Thursday, August 8, 2013

Georgia Roots - I Knew It! I Knew It!

Both my husband and I have deep roots in Cherokee County, Georgia.  For several years, whenever I was looking at census records, military records, or land records relating to Cherokee County, I kept feeling that someday I would find something suggesting that one of my relatives and one of my husband's relatives were neighbors or possibly knew each other.  The other day I was taking another look at the 1860 census for the Wild Cat District of Cherokee County, Georgia, trying to write a better citation for my husband's Great Grand Uncle Robert Hillhouse.  Then, right "next door", the next family enumerated, was that of my 3rd Great Grandfather Daniel Putnam!'  (I know the enumerator listed them as the Putman family, rather than the Putnam family, but that's another story.)

1860 US Census, population schedule, Wild Cat District, Cherokee County, Georgia, USA
(Hillhouse family outlined in blue, Putnam family outlined in pink)

I had to interrupt my husband's yard work to share my finding with him.  Oh course, I was mentally doing my happy dance because I had just felt I would someday find something like this.  Ever the realist, he asked what we would do with this information.  This has lead to a few plans that could serve as answers to his question.

First, I decided to post about it.  I see this as an example not so much of trying to prove what you think might have happened, but instead to be more aware of other people, relationships, or events that might become apparent when you are researching an ancestor.

Next, I'll be using HathiTrust Digital Library to look more closely at various regiments listed in the  Roster of the Confederate Soldiers in Georgia.  With so many relatives in my family and my husband's serving in the Confederate States Army in the companies coming from Cherokee County, Georgia, there may be members from both our families who served together in the same regiment or even the same company.

Later that same day, while looking through a Cherokee County Marriage Book. available online through the Georgia Virtual Vault, I noticed my 2nd Great Grandfather, William Hiram Dean, was listed as the minister performing a marriage.  My husband's 2nd Great Grandfather, Elijah Hillhouse, was a Justice of the Peace in the same county at about the same time.  Previously I had used the marriage books to attest to the names of spouses or the date of a marriage.  Now I'll pay more attention to the minister's name or that of the Justice of the Peace who performed the marriage.  There may turn out to be more family connections that occurred long before my husband and I ever met!

Finally, this had all been another reminder that these aren't just names on a census page.  They are people.  It is my husband's Great Grand Uncle Robert who had his spinster sisters Harriet and Elizabeth living with him for many years, even as he and his wife Semeline raised their three children.  It is also my 3rd Great Grandfather Daniel Putnam, one of so many born in the Carolinas, lured to Georgia through the Cherokee Land Lottery of 1832 and the eventual resells of many lots, farming his land with my 3rd Great Grandmother Mary McConnell Putnam as they raised nine children.  Real people with real stories worth celebrating.


  1. Mary,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!