Chatham County, Georgia
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Welcome to Chatham County, Georgia Genealogy Trails. Our goal is helping you find your ancestors by placing data online for the Free use of all researchers.  We are proud to expand into Georgia providing our "experience" gained from years of researching our ancestors and website hosting.  We want to hear about you and the history of your ancestors. We need help with contributions of your data, history and stories to make this a great site for research.  Everything is helpful: Obituaries, Biographies, Photos and County History, to name a few.

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The first people to settle in and around Savannah were the Yamacraws, a Native American tribe. In the 18th century under their leader Tomochici, they met the newly arriving European settlers. In November 1732, the ship Anne sailed from Britain carrying 114 colonists, including General James Oglethorpe. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and, in an example of some of the earliest "Southern hospitality", were greeted by Tomochici, the Yamacraws, and John and Mary Musgrove, Indian traders. (Mary Musgrove often served as a translator.) The city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the colony of Georgia. Because of the friendship between Oglethorpe and Tomochici, Savannah was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare that marked the beginnings of many early American colonies.

The name "Savannah" means "Shawnee"; it derives from a Muskoghean Indian word—a variant of Sawanoki, the native name of the Shawnees. Georgia colonists adopted this name for the Savannah River and then for the city.

In 1738, Jews from Spain and Portugal arrived in Savannah.

In 1740, George Whitefield founded the Bethesda Orphanage, which is now the oldest extant orphanage in the United States.

Silk and indigo production, both in demand in England, were early export commodities; by 1767 almost a ton of silk was exported annually to England

During the American Revolutionary War, Savannah came under British and Loyalist control in 1778. At the Siege of Savannah in 1779, American and French troops (the latter including a company of free blacks from Haiti) fought unsuccessfully to retake the city.

On January 27, 1785, members of the State Assembly gathered in Savannah to found the nation's first state-chartered, public university—the University of Georgia (in Athens).

The First Byran Baptist Church is an African-American church that started in 1788. The original church building was built in 1793 on land that was owned by African-Americans. In 1832 a split in the congregation occurred, producing the First African Baptist Church, Franklin Square; which was built in 1859 by its members, most of whom were slaves.

In 1818 shipping and business stopped when the city fell under quarantine due to a yellow fever epidemic. Many ships never came back to Savannah, dealing a harsh blow to the local cotton industry.

Savannah Facts

Savannah is the county seat of Chatham County, Georgia...Savannah was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. It was founded by General James Oglethorpe in 1733...It is the primary port on the Savannah River and is located along the U.S. Intracoastal Waterway...Savannah's architecture and history are internationally known, as is its reputation for Southern charm and hospitality. The city prides itself as the "Hostess City of the South." ...Savannah houses the nation's most valuable living collection of 18th and 19th century architecture. It encompasses six Historic Neighborhoods and each spring Savannahians open their doors to visitors during the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens...Savannah's downtown area is the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States...Residents of Savannah are known as Savannahians ...Tybee Island, formerly known as "Savannah Beach", is the site of the Tybee Island Light Station, the first lighthouse on the southern Atlantic coast.

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Wills index up to 1825
1850 Mortality Census
Orphans 1785-1859
1939 Hubertonian Yearbook
1937 Armstrong Junior college yearbook

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Neighboring Counties

Jasper County, South Carolina - northeast

Bryan County, Georgia - west

Effingham County, Georgia - northwest

Towns/Cities in Chatham County

Incorporated Cities
Bloomingdale -- Garden City -- Pooler -- Port Wentworth -- Savannah
Thunderbolt -- Tybee Island -- Vernonburg

Unincorporated Census Designated Places
Georgetown -- Isle of Hope -- Montgomery -- Skidaway Island --
Whitemarsh Island -- Wilmington Island

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