A Silver Beaker from the Past

17th or 18th Century

How do you think of an old family relic or treasure? Is it something which you would very much like to pass down to your children while telling them a story? If so, your thoughts are consistent with those of your ancestors. From the very beginning, colonists to the American Continent carried their treasures across Europe and on the high sea. As a matter of fact, there was a good store of silver in many of the homes of the early planters. Such was the instance of Margaret Cheesman, of Bermondseam who, in 1679, bequeathed a great silver beaker and tankard with other plates to the children of Lemuel Mason of Virginia. <a href="https://www.geni.com/people/Col-Lemuel-Mason/6000000000462363437">Colonel Lemuel Mason</a> Much care was taken in furnishing the home with London imports. If we really want to know more about our ancestors, the inventory of their estate details such items as clothing, furnishings, and often items as precious as Mrs. Chessman's silver beaker. What happened to the family treasures over the years as they were passed on? If you have an unidentified antique in your family, the last will and testament, inventory, and sales of an estate might provide some answers because this is where the testator passes down items of inheritance. These documents are generally found at the local county court house where your ancestor resided. Further back in time, Virginia Pioneers has a vast collection of old wills and estates dating from the 17th to 19th centuries. Sources: Leah and Rachel, p. 16; New England Historical and Genealogical Register, April 1693, p. 250. Virginia Pioneers

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New genealogy additions to Elbert County GA

Duryear Auto

1893 Duryear Automobile on display at the Smithsonian Institute.


The first auto to drive using gasoline! One of the many examples of the engineering talent of our ancestors. In 1893, homes did not yet have electric lights. It was an era of great inventions which propelled industry and discovery forward even to the degree that we have today. One might conclude that this auto was a precurser to our first trip to the moon!

Where Clans Resided in Scotland

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Online view of this map

North Carolina. Many people in the USA descend from a Scottish Clan. During the early 1700s, particularly, many migrated to America, to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. As soon as they landed in an American port, they joined other Scottish settlements before moving on. These were the people who crossed traveled along the Wagon Road out of Pennsylvania and across the Wilderness Trail of Virginia into western territory. Highlanders, particularly, seemed to settle in mountainous areas. North Carolina Pioneers has added some interesting links (available to members, part of Georgia Pioneers) to the first Scottish settlers to Cumberland County, North Carolina. This was the Flora Macdonald migration just before the Revolutionary War. The history itself is helpful in knowing where to search next. Also, listed is the history of individual clans. North Carolina Scots

Georgia. The Highlanders brought over to Georgia from Inverness, Scotland played a major role in settlement and actually helped General Oglethorpe to win the War with Spain! Georgia Pioneers has added “The Darien Scheme” and other information concerning Highlanders in Darien. Colonial Scots in Georgia

South Carolina. Some data about SC Scots here

All of the above links are available to members of Georgia Pioneers (8 genealogy websites)

The Internet is not the "Bee All" of Genealogy

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

The Internet has not yet reached a high level of publishing all genealogical data and resources. In fact, it is “just the beginning.” That means that State Archives and local and regional libraries are still a great source for genealogists. Also, there are cemeteries to visit, old bibles to find and relatives to question. The whole thing is to find all possible information that is out there. One of my favorite haunts is antique shops because people continue dispose of valuable papers, journals, newspapers, diaries, especially from estate sales. There are just a lot of surprises out there. The one which thrilled me the most was the discovery in an attic of a book from a probate court. Turns out that the owner had been the clerk of the court, and often took his work home with him. On this one occasion, there was a court house fire and these books survived. Also, country churches kept records (baptisms, births, marriages, deaths) which often found their way into the hands of local residents. Doesn’t hurt to ask !

The two most essential elements of tracing families is the census and county records. For this reason, Georgia Pioneers continues to digitize county records. Last year, we digitized a bulk of Virginia county records dating from the early 1600’s and put the information online. This year, we are adding more Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee county records. Fortunately, I was able to scan most of the Georgia Militia Records dating from 1755 before the Georgia Archives closed down. (The militia is helpful to locating persons serving in militia units during the Revolutionary War, and provides some pretty vital information).

All county records were put on microfilm during the 1950s. Irrespectively however, some counties got omitted, like Georgia’s Cobb County. That is why I visited there and acquired as much data as possible. Needless to say that all records had not survived as there were county fires, etc. Today, when one visits a court house, they are likely to discover a database on a public computer and have to order records brought to them. Also, it is becoming commonplace to send old records to an off-site warehouse. One needs to inquire first, before visiting. A better choice is to visit the State Archives where the records are on microfilm.

But, unfortunately, certain State Archives have budget issues and are not always open to the public. Again, we need to inquire.

Comes the Chinese pandemic. Everything that I know of is closed, including local and regional libraries which also maintain genealogical records such as census, newspapers, published county records, and so on.

It is my hope that the expansion of the Georgia Pioneers website (to include Alabama, Kentucky, NC, SC, TN and VA) is helpful to everyone. Happy hunting to all genealogists this year!

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