Newspaper Indexes are Important Sources

December 4th, 1994


Newspapers are one of the most important resources for genealogists and historians. While Georgia’s extant early newspapers are on microfilm at the University of Georgia’s Main Library, access to the information is made easier through detailed indexes. Luckily, the R.J.Taylor, Jr., Foundation has made possible the publication of several important series of indexes. The most prolific indexer in Georgia is at present Tad Evans of Savannah. He is continuing the indexing and abstracting of Milledgeville’s “Georgia Journal”. Begun by the late Fred Hartz and his wife Emilie, Evans has now published Volume IV which covers 1829-1835. It covers all the legal notices from the various counties surrounding the capital city of Milledgeville, marriages, deaths, letters at the post office, and other items of interest. The 1100-page volume is fully indexed. ($65 plus $4 postage).

Evans, who abstracts, edits, and publishes from his home, has just completed a three-volume set: “Washington County, Georgia, Newspaper Clippings”. Volume I covers 1852-1866, Vol. II (1867-1880) and Volume III (1881-1889). Each of these also includes legal notices, marriages and deaths, letters at the post office, grand jury lists, and Civil War muster rolls in volume one. Each has a full-name index. Each of the Washington County volumes is about 500 pages long, and sells for $40 plus $4 postage. The author also has a ten-volume series of Dodge County newspaper abstracts covering 1873-1968, and two for Montgomery County (1886-1919). He has launched a new series on Milledgeville’s other newspaper, “The Union Recorder”, to be out early in 1995. For any of these works, contact the author, Tad Evans, 1506 Stillwood Dr., Savannah, Ga. 31419. Those volumes sponsored by the Taylor Foundation can be found at any of the thirty Georgia libraries where they have been donated, including those in Marietta, Macon, and at the Georgia Archives.


The 1850 Census records for Baldwin and Bibb Counties, Georgia, have been abstracted and added to the multi-volume series being compiled by Rhea Otto of Savannah. For the past twenty years, she has published abstracts, county by county, of Georgia’s 1850 Census, the first one to list all members of the household. Baldwin County’s booklet includes lists of Irish-born laborers, and inmates of both the state mental hospital and the state prison, both of which were in the then-state capital of Milledgeville. The prisoners appear under “Allen” and the mental patients under “Featherstone” and “Green”. Since the inmates names have a greater likelihood of being misspelled, the lists should be read carefully. The records of these two state institutions can be found at the Georgia Archives and some have been published in Robert S. Davis, Jr.’s “The Georgia Black Book (2 volumes)”. Remember, if you cannot find someone in the state-wide index to the 1850 Census and yet think he was in a certain county, read the abstracts! Each of these are $6.75 each from Mrs. W. W. Otto, 8816 Ferguson Ave., Savannah, Ga. 31406. A long, stamped, self-addressed envelope is needed for a list. Mrs. Otto abstracts only Georgia for 1850 (a monumental project itself) and no other years, and no other states.
Update: Mrs. Otto died, and family members carried on her work briefly. Address validity unknown. December 13, 2010.