, Eubanks, Evans, Fowler, Freeman, Fuller, Garner, Gaston, Gilbert, Gill, Godfrey, Hardaway, Harman, Harris, Hill, Hudson, Jackson, Johnson, Keith, Lee, Maffett, Mann, Massengale, Mathews, McRae, McWilliams, Meacham, Mitchell, Moody, Moore, Moreland, Murphy, Norris, ONeal, Owen/Owens, Perkerson, Phillips, Roberts, Rowe, Sewell, Skinner, Smith, Strickland, Strozier, Taylor, Terrell, Thompson, Thrash, Tidwell, Tigner, Trammell, Turner, Williams, and Wright.
This book is truly a treasure to own.
Those who ordered books by mail should have already received them, as they were sent directly from the publisher. Those who requested to pick up their books in Greenville may do so now, weekdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., or Sundays from 4-7 p.m.
Those who wish to order a book may do so by sending a check, along with your name and address, to the Meriwether Historical Society, 135 Stovall Road, Greenville, GA 30222. The cost is $65 if you pick the book up or $75 if you wish to have it mailed to you. All proceeds go to the historical society.
The societys building is just off the square in Greenville and is clearly marked with a sign so you wont get lost. If you make the circle around the courthouse, you cant miss it.
Those who have questions may contact Linda Dobbs by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
My hats off to the book committee for an outstanding job.
I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.
Until next week, happy hunting!
Copyright 2004-Fayette Publishing, Inc.