Videocameras and Genealogy

March 26th, 1995


The advent of the videocamera has brought another great and easy to use resource into the hands of genealogists. I recently took my camera and documented a visit made by several cousins to several cemeteries. Being able to record sound adds a great deal to the documentation. Some people have videotaped their family photographs and narrated the tape to share with distant cousins or to obtain assistance in identifying unknown photographs. Anyone with access to a camera should use it. Interviews are some of the most important uses the camera can be put to. Shala Bannister has recently compiled a brief guide “Family Treasures: Videotaping Your Family History”. She covers where to do an interview, and then possible questions to ask each person, they questions related to activities, such as dating, vacations, college years, and other aspects of life. If one is trying to organize themselves to begin interviewing, this book would be helpful. The author has covered virtually every possible question. One must also learn how to hold the camera or have it self-operated while the questions are being asked. It is always important after an interview to review it and possibly have follow-up questions. These might need to be in writing if the interviewee is no longer available for taping. The book is $11.95 plus $3 postage from the Clearfield Co., 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore, Md. 21202.


“Cemeteries of Toombs County, Georgia” is a recent work of the Toombs County Historical Society. Compiled by Moses M. Coleman, Jr., and based on the society’s 1992-1993 survey of the county’s cemeteries, the book includes cemeteries arranged in alphabetical order. The cemeteries have specific directions but no overall map. The burials are arranged in alphabetical order within the cemetery, an arbitrary arrangement which destroys the family links between burials. There is a full-name index. The book is available for $42.35 postpaid from Coleman Sales, Inc., P.O.Box 1044, Vidalia, Ga. 30474.


Martha Redus, frequent lecturer on Cherokee Indian genealogy, now also has books for sale on the subject, as well as offering her lectures and consultations. She can be reached at Cherokee Cousins, 4530 Bob’s Court, Stone Mt., Ga. 30083.

UPDATE 2011: Martha Redus has died and no one representing her is at this address.


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia has completed indexing all Jewish burials in Atlanta, part of a project to do a state-wide index to Jewish burials. Over 10,000 names have been contributed to the International Jewish Cemetery Project. Atlanta cemeteries indexed were: Arlington, Crest Lawn, Greenlawn, Greenwood, Oakland, Roseland, and Westview. Copies will be placed at the Georgia Archives, Atlanta History Center, National Archives in East Point. Jewish burials in some other Georgia cities have also been indexed. Volunteers are needed in other cities to help. Contact Peggy Freedman, 396-1645 to volunteer or Gary Palgon 458-6664 for more information on the project.

UPDATE 2011: Mrs. Freedman still may be contacted at 770-396-1645 and remains very active with the Jewish Genealogical Society, as does Gary Palgon.

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Family Histories

March 19th, 1995



Family Associations or one-name societies are one of the best ways to find other people working on the same family you are. The members of a one-name association may actually be from several distinct, unrelated families with the same name. Yet, their gathering together in an organization, usually publishing a newsletter to exchange information, is always a good way to link up with others with similar interests. Merle Ganier has recently issued his annual “Family Periodicals, Reunions and Columnists-1995 Edition”. Included are over 600 family name organizations. Included are several pages of genealogy columnists. The list sells for $8 from Merle Ganier, 2108 Grace Ave., Ft. Worth, Texas 76111-2816. A typical example would be the Castor Association of America. There is a brochure listing services and benefits, all variant spellings of the name, eligibility, the purpose, and the benefits. Listed are reunions held every other year, dues, and a published book. Contact Joe Lacy, 1444 Stehle Rd., Natalia, Texas 78059. Some people edit separate newsletters for many lines. Such a person is Dede Mercer, 12600 Bissonnet A4-407, Houston, Texas 77099. The names she publishes are: Barton, Cornell, Deroun, Dillard, Donley, Harrison, Hefner, Graff, Landry, Mallory, McNair, Mercer, Moon, Morey, Oliver, Pulliam, Reed, Scott, Shoemaker, and Shurtliff.


