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Migration Patterns of Early Settlers that came into Alabama

Two roads were used by many of the early settlers to reach our area.
The upper road named the Piedmont Federal Road came sown form Virginia and the Carolinas, crossed into Georgia near Anderson South Carolina, and went through Athens to Coweta County, Georgia. The lower road named the Fall Line Federal Road came down through Columbia, South Carolina, crossed into Georgia at Augusta, and merged with the upper road in Coweta County near Newnan, Georgia. These federal roads had many branch roads that were utilized to reach the more remote areas. A branch from Athens to Rome, Georgia was used by those who settled in Cherokee, Cleburne, Calhoun, Randolph and Talladega Counties, Alabama. The McIntosh Trail, just south of Anniston was a popular road from Carroll County, Georgia. Many settlers from Tennessee came down Jackson Trace through Huntsville and Alexandria Valley. The Wills Creek Road was popular for families traveling form the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.

The treaty of Cusseta(March 24, 1832)between the Indians and the U S government was very significant in attracting farm families here. The farm families who traveled together included relatives, freinds, fellow church members, and families of the wives. Most marriages were between young men and women from the same neighborhoods, some being cousins. These farm families had many children. Some of the farm families moved to western states for more fertile lands. Two of the most popular areas in Calhoun County for early farm famileis were the Alexandria and Choccolocco Valleys.

There were very few industrial, professional, and business families in this area until approzimately 1880. These families were smaller than farm families and did not migrate together as did the farmers. Many industrial families moved into Anniston in the 1880's as the iron industry was developing.
 

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Searching out Marriage Records

Search in the courthouse of the county where your ancestor lived. Until recent years, the license for marriage had to be taken out in the county of the brides's residence. If you cannot get to the county courthouse, or if the courthouse has lost the marriage records through fire or other calamity, there are several ways you might find out what you need. You can also look in the public library for books on that particular county. Perhaps someone has published a history and your ancestor is mentioned, or maybe there is a book listing all the marriage records for that county for a certain period.
If you do not find what you need there, write to the courthouse at the county seat or write to the archives department of the state in which you are looking. Make sure that you send the full name of the groom and full name of bride, if known and give the approximate year of marriage.

Family Bibles usually contain records of births, marriages and deaths. These are considered primary souce materials and are proof of marriage. Old photographs may have a date and place written on the back as well as the names of the people involved. While wedding photographs were not as plentiful in the old days as they are now, they were popular and fairly inexpensive after about 1860. Old newspapers that have been microfilmed and are available for reading in public libraries and state archives. Many of these contain marriage notices. Will books in the courthouse are another important source of marriage information. A person's will usually gave the name of all children, including the husband of a daughter. Some of the churches kept marriage records and many still have the old minutes of their proceedings. Old diaries, letters and account books may have what you need. Talk to older members of your family, they may have information for you.
 

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Problems With Old Records

Our ancestors, even as recently as the mid-1800's, spelled words according to the way they sounded(phonetically), it they could write at all. A large percentage of the population could not read. Fewer Americans could write, and even fewer could spell. Those who could write just did not concern themselves with standardized spelling. They wrote the words like they sounded.
Remember that the early settlers of America were emigrants from may foreign lands, each with an accent. When records were made, the person writing the records wrote what he heard or thought he heard. Names and spellings were at the mercy of the person doing the writing. Somethimes names were even spelled several different ways in the same record.
This fact should alert researchers to the possibility of misspelled surnames in records. Never skip a bit of information just because the name is not spelled exactly as you think your ancestor spelled his name. If the name sounds like your ancestor's, investigate the possibility that there is a connection. Researchers should be extremely careful in use of indexes too, and consider every possible spelling and misspelling of a name.
 

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Finding ancestors' death dates


If you think your ancestor died in the 12 months before a census was taken, read the mortality schedule for that year and county of residence. These records give the name of the deceased, age, color, place of birth, month of death, occupation, cause of death, and length of illness. Of course, there is only a one-in-ten chance your ancestor died just before the census was taken, but this is possible source. In you search for death dates, don't overlook the small family cemeteries. Up until the late 1800's, most people in the South lived in the country and had plenty of space for their burials. Don't forget to check, old newspapers on microfilm for the death of an ancestor. If he or she was at all prominent, the death was placed on the front page. Ordinary people had obituaries scattered all over the pages. If you do not find and obituary, read all the legal notices. When a will was filled, the probate judge filed notice in the paper for all creditor's to appear by a certain date. this usually ran several times before the stated date.
 

