Friday, Sept. 2, 2004
Genealogy: Finding Your Folks
They came from Newberry
By JUDY FOWLER KILGORE
I suppose have been very fortunate in my own personal genealogical searches. After my initial launch several years ago, I discovered that most of my ancestors were in Georgia by 1800, many before that. Even better, most of them through the third generation were in the Atlanta metro area. Therefore, while searches werent always easy, the accessibility of research materials was.
However, when I got into the fourth generation and farther, I had to step across state lines and start moving into areas which were not familiar or easily accessible.
A great many of my ancestors and relatives came from Newberry Co., S.C., I learned, and my research began to concentrate on that area.
Most recently, I bit the bullet and purchased several books (more than I should have but I couldnt resist) on Newberry records and history and thought I would share with you some of what I found.
And, what I found was that many of the families you have written me about in the past. Apparently many people from Newberry migrated to our area in the late 1820s and early 1830s and even later. If youre looking for their roots, you will find much information in these books.
Also, I want to point you toward Newberry Countys Web site so you may order some of these books for yourselves. You also may be interested in joining the genealogy society, as I did, so that you can receive their quarterly publication, one of the best Ive seen.
It would be hard to say which of the books I purchased is the best, but the 1850 Newberry Census with additional genealogical information on families (by Wicker) has probably been the most helpful in putting together some of my families. But, by far, the ones with the most interesting material are the four on Newberry Equity Court records and wills. Two are by Sandra Lee and two are by Edith Greisser. Sometimes the interpretation differs between the two and you would have to see the original records for yourself to make a determination on which was more correct.
Georgia did not have equity court, but in South Carolina it was where families settled their domestic disputes and disagreements over wills, land purchases and such. Within the wording of the document, you will often find where other family members were residing (in other states), the chain of lineage in the inheritance of land and slaves, the location of land (adjacent to whom and how many acres), and why couples separated and/or divorced. I mean, there is some really juicy stuff in these books. I will give you a few examples, using family names we have researched in the column.
The first is from Sandra Lees book on equity records and may be found in Box 1, Package 8, at the Newberry courthouse. It involves the Summer(s) family. Could this be the same family who migrated to Coweta?
(Page 3) Margaret Summer by her next friend Gasper Peaster vs. Elijah Summer, bill for alimony, injunction. This was filed 18 Feb. 1817 and the abstract says that Elijah Summer and Margaret married in December of 1807 and had four children: a son who died, Susannah age 9, Mary Ann age 5, and Rebecca quite an infant. Margaret claimed that Elijah left her without any money while she was sick in bed. The children were living with her father-in-law and he wouldnt let her see them.
Unfortunately, the disposition of the case isnt given, but there is a lot of valuable genealogical information there. South Carolina didnt keep marriage records so there is a marriage year and the childrens names and ages are given. Also, Gasper Peaster could be a relative. One would have to check the noted sources in Newberry for more detail, but there is enough there to know whether further research would be worth the effort.
Another case from the same book (Page 151) also involves a Coweta family name the Elmores who lived in the Senoia/Haralson area. Were they one and the same?
Found in Box 25, package 7 in the Newberry courthouse, this case was brought by Nancy Wilson by her next friend W.A. Elmore vs. Henry Wilson. The bill, filed 8 Feb. 1840, was for settling property and to appoint a trustee.
Nancy Elmore and Henry Wilson were married and lived together until 1837 when Henry abandoned her for no cause and left the state. After he left, Nancy had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was less than a year old. Nancy is entitled to a share of her fathers estate (Thomas Elmore) and also her mothers estate (Elizabeth Elmore). William A. and Elijah Elmore were administrators of the estate of Elizabeth Elmore. Nancy wants the court to declare that she is not responsible for her husbands debts.
Again, the disposition of the case is not given but it contains a lot of valuable information. Is the W.A. Elmore, administrator and next friend Nancys brother? Did she have other siblings? Further research would tell.
Those are just two examples of the kinds of presentments in these books. I browsed them for hours and still didnt read everything.
The Web site for the Newberry genealogical society is: www.rootsweb.com/~scondc/index.html. Click on publications to view the complete list of books available. Believe me. If you had ancestors in Newberry, you will love them.
Next week Ill give a few tidbits on other southside families which appear in some of the other books.
I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. 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!
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