“The Genealogist’s Address Book”, the 3rd edition, was compiled by Elizabeth Petty Bentley. Part of a series of address listings, earlier editions should be at every major library. Bentley has included for each state the state archives, historical and genealogical societies. There are some miscellaneous addresses as well. Georgia’s entry is longer than many states, probably because there are several published directories and so many counties that naturally there are more societies. While the addresses are no doubt the result of questionnaires, some of the information is misleading, as the organizations are quite small and probably cannot accommodate visitors or letters. All three lists within Georgia must be read to find pertinent information, since all societies are arranged alphabetically by name, not geographically. As has been pointed out to other national directory makers and address listers, some organizations are long-defunct and including their address is not helpful. After historical societies are Ethnic and Religious Organizations, which includes African-American organizations, many other ethnic groups and foreign research associations, and Native American groups. Lineage societies (such as DAR) are arranged by the war or era commemorated. Several hundred adoption registries are included. Genealogy columnists are listed, including this one. Under “miscellaneous” are various military museums. Periodicals referred to in the addresses are indexed, enabling one to find the publishing organization. This volume is very useful for anyone not near a major library and not aware of a lot of the new activities going on in genealogy. It provides many helpful places to write and people to contact. It is $34.95 plus $3 postage from Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21202.

Moultrie’s Odum Library Worth A Visit

March 12th, 1995


Moultrie and south Georgia are very fortunate to have the Ellen Payne Odum Genealogical Library. It is located in downtown Moultrie, attached to the public library at 204 5th St. S. E. The library was created in 1989 by a bequest from Mrs. Odum, a former school teacher. The library’s newsletter, actually a 60-page newspaper, “The Family Tree”, is offered free, and reaches 34,000 people! The library consists of two rooms, one of which is sponsored by the 69 Scottish clans who have made the library headquarters for valuable family information. The library now is a repository for some of Colquitt County’s courthouse books as the clerks use photocopies of original books. The librarian is Irene Godwin, and the newsletter editor is Beth Gay. The library contains a large collection of books on the Southern states, census records, Civil War and family history collections. The collection includes local high school annuals and a new veterans recording project. There is quite a bit on Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. For brochures on the library and its collections, send a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope to The Odum Library, P.O.Box 1110, Moultrie, Ga. 31776, or just go visit. It’s worth the trip.


“Sunbury on the Medway” by John McKay Sheftall (now of Columbus) has recently been reprinted. The book is a history of this 18th century Georgia seaport which once rivaled Savannah in citizens and activities. Located in Liberty County, the site of the town and its forts are interpreted at the Fort Morris State Historic Site, operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, publishers of the original edition. The book which includes a narrative history and lists of early settlers, has now been indexed. Reprinted by the Georgia State Society, National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, it sells for $30 plus $3 postage. Proceeds go to restoring the fence at Sunbury’s colonial cemetery. Checks to the Georgia State Society, NSDAC, should be sent to Mrs. James L. Quackenbush, P.O.Box 223, Norcross, Ga. 30091 or call 446-1382.

UPDATE 2011: Mrs. Quackenbush is deceased. For copies of this publication and subsequent reprints, contact the Sunbury/Ft. Morris Historic Site, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, via their website.


“Confederate Generals of Georgia and Their Burial Sites” by Robert H. Kerlin includes biographical sketches and photographs of the tombstones of the generals in alphabetical order, followed by the Navy commanders: Bulloch, Kell, and Tattnall. Also included is abbreviated information on Confederate generals buried in other states who either lead Georgia troops or who were Georgia natives. For those buried in large cemeteries, maps are included such as for Oakland Cemetery. Directions are included to all cemeteries. The author, co-founder of the Fayette County Historical Society, began this project after seeing similar ones on Louisiana and Tennessee generals. For anyone or any library with Civil War interest, this is a useful reference guide. Since many people named their sons for Confederate generals, it is a good, concise source for a sketch of these men. It is available for $26.60 postpaid from Americana Historical Books, P.O.Box 1272, Fayetteville, Ga. 30214.

Publishing a Family Tree

March 5th, 1995


Anyone wishing to create a family history book based on their collected genealogical material can find guidance in “How to Write and Publish Your Family Book”, the 1995 revision of a work first published in 1988. The authors, publishers of many family books submitted to their firm, have compiled a useful text based on years of experience. All areas are covered from getting started, preparing the manuscript, creating a numbering system that works, and using a genealogy program. The authors include instructions on including illustrations, creating camera-ready copy, choosing book sizes, copyright, types of paper, dust jackets, and setting the price. The appendix includes: a glossary of publishing terms, an example of using the genealogy program “Family Tree Maker”, different typefaces, and page size examples of how the book would look. Indexing and the book publishing contract are also discussed. This book is a must for anyone contemplating such a project. It is modestly priced at $9.95 postpaid from Genealogy Publishing Service, 448 Ruby Mine Rd., Franklin, N.C.28734.


“Basics for Beginners” Delia Gilliland and Joye Quinn, 7-9 P.M. March 16, 23, 30 (Thursdays). $15 members, $20 non-members. Gwinnett Historical Society, Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, Lawrenceville, Ga. Reservations: 822-5174.

