Several months ago, I discovered that the (non-indexed) images of Georgia Probate records had been added to FamilySearch. I started searching through the Administration & Guardian Bonds for Murray County and immediately hit pay dirt with a guardianship bond for my 3rd great-grandfather, Andrew B. Baxter. I also found a guardianship bond for the children of a 2nd great-grandfather, J. Y. Hemphill.
Last night, I was reviewing what I had found. I thought I had searched the entire record and found nothing else, but I was jumping around in the images online and found at least two more records. I realized that I need to be more organized and methodical about searching these images. I also realized while at the Family History Library last week that I need a list of relevant surnames for each locality that I’m searching; I can’t rely on my memory anymore, because there are simply too many names to remember, especially in the counties where I have a lot of people, such as Murray County, Georgia.
So, here’s my research plan for searching this record.
Search the “Administration and Guardian Bonds 1844-1896″ records of Murray County, Georgia for the following surnames:
Adair, Alexander, Bailey, Baxter, Beamer, Black, Botten, Bradford, Bright, Bruer, Butler, Campbell, Carter, Caylor, Chable, Childers, Coffey, Couch, Dillard, Dwight, Ellis, Elrod, Fouts, Goodwin, Green, Greenlee, Haney, Harris, Harrison, Headrick, Heartsill, Hemphill, Henderson, Johnson, Jones, Kendrick, Kilgore, Langford, Langston, Lankford, Lawson, Littlefield, Love, Lowery, Lytle, Manley, Matthews, McClure, McEntire, McIntyre, McKinney, Moreland, Morgan, Mullinax, O’Neal, Osborn, Patterson, Poteet, Ridley, Roberts, Rogers, Sampler, Saunders, Sharp, Shields, Stanfield, Stanford, Stroud, Stuart, Terry, Thompson, Townsend, Tucker, Vineyard, Wallace, Ward, West, Whitener, Wofford.
Yes, that’s 79 surnames. I don’t know why I thought I could keep them all in my head and associate them with Murray County.
To come up with the list of surnames, I did a people search in RootsMagic on the following criteria:
- “Any fact” place contains Murray and Georgia – this gives me a list of people have any event associated with Murray, Georgia.
- Color coding is not Yellow – this is how I designate people outside my research mission, which is direct ancestors and two generations of descendants. People who are color-coded yellow might be three or more generations away from my ancestors or parents of spouses, etc.
- “Any fact” date is after 1843 and before 1897 – the date range for this record set is 1844-1896, so I want to exclude people who died before 1844 or were born after 1896. By searching on the “any fact” field, I don’t inadvertently exclude people for whom I have other information, but don’t have a birth or death date.
This search turned up 305 names. I exported the report, pulled it into Excel, and ran the Remove Duplicates tool to trim the list down to one instance of each surname.
My next step is to review the handwritten name index in the books and then start paging through, image by image, with the list of surnames by my computer.
I bet I find more records that I’ll be interested in. But even if I don’t, I’ll know that I didn’t miss anything important.