The 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery

Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Early settlers to Georgia were busy drawing in the land lotteries, the last one being for land in Cherokee County which was divided into ten counties, viz: Cass (renamed Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, and Union. This was the region known as “land of the Cherokee Indians”. 160 acres was offered to those who qualified. Afterwards, in 1849, Cherokee County had 19 districts!

If you are searching for Indian ancestors, all of the above counties in North Georgia need to be researched. Before departing, the Indians hid their gold and silver mines and drew maps of the locations. We know this because about 1914 a wagon train of Indians from Oklahoma visited North Georgia. They had maps to assist in retrieving their valuables. There was an attraction by white settlers for gold, especially around Dahlonega (Lumpkin County) where a number of producing mines operated during the up through the mid-1900s. If you lost an ancestor, he might found somewhere in one of these counties. An excellent resource is county tax digests. Georgia Pioneers has put images of the 1849 Tax Digest on its website (available to members). This is where to search for elusive ancestors. Unfortunately, other tax digests for Cherokee County did not survive.

We all seem to have elusive ancestors. However, a more intensive study of the tidbits and what was happening “back in the day” should provide more fertile clues.

Our Tennessee Ancestors

Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Pictured is Cumberland Gap. Tennessee was settled by migrants from Virginia and North Carolina. They poled keel boats from the Ohio River up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. They were a composite of ultimately millions of English, French, Irish, German and Ulster Scots who made land in New England during the early eighteen hundreds. But mostly they were poor families who, due to dire circumstances, turned explorers.

After the Revolutionary War, while the Loyalists escaped into Nova Scotia and Florida, the territories comprising Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia were making the cultural shift of mountaineering. That was when the State of Franklin was formed. Remember that we had thirteen separate colonies. The territory West of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains was unexplored territory.

Some say that the residents of Franklin became a people distinctly different from those settlers in the Atlantic regions who fought the war for independence. Nevertheless, I have personally researched families who came from those same mountains and who enlisted in the war as well as the local militias. These rugged individualists set out to make a life for themselves along the Cumberland Gap and all the way to the Ohio River. They planted, fished, hunted, and fought off the Indians. For those who did join the battles of the Revolutionary War, their skills with the rifle made them some of the best soldiers. The genealogy hunt takes us across Burke County North Carolina into the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains.

The State of Franklin. At the time of its formation in 1784, the State of Franklin had four counties which belonged to North Carolina, now referred to as the Cumberland River Valley. These four counties merged into Northeastern Tennessee, thus claiming the counties known today as Blount, Sevier, Spencer, Wayne, Greene, Washington, Caswell and Wayne. Tennessee continued to attract settlers from the Atlantic States, moving further West into Arkansas and Texas. Whether we think of Tennesseans as “explorers” or “mountain people”, there is a lot of tracking dealing with finding their origins. Admittedly, the Cumberland Gap is a true haven of beauty and peace, and certain hill people adopted the hermit lifestyle. We are a record-keeping people, but what with Indian raids and massacres, the early explorers left little of the written word behind, save quaint mountain cultures and a unity of family. However, the militia records, revolutionary war pensions, and details of the Indian battles are fair game for research. We simply have to delve deeper into the historical records. There is some interestiing history contained in the old wills and estates. Rather than just skimming through for names, it behooves us to read carefully to story which unfolds before us. Then think about it. The clues and answers will come.

New Tennessee Records added to (part of 8 Genealogy Websites and Georgia Pioneers)

Images of Claiborne County Wills, Estates and Settlements from 1812 to 1879. Members of Georgia Pioneers - After clicking on the “Login Menu” on Georgia, click on “Tennessee”.


Where to Search for Kentucky Ancestors

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Did you know that during the 1700s that most Kentuckians came from Pennsylvania ports? During this period millions of Germans, Scots and Scotch-Irish landed in Pennsylvania and began their trek to find settlements. The first settlements were in Bucks and Berk Counties before taking the wagon trail southwestward across Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. One example is the Boone family. The original settler was George Boone, a Quaker, who resided in Philadelphia with 10 to 12 children. Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy should help to locate some of the generations. As with so many others, the Boones were explorers and the names of George and Squire reappear again and again in these families. Another source of the origins of Kentuckians is in Maryland. No one seemed to remain in one place during the 18th and 19th centuries. What that means is that the genealogist need to trek along the early explorer path, searching county records and military rosters as Indian troubles were commonplace. Do not forget to research the names of those who served in the militia companies of 1774 when the great Indian war was fought against the Shawnees and Chief Cornstalk at the falls of the Ohio River .

Lord Dunsmore’s War. Irrespective of the fact that the Virginians won the war and a treaty was signed, Cornstalk continued to send his warriors into Virginia and Kentucky to drive out the white man, kill settlers and capture women for slaves. has some diaries about women who were taken as slaves. I found an old LWT in Virginia that named two daughters who were taken by the Indians (never returned). This is why you gotta read all the Wills in the counties where your ancestors resided! There is simply a lot of personal information and historical data in these documents.

Also, some extra reading of of history will provide minute details and clues of where to search next.

Kentucky has a number of old wills and estates online. To learn if any of your ancestors were there, click here

Reading Finds Answers

By Jeannette Holland Austin

It might be said that the Battle of Camden, SC was a turning point for the Americans. The reason is that Colonel Banastre Tarleton had given “No Quarter” to an earlier battle, and South Carolinians were enraged. They retaliated by enlisting in large numbers in the South Carolina Militia. These country soldiers were experts in hunting and survival techniques. They brought their rifles and by the time they reached King’s Mountain, were ready to subdue the likes of Tarleton.

There is so much to be learned while tracing the ancestors! The task encourages us to read tons of information. But sometimes the obvious reading is not apparent. Part of my personal research always includes revolutionary war records. Abstracts of the pension records can be found at most regional libraries. The details written by the veterans not only includes the battles he fought and officers served under, but often includes family bible records as well as intimate details of family members. Here is where you will find find who, when and where he was married; where he resided at the time of enlistment and afterwards; names of children and other kin. If one carefully reads each pension (of the specific surname), the history of the family in general unfolds to reveal clues of where to search next. Suspect are soldiers with the same surname who enlisted from the same general vicinity, and where they went after the war. I have found brothers in the same family, but the real details of their travels did not emerge until I searched the county records. Sometimes it is a long trail, but boy is it worth it! Reading more people’s war records and then delving into the battles fought by the officers (under which your ancestor served), opens up a world of understanding of the times. More Stories

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