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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society
News Update September 2002

Y2.2K NEWS9  283 Moss Oak Lane ST SIMONS ISLAND GA 31522  SEPTEMBER 2002

SEPTEMBER 15th MEETING will be held at College Place United Methodist Church on Altama Avenue, Brunswick, at 2PM. The informal program will be a "Show and Tell". Everybody please bring an example of your  more successful genealogy. You may yet find sympathy too, though your brick wall be solid as a rock. In all our failed searches, most of us  have had successes that will help others in their search. We'll all learn something! We will preceed the program with a short business meeting purposing to set up our Year 2003 schedule and plans. Bill Smith will preside over this part of our program. Please be there. CGGS needs you!


September 15th will mark our last scheduled meeting for 2002, unless we have a Christmas gathering [at the home of a member?]. Experience proves December a busy month for most of us, so we'd best plan any gathering for an early date – say, December 1 or 8. Let’s talk it up, especially since we’re only getting together on a quarterly basis - just four regular meetings during the year. If we want to have a Christmas get-together, come prepared to talk it up. If we all truly want to do something toward a Christmas party, it will be a success!

BETH GAY'S The Family Tree: Beth has graciously invited CGGS to display our monthly NewsLetter on the website, and you can see the JULY-AUGUST issue right now! It comes out in four miniature pages that you can click on to blow each page up to a readable size. Darn clever, these Georgia lassies and laddies!

WESTVILLE, GEORGIA'S WORKING 1850s TOWN  had an outbreak of Yellow Fever on August 31st 2002 -- a virtual outbreak, not an actual one. In reality, they had a day of programs explor-ing the historical stresses of disease outbreaks. Yellow Fever, a dramatic summertime malady which panicked all Nineteenth Century Americans was the focus of the August "epidemic" in the 1850s Village of Westville.

   The programs were based on research by  Colum-bus State University (CSU) Archives and their historian John Lupold into Yellow Fever scourges in the antebellum South.

   In the 1850s, no one knew about bacteria or anything such as West Nile Virus. Doctors talked instead about miasma (bad air). Nor had they yet fathomed the benefits of sanitation in disease pre-vention. Therefore, when an epidemic occurred whole populations panicked, misguided by wild superstitions. It took Dr.Walter Reed and his United States Yellow Fever Commission to prove the connection in 1901 between the carriers of the disease - mosquitoes to people - not people to people.

   Neighbors would avoid eachother whenever word spread that a neighbor had a disease. Several cases of a disease within a town might cause travelers to avoid that town "like the plague". Ensuing panics could virtually destroy commerce among towns, so local newspapers often featured articles about other towns and their epidemics, rather than writing any revealing stories about their own troubles. Fear of a neighbor with the disease proved to be unfounded, but they had not yet learned that fact of life.

   During the lifetime of towns such as Westville is designed to emulate there were many sicknesses. About half of all children born 150 years ago died before they grew to adulthood. Savannah lost 27 citizens to Yellow Fever in one 24 hour period alone in 1850, only a year or two after a Cholera epidemic had swept across our country. Yellow Fever returned in 1852 to kill 8,000 people in New Orleans. [Maybe people became too weakened in those pre-Civil War years to swat those pesky critters - no wonder we almost lost the Civil War a dozen years later]

    Yellow Fever would continue to plague us until in the Spanish-American War (1898) when medical teams began studying casualty lists and determined that deaths from disease outnumbered battle deaths five to one. That was the point when the Yellow Fever Commission set out to control mosquitoes. [but their method of spraying oil on every puddle of water to deny air to mosquito larvae would likely not be permitted in our ecologically enlightened day]

FORMER CGGS'er JOYCE VanMETER: now living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is a frequent e-mail visitor to our editorial In-Box. She receives the E-mail version of the CGGS News-Letter, and writes interesting comments, always deserving of space in subsequent CGGS News-Letters. ["Feedback" is a Hershey bar to any Editor!]

    Joyce belongs to the Bates family (her maiden name) of Old Virginia, one of several families in her area for which a DNA program is being tested on direct line males to connect them to the proper ancestors.

   Results of some of these tests have begun to come in and , disappointingly, Joyce's Bates connection does not appear eligible. She says she is now quite certain that her Bates ancestor was from Pennsyl-vania, passing through Virginia for only a short while, then on to Western Kentucky. [sounds like my kind of luck, Joyce].  But Joyce has not given up!

   Joyce attended a wonderful week-end seminar re-cently on Civil War action in her area, and writes that one particular talk of interest was West Virgin-ia's breakoff from Virginia. About 2/3 of the pop-ulation enlisted on the side of the Union, while the remaining 1/3 sided with the Confederacy. After the War, those who aided the Confederacy were greatly discriminated against, among other things not being allowed to own property, or to vote, for a very long time after hostilities ended.

