Rabun County, Georgia Genealogy

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United States Genealogy go to Georgia go to Rabun County

Guide to Rabun County, Georgia ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


Rabun County, Georgia
Map of Georgia highlighting Rabun County
Location in the state of Georgia
Founded December 21, 1819
County Seat Clayton
Address Rabun County Courthouse]
25 Courthouse Square #7
Clayton, GA 30525-0925
Phone: 706.782.3615 
Rabun County Website

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Rabun County Courthouse
25 Courthouse Square #7
Clayton, GA 30525-0925
Phone: 706.782.3615 

Probate Court has marriage and probate and court records; Clerk Superior Court has divorce, court and land records[1]

Beginning Dates for Rabun County, Georgia Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1819--Rabun County was created 21 December 1819 from Cherokee Indian lands. County seat: Clayton [2]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Rabun County is located in the Northeastern corner of Georgia.  It is a mountain community and very rural.  Its towns are small and friendly. The mountains are covered with forests, there are rivers and streams, and several lakes.

Rabun County has not had any boundary changes but when researching this county for ancestors you might consider the following.  Rabun in located where South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia meet.  The geography of the Eastern part of the county is such that many times its residents went to North or South Carolina to conduct business.  Records can be found in all three states. When Rabun County was settled, many of the new residents merely crossed the river from South Carolina to the new county and state.  They would go back across the river to visit family members and friends. The town in South Carolina was closer than the town in Georgia to purchase supplies. When the Civil War started many men from Rabun County enlisted in South Carolina with their relatives. The geography of the area rather than lines drawn for states determined where events took place and where records were kept.

For animated maps illustrating Georgia county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Georgia County Boundary Maps" (1758-1932) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Variant Spellings[edit | edit source]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

No reported loss or damage.[3]

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Clay County, North Carolina Genealogy  • Habersham County  • Jackson County, North Carolina Genealogy  • Macon County, North Carolina Genealogy  • Oconee County, South Carolina Genealogy  • Towns County, Georgia

Template:GARabun County, Georgia Clickable Neighbors

Genealogy Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

African Americans[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

There are many family and small church cemeteries in Rabun County.  The Historical Society has tried to find all cemeteries in the county and has a record of the graves in each cemetery.

In 1997 and 1998, Bill and Elaine English visited many of the burial grounds in Rabun County and placed surveys online through the USGenWeb Archives for Rabun County (http://www.usgwarchives.net/ga/rabun/cemetery.html). Since then, other researchers have contributed information for other cemeteries.

Census[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Georgia denominations, see the Georgia Church Records wiki page.

Court[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Template:GA Land

Land records in Rabun County are incomplete.  Many of the land transactions were not recorded at the county seat.  Land was traded between family members and neighbors for generations without official records being kept.  In 1911, Congress passed the Weeks Law which authorized the purchase of timbered land on a large scale.  Some of this land was located in Rabun County, Georgia.  Officials were sent into Rabun County in 1912 to start purchasing land.  Proposals of sale were secured and surveyors were sent to locate lands on which options had been secured. Their reports were turned over to title examiners who had to pass on the deeds before the lands could be purchased. The titles to most of the lands were so poor that proceedings of condemnation were taken before the Federal Court before good titles could be obtained.  A Federal Court was established in Clayton for that purpose. 

The condemnation process required that an attempt be made to locate all parties who might have an interest in or claim to the land in question.  Advertisements were placed in the local paper listing the descendants of the last clear land owner in order to find anyone who might have claim to the land. Sometimes this was the first land owner when the county was created.  Therefore every known descendant was listed down to the time the land was condemed. Over 6,000 names arranged in up to six generations of family genealogies are listed in these court cases. The data this process produced in invaluable to the researcher.  Information was accumulated that has not been found in any other records to date. Both the maiden and married names of many female family members can be found.  The addresses of those who had moved away also offer possible migration locations for family members. The exact method by which the names were compiled is not known.  It is likely they were acquired in many ways, including deeds, newspaper advertisements, personal interviews, and other public records available at the time.

The original court case files are located at the National Archives, East Point, Georgia. The original land acqusition files are located at the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Office, Gainesville, Georgia. These groups of records have not been organized or microfilmed. In 2001, Susan Lewis Koyle published Genealogy Extracted from Forest Service Court Cases in Rabun County, Georgia that gives the genealogies in many of these cases and has a name index. This book is located in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is available for purchase through Heritage Books, Inc.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Template:GA History

Sketches of Rabun County History by Andrew Jackson Ritchie. Located in Family History Library in Salt Lake.

Rabun County Georgia and its people, vol. 1 & 2 , 1992.

A Pictorial History of Rabun County by Cuba and Archie McKay, 2003.

Maps[edit | edit source]


Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Many men in Rabun County joined units in South and North Carolina.