Genealogy Research Resources of Coastal Georgia
Do you have ancestors from coastal Georgia? Are you wondering where you can locate those hard-to-find genealogical resources? Coastal Georgia, which includes Bryan, McIntosh, Liberty, Glynn, and Camden counties, has a rich and well-documented history, and many opportunities to find out more about it and your local ancestors.
Brunswick Library Genealogy Room
The Heritage Room in the Marshes of Glynn Library System’s downtown Brunswick library location has an extensive non-circulating collection of reference materials on Georgia counties and families, back issues of journals such as the Georgia Genealogical Magazine and the Georgia Genealogical Society’s quarterly magazine, books on local history and by local authors, genealogical references from around the United States, microfilm of the Brunswick News archives, and many other valuable resources. The Heritage Room also has a computer that allows free use of the Ancestry.com site and a brand new (as of 2018) microfilm reader that makes scanning and printing from microfilm much easier.
To see what the Heritage Room has to offer, use the Georgia Pines Libraries’ System search page. Under the search bar, change “Search Within” to “Brunswick-Glynn County Library” (listed under “Marshes of Glynn Libraries”) and search for the book or subject you’re interested in. If the call number is preceded by “SPEC COL,” that resource is in the Heritage room. The room is open whenever the library is open: Location and Hours for the Brunswick Library.
If your search turns up a resource of interest, and you are not in the local area, volunteers at GlynnGen.com and the Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society are often willing to do look-ups. The Brunswick library is not staffed for look-ups.
GlynnGen.com Coastal Georgia Genealogy & History web site
A web site, GlynnGen.com Coastal Georgia Genealogy & History, is a regional treasure. Its owner, Amy Hedrick, has been researching and documenting Glynn County and surrounding areas for many years. The site has transcriptions of court records, cemetery records, family histories, African-American records, historical maps, school and military records, and many more too numerous to mention. If you are researching ancestors who lived in Glynn County or surrounding areas, be sure to check this web site and the GlynnGen.com Facebook page.
Coastal Georgia Genealogy Society
The Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society meets every other month starting in January at the St. Simons Island Casino, room 108, with various additional programs throughout the year. Its upcoming May 20, 2018, meeting will be on the topic of “Trash or Treasure? Preparing for the Future of Your History” by Maria Fleming Pertuz. The CGGS also has a Facebook page and group. Members receive a monthly newsletter.
Coastal Georgia Historical Society
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society operates a museum and gift store (including books of local interest) on St. Simons Island, and provides access to its archives for members. Be sure to visit the museum and lighthouse if in the local area.
Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum
Were your coastal Georgia ancestors Methodists? You’re in luck. The Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum on St. Simons Island is the repository for records of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Anyone may use their vault for research free of charge, and staff will do searches for you if you can’t get there, in exchange for a donation to the museum. The staff is very helpful.
LDS Family History Center — Brunswick
Operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Brunswick Family History Center, affiliated with the genealogical treasure-trove FamilySearch.org, provides free access to genealogy databases and software, such as Ancestry.com. The Center is staffed by volunteers and has limited hours. Contact information is in the link (as are its hours, but be sure to call in advance).
Savannah Library Genealogy Room
The Kaye Kole Genealogy and Local History Room at the Savannah Public Library’s Bull Street location contains a large number of resources for local family history, including manuscripts, maps, county and family histories, census records, Savannah local materials such as telephone and city directories, and many other materials. Their hours are not the same as the Bull Street library’s hours, so be sure to check the above link before going. The Live Oaks (Savannah & surrounding areas) Library System also has a useful set of links for researching local genealogy: http://www.liveoakpl.org/research/local-interest-and-genealogy-resources/.
Georgia Historical Society
Located in Savannah, the Georgia Historical Society is “the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. Founded in 1839, the Georgia Historical Society is the oldest continuously operated historical society in the South.” For information on research visits or obtaining information if you are unable to visit in person, click here.
Our local area is host to a gem of a museum…the Midway Museum in Midway, Georgia. Less than 15 minutes from I-95, this small museum is a faithful replica of the style used by 18th-century rice plantation owners, including an outdoor kitchen, and contains original documents, clothing, furnishings, and paintings donated by local families. The docents tell the stories of those families, many of whose descendants have contributed to U.S. history, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence. Well worth the 45-minute drive from the Brunswick area.
And best of all for genealogists, especially anyone with family from Liberty County, the museum contains notebooks of genealogical documents contributed by the local families, as well as books of local interest.
The museum is next to the Midway Congregational Church, founded in 1752. The current structure dates from 1792. Cemetery buffs will enjoy the nearby church cemetery.
Georgia Library Services
All local libraries support the interlibrary loan system through the Georgia Pines Libraries system. More than 300 Georgia libraries, including the Marshes of Glynn (Brunswick & St. Simons Island), Darien, St. Mary’s, and the Live Oak (Savannah branches, Hinesville, Midway-Riceboro) library systems, participate. Using your library card and the web site, place a hold on a book located anywhere within the system, and it will be delivered to your local Georgia library for pick-up. If you are out of state and find a book you want in the Georgia Pines system, check with your local library, as it may participate in inter-state library loan programs.
The Georgia Pines Libraries System also provides free access to the GALILEO databases for library-card holders. Check out its HeritageQuest Online database, which has genealogy and history records dating back to the 1700’s.