   West Virginian's breaking away from the South was not so much about the War, as it was being so far away from the capitol, Richmond, and having such different views in general from the Tidewater Virginians….they had always been at odds with each other. [and to this day, Washington area Virginians continue at odds with Tidewater Virginians, as well as with Piedmont and mountain Virginians].

------------Thanks, Joyce, you write wonderfully well but we promise not to publish all of your e-mail.

WAYCROSS FRIEND OF CGGS: Walter K. Sylvester sent e-mail very much related to our genealogy interests. The following excerpts are taken from his quotes of a story by Telegraph Staff Writer Gray Beverly:

   While Earl Colvin's friends are drowning worms in the ponds of Jones County, or chasing hunting dogs, or losing golf balls at the nearest golf course, he will most likely be researching Jones County, Georgia gravesites.

   At least five generations of Earl's heritage lie buried in Jones County - his is a natural interest in grave site preservation. And he finds a surprizing lot of local history too, as he works to record grave marker inscriptions.

   Colvin has already registered 178 gravesites and about 8,000 graves in his county. He logs coordin-ates for each grave, using a Global Positioning Sys-tem device (GPS), and creates maps for many of the larger cemeteries. For graves, marked only by a rock or depression in the ground, he logs them too, men and women, black and white - if they are buried in Jones County he will work to find and log them.

   Georgia College & State University Professor of Information Services, Susan J. Harrington has become interested in Earl Colvin's project. She declares, "The data he's got is just fantastic, I don't know how he does it. I've never seen anything like that." [But most of us have]. Susan is a DAR, and has created a website of graves for Baldwin, Hancock and Jones counties. Go first to:       


   Colvin's information can be found on the above website, with indexes of family and cemetery names and, in many cases, included directions and photos. Did you know that the first licensed woman doctor is buried in Jones County? Colvin's work uncovered this little-known fact.

   Colvin's and Harrington's work will help genealo-gists and families for years to come, and perhaps help to shield cemeteries from developers and van-dals. Both researchers rightly note that federal law includes stern penalties for those who vandalize or desecrate grave sites [but sadly true too, only if the perpe-trator gets caught in the act- which ain't easy!].

ELECTRICSCOTLAND.COM: has its webmaster, Alastair McIntyre, as its Family Tree Internet editor. Alastair is a native Scotsman who actually lives in Scotland. Electric Scotland is the largest historical Scottish Internet site on the entire World Wide Web. He has more than 8,000 pages of history, genealogy and clan (family) information among other information, and even out-of-print books. Al McIntyre says that Electric Scotland has 10,000 visitors each day.

   Beth Gay, Editor-in-Chief of The Family Tree, writing in her monthly "Hunting Forebears" genealogy column in the Florida Times-Union, Prime Time supplement comments: "Our beginnings on Electric Scotland have been amazing. We've already heard from [website] visitors from Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, all over the United States and all over the world [Boy! This Georgia girl Thinks Big]. With the Internet, we're all as close as our computer keyboards".

   Beth continues, "Visit:

browse through the wondrous collection of things Scottish. Click on the Family Tree masthead at the top of the first page and browse through our Family Tree pages. We invite genealogical and historical societies, Scottish clan and ethnic groups to publish their own newsletter on the Internet within our Family Tree pages [this is totally generous, isn't it].

   We invite those who do Scottish crafts to become a part of our Internet 'Crafty Scots' and show off what you do. We invite you to report Scottish wed-dings or new babies born [seriously, not those bonny wee Scottish critters too!]. We hope it will be a place where the world will feel at home. in an age of marvels, whew!]

HISTORICAL ATLAS TO ALL 159 GEORGIA COUNTY COURTHOUSES on the Internet. It has maps for various years, when each county was established, and many other features, at:


stores a profusion of indexes of rolls of Native American Land Patents, Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes, Circle of First Nations, Dawes Packets, Fort Smith Criminal Cases, and other information on selected tribes.

COLLECTED INFORMATION ON COUNTIES including officers, C.H. addresses, cities in county:


- There was no Federal Census taken before 1790

- Parts of the census have been lost or destroyed.

- Many census takers did not take their responsibility seriously and were poorly trained.

- The first census asked only 7 questions. The earlier the census the fewer questions were asked.

- Whole families were sometimes left off the census if they happened to be away from home or visiting kin. In multi-family dwellings some families were overlooked.

- Some census takers did not follow instructions and left off answers for some of the questions.

- Small children home alone, or neighbors, were sometimes asked to answer census questions or the enumerator guessed at answers himself.

- Paper, ink and handwriting were often of poor quality.

- Answers filled in later by the enumerator often reflected his poor memory or faulty understanding of the questions.

- Some microfilms produced years later have been poor quality, too dark, too small, unreadable.

- Census searches for persons living in large cities can be difficult when you must know the ward or part of the city they lived in.

- Families, as well as census, takers often spelled surnames without rhyme or reason, thus causing confusion down through the ages.

[EXTRA GLITCH No.13 ."Most of us die and go to our graves with our music still inside us"].

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