Thanksgiving is good time to pass on, and gather, family stories


As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a good time to prepare to ask some family history questions and pass on some family stories.

With relatives gathering — maybe for one of the few occasions that bring together the extended family — this is a good opportunity to discuss things that are difficult to talk about via email or phone. Bring some family photographs to pass around. Bring up a story you’ve heard and see what others might add to it. It’s a good time to ask questions such as “What role did Granddad play in the war?” Also, it could be the perfect time to discuss your latest genealogy find, in moderation. Flooding families with pages of data, an idea many genealogists relish, is usually not the way to get others interested. Family stories, whether totally provable or not, are always a good way to prompt the conversation. You might also bring up DNA testing, as a new way to get folks involved. Be prepared to record the talks on your phone, tablet or some other device to transcribe later for preservation.

Bibb County trial records published

“Bibb County, Georgia, Superior Court Trial Records, 1822-1842” is the latest work by the prolific Michael A. Ports. If you have roots in Macon, and wondered if a relative really was a horse thief, then check here. These are the kinds of juicy court documents you wish existed for every county. Only by examining actual Superior Court cases do we get all the details. Many folks appear as jurors, others are on trial or as witnesses. While there are some murder cases, and lots of assault and battery, the best trials are those over moral issues, relationships outside of marriage, running a “lewd or disorderly house,” and such. The book is useful to genealogists, but social historians should find it good fodder for analysis of why people were taken to court in those days. The softcover book is fully indexed and available for $38.50 plus postage from the Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore, genealogical.com or call 800-296-6687.

The Yazoo Fraud

The Yazoo Fraud of the 1780s has always been a controversial part of Georgia history, and many of our ancestors got tangled into it. For a fresh, scholarly look, see Brenden Kennedy’s “Not Worth a Pinch of Snuff: the 1789 Yazoo Land Sale and Sovereignty in the Old Southwest,” in the Georgia Historical Quarterly’s third issue for 2017. This fully footnoted article leads to many other sources and is well worth reading. The GHQ can be found at the Georgia Archives, other libraries and from the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, via its website georgiahistory.com.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O.Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Interior designers won’t be decorating with these trends in 2018
Interior designers won’t be decorating with these trends in 2018

A new year is not only a chance to reflect on our accomplishments, but also an opportunity to look forward and set new goals for our health, career, relationships and home, too. While we don’t subscribe to the “new year, new you” tropes, we do believe in the power of intention setting. By clearly articulating your thoughts and desires...
Golden Berry hollies, dazzling in the winter landscape
Golden Berry hollies, dazzling in the winter landscape

Here at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, we are like the holly headquarters for the Low Country. We’ve got the imports, the hybrids, and fantastic natives that most have never seen. Two of my favorites are outstanding deciduous natives, the possumhaw (Ilex decidua) and the winterberry (Ilex verticillata). The possumhaw is native to 19 states...
Check snapdragons, replace if necessary
Check snapdragons, replace if necessary

Q: My snapdragons look really damaged from cold. Do you think they will come back? Is there anything I can do to help them survive? Jenelle Hickman, email A: I have seen snapdragons suffer a beating from winter cold and still look very nice in April. Gently finger-squeeze the stems of your plants. If they are firm, the snapdragons may recover...
Help make a difference in a healthier food system with seed catalogs
Help make a difference in a healthier food system with seed catalogs

“I believe that the positive power of seeds is the best way to accelerate our transition to a healthier food system,” says Tom Stearns, owner and founder of High Mowing Organic Seeds. He wants to help us all make a difference in the world with the great new 2018 catalog. A whopping 112 pages of full color veggies and flowers means the resource...
Naval architect designs his own otherworldly lunar lander
Naval architect designs his own otherworldly lunar lander

BEVERLY, Wash. — Houston, we have a project. Technically, it is not a starship, but it certainly has proved quite the enterprise. Our DIY commander, Kurt Hughes, has systematically designed and built his very own livable, lovable lunar lander, securely perched on an acre of peaceful Central Washington terrain. It is out-of-this-world spectacular...
More Stories