 “Migration Routes; Pennsylvania Research; and Confederate Research” are the topics of Dr. George Schweitzer. 8:30-3:30. Saturday, March 18. $25 members, $35 others. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. Sponsored by the Friends of the National Archives, Southeast Region. Registration deadline is March 10 to Friends of the National Archives, 1557 St. Joseph Ave., East Point, Ga. 30344 or call 763-7477. Dr. Schweitzer is a nationally-known speaker who always entertains his audiences with his subject matter. No one ever leaves his lecture without learning a lot. He should not be missed.

 “Revolutionary War, Colonial Land Records and Migrations, Finding an Immigrant Ancestor, and Virginia and Carolinas Research” are the topics of Lloyd Bockstruck of Dallas, Texas. 9 A.M. start for an all-day workshop, Saturday, March 25. $20 members, $25 non-members. John Knox Presbyterian Church, 505 Powers Ferry Rd., Marietta. Sponsored by the Cobb County Genealogical Society, send registration to them at P.O.Box 1413, Marietta, Ga. 30061-1413. Lunch on your own.


The Georgia Archives Lunch and Learn series continues with March 28: “Cemetery Research” by Ted O. Brooke, author of a cemetery bibliography and coordinator of the Georgia Genealogical Society’s Cemetery Handbook. April 5: “The Holocaust” by Sylvia Wygoda and Dr. R. Voyles. Georgia State Archives, 330 Capitol Ave., 12:15-1:15, free. Call 656-2370 for further information.


The Piedmont Historical Society has resumed publication of its “Upper South Carolina Genealogy and History” suspended in 1991. Membership is $20 annually, c/o the society, P.O.Box 8096, Spartanburg, S.C. 29305 or call (803) 585-8125.

State Capitol Restoration Seeks Missing Items

February 26th, 1995


The Georgia State Capitol Commission was created in 1993 to plan the restoration of the Georgia Capitol building to make it once again a showplace. Similar projects have produced excellent results in Alabama, Louisiana, and North Carolina. As part of this effort, a search is on for photographs of the interior of the capitol, especially the house, senate, and Supreme Court chambers, the former State Library, and other rooms and hallways. Arrangements will be made to copy any photographs you have. The commission also seeks information about any objects and furnishings that once were in the capitol in order to copy and reproduce historic, but now missing, light fixtures, carpets, curtains, etc. So check out your attics and your albums and contact Dorothy Olson, Museum Director, Office of the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Atlanta, Ga. 30334 or call 651-6996.

UPDATE: As a result of this column, a copy of the working drawings/architectural plans for the capitol turned up from a private source, a descendant of one of the original building team and were donated to the State Archives. Mrs. Olson has since retired from the Capitol Museum. After the restoration of the State Capitol and its grand reopening, a book was published covering its history, written by Dr. Timothy Crimmins of Georgia State University, and Anne Farrissee, Democracy Restored: A History of the Georgia State Capitol (UGA Press, 2007).


The need for a society for those researching Spanish-speaking America has been felt by many researchers in the metro-Atlanta area. Anyone interested in forming such a group should contact Emma Zell, 4022-C Dunwoody Park Dr., Dunwoody, Ga. 30338 (481-0219). She is interested in gathering together a group of people who have done work in Hispanic records, either in person, via the Mormons, or however. She wants to share research sources, books, case studies, etc.


“Roswell: A Pictorial History” first published in 1985, has been updated and reprinted in a new, second edition. The book contains color prints of the fine homes there, an illustrated, narrative history of the town, which dates from the 1830s. It includes many historic photos and documents, census records from the part of Cobb County that included Roswell (until 1932), a long history of the Civil War and photographs of the mills from which the factory women were taken north by Yankee soldiers. There are numerous photos and stories of the early 20th century and the later restoration movement. The cemeteries are also covered. There is a full-name index. This book is a MUST for anyone with interest in metro-Atlanta’s history. With all the visitors coming to the city next year, anyone living in Roswell certainly will need this book to show the heritage and help answer questions. The cost is $55 plus 6% sales tax and $5 shipping from the Roswell Historical Society, P.O.Box 1636, Roswell, Ga. 30077 or call 992-1665. Copies can be purchased at the society’s headquarters.


I recently visited Augusta and saw the new headquarters of the Augusta Genealogical Society at 1109 Broad. It now occupies an historic bank and uses the vault to store old county records. The society is one of the most aggressive in the south. A visit to their facility is a must if you are in the area or have roots in that region. The collection is growing and donations of books and genealogy magazines are welcome. Dues are $25, Augusta Genealogical Society, P.O.Box 3743, Augusta, Ga. 30914-3743 or call(706) 722-4073.