How do I trace the history of my Georgia ancestor?

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If you are brand new to genealogy, the *first* thing you should do is take 1/2 hour (or more) and read some general info on getting started with genealogy.  There are dozens if not hundreds of "getting started" guides on the Internet.  Here are a few that look well written.  I found these just by typing "genealogy getting started" on a web search engine.

 Getting Started in Genealogy and Family History

 Tips for Beginners

 Getting Started in Genealogy

Dear Myrtle's Genealogy Lessons - This one looks more in depth than most of the other beginner's guides listed here.  You may not have time to go through all of this, but the more you take time for, the more equipped you will be for your genealogy research.

State Library of North Carolina's Guide - Some of this is NC-specific, but much of it is general info.  Good discussion of state and federal Vital Records.  The principles of researching state records given here will apply to other states as well.

RootsWeb Beginners Guide - Since RootsWeb is a powerful genealogy site on the Internet, this tends to give good info about using computers and the internet for genealogical research.

Okay, let's say you have read one or more of the above "how to" guides.  You've collected all the info you can from your family sources, set your goals, and you have some idea of what vital records to look for.  Where do you go in Georgia to do research?

Resources for GA:

Georgia Department of Archives and History       - GA Archives, located in downtown Atlanta.
Sites for Georgia Genealogical Research             -  a list of Libraries & Research rooms in GA.
Genealogy Libraries in the US                              -  similar to previous link; looks to be more complete for GA.
Georgia Archival Repositories                             - a list provided by the Society of Georgia Archivists.
Georgia County Courthouses                                 - includes location & history for each county.
LDS Family History Centers (FHCs) in Georgia  -  unofficial list of Ga FHC locations & hours of operation
Family History Centers, FL, GA, etc.                    - another unofficial list
Find a Family History Center                                -  from the official LDS site

You also may want to visit or otherwise contact a Society near the location that interests you:

Georgia Genealogical Society                             - in Atlanta, GA
Central Georgia Genealogical Society                 - in Warner Robbins (near Macon), GA
Augusta Genealogical Society                             - in Augusta, GA
Georgia Historical Society                                  - in Savannah, GA

See also our genealogy links page for a fuller list of genealogical/historical societies in Georgia.

Ken Thomas (AJC Genealogy columnist)

NOTE: Even if you don't live in GA as you are reading this web page, the above list of sites should be fairly helpful.  The "Genealogy Libraries" link above shows libraries for the whole U.S.  Most decent Genealogy Libraries will have at least some resources on GA.  Also, from the FHC pages above, you can find FHCs outside GA.  They will have resources to research any area in the world.  And check out our "Genealogy Links" page below.  Some of the links it gives may have more info about resources in your area.
Finally, don't neglect computer/internet resources.  Check out these other pages on this site:

 Genealogy Software - programs to capture all the info you'll be gathering
 Genealogy Links on the Internet - these days you can do a lot of genealogy research from your computer at home!
Occasionally we have received emails asking about specific lookups for people outside GA who are reading this page.  Our group does not do this service, but there are other groups who do.  This link:
   Georgia Genealogy Lookups
provides a good list.  The "Georgia Random Acts" and "USGenNet Georgia" links are among the most generally useful for any kinds of lookups, but some of the other links are also useful.

Happy researching!!