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Will and Deeds

After it has been probated, a will is copied by a clerk into a will book. The original will, alogn with other pertinent papers, is filed away in the courthouse. A general index to will books shows the book number or letter and the page number where the will was copied. So, look for the general index to wills and/or administrations. If there is no general index book, however, read indexes in each will book, starting with the earliest available will book. Or, if you have a good idea of the year in which your ancestor died, look at the spine of each wil book and choose the appropriate book. In the front of each book should be an index showing the name of the deceased and the page on which his records are recorded.
If your ancestor left no will, you might find what is called administration records in the will book. these show what disposal was made of the deceased's property.
In most courthouse, there is a general index to deeds, both grantor and grantee. The grantor (sometimes called direct) index listis first the seller and then the buyer. The grantee(indirect) index lists first the buyer and then the seller. If there is no general idnex to deeds, read indexes in each book, starting with the earliest deed book available. When you find your ancestor first buying property in the county, that will give you a good idea of just how early he came into the area. And unless he died in the county where you're searching, his last deed of sale could tell you about when he sold out and moved on. Some of these old records may be difficult to read, so you may prefer to get a photocopy to take with you.
 

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About the Census

The census 1790 through 1840 only had the head of the household with the other members of the household were grouped and recorded according to sex and age. By 1850, each person was listed on a separate line with age, birth place(state or foreign country), and other data. The order of listing was: husband, wife, children(from oldest to youngest), anyone else in the household, such as parents, in-laws, boarders, and servants, each adult male's occupation was shown.
Saves were recorded in separate census reports in 1850 and 1860. Their names wre not recorded, howerver. Slaves wre merely counted by age and sex and recorded under the name of the owner or overseer.
The 1860 census called for the occupation of everyone over 15 years old, and other columns were added. By 1870, all persons, regardless of race, were listed on one schedule, and the number of columns was expanded. By 1880 the questionnaire had 24 columns of data. Included were the individual's martital status and the birth place of his or her parents. The street name and house number also appeared on that record.
The 1890 census is not available. All records of that census were lost in a fire in Washington several years ago., according to several authorities. REcords for some states for other years are also missing. for example, Georgia's 1800 and 1810 censuses.
The 1900 census brought a further expansion of the form, providing a bonaza of information reasearchers. It even shows the number of children of a woman and how many were alive at census time.
Census records allow you to trace ancestors' migrations from state to state. Birth states of children usually indicate the family's migration route. Your ancestors' migration route will become important when you start trying to find marriage records, wills and other evidence of your forebears' lives.

Searching Census Records

When searching census records, choose only one family line to search as a beginning. For instance, if you wish to trace your father's ancestory, choose either of his parents but not both. Tracing only one line at a time reduces confusion. However, if you run across a reference to another ancestor with searching write the information down so you can go back to it later. Copy every entry of your ancestor's surname whether or not you think there is a connection. Later, you will be glad you took the time to record every entry. Census records are full of errors, so they must be used with that thought in mind. Names often were spelled like they sounded to the census taker. If the person giving the information did not know the facts, such as ages and birthdates, he or she merely guessed.
Censuses are all on a county basis, and within the county, the earlier records are grouped by district or beat and the later ones are grouped by wards.
The census records of 1790 through 1910 are on microfilm and are available to the public for research. The government releases them at the end of 72 years for us at a Federal Records Center(one of which is located in East Point, Georgia). The Alabama Room at the Anniston/Calhoun County Library has all available censuses for Alabama through 1910. It also has Georgia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia census through 1900. For Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the library's records go through 1880. The Alabama Room has printed indexes for most states for 1850 and earlier. Be aware that only the head of the household is indexed, so you'll need to look for that ancestor's name and also look under every possible spelling of the name. Usually an index will provid the name of the fmily head, the county, census page number, and maybe the subdivision of the county. This information guides you to the correct microfilmed census record.
For all other states, a researcher must go to a Federal Records Center or find another library that has the needed censuses.
 

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Faye, I can attest to your statement:
"Old newspapers that have been microfilmed and are available for reading in public libraries and state archives. Many of these contain marriage notices."
Bill's 3xgreat-grandfather's first marriage was probably listed in one of the many Marriage Books in the Bedford Co., TN, clerk's office that were destroyed, hence no "official" record. However, someone had gone through the old newspapers, abstracted the marriage notices, compiled them into a book, placed it in the public library and a listing of the marriage was found. This not only gave the date, but the place and the wife's maiden name.
Along that same thought...sometimes marriages listed in the official books that have survived just give basic information (Bill's 2xgreat-grandfather's marriage record in the official books only gives his name as L.P. Nobles, bride's name B.J. Floyd). If you can find a newspaper announcement, it will usually provide much more (information). And, of course, family Bibles are the best source, but can sometimes be hard to find.
Sometimes you just have to "go at" finding the information you seek from another angle.
Deb (Mrs. Butler Ford, sneaking in on his Login instead of doing her own! HaHa!)
 

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Deb,

Yesterday, while I was reading about St. Clair County, Alabama on the internet I found where two of Bill's(Graybeard) great-grandmother Elizabeth(Lonnergan)Graham's brothers John L and Sam Houston had bought the Looney House(it is a museum now) in 1888. It also told that John and Sam married the Hart sisters, Eliza and Josephine.

I didn't realize that when I was reading that article that I would be adding to his family tree.

Faye
 
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