Georgia Genealogy Trails
"Where your Journey Begins"
Wilkes, one of the original eight counties, was formed in 1777 from West St. Paul's Parish and the "Ceded Lands" of 1773. The nice new Court House at Washington should be an inspiration to the County Commissioners to continue the good work and have all the old records put in better condition. Many of the old books are greatly in need of reclaiming, and transcriptions, with indexes, should be made very soon, if these interesting records are to be saved for posterity. One of the oldest books found in the office of the Ordinary was a long narrow book of 60 pages, with parchment covers, in very bad condition, which contains many interesting trials of Revolutionary days. Another old book of mixed records, 1777 to 1783, with parchment back and no index and falling to pieces, contains the wills of many of the leading men of those stirring times. A third book of mixed records, 1781 to 1783, recorded by Barnard Heard, R. P., is in bad shape, and then there is a gap to 1801. A will book, beginning 1801, with no cover, is badly worn and the index is half gone. It has about 250 pages. The next book of wills is labeled "G. G.," begins 1806, and has 169 pages and an index. Later will books are all indexed, but very few old ones are in good condition.
The first book of Marriage Licences, covering the years 1776 to 1806, was unfortunately destroyed by fire in a lawyer's office some years ago, so the marriage records begin with the year 1806. The first book, 1806 to 1824, has no index, and the writing is badly faded. In a few more years it will be illegible. Another book of marriage licences, from 1811 to 1833, of about 250 pages, has no index and is falling to pieces. The next book, 1834 to 1855, is in better condition and indexed.
In the office of the Clerk of the Court are about 14 deed books, from 1710 to 1820, that are in rather bad condition and not included in the large duplex index of all deeds in the office. Each volume is supposed to have its own index, but some of those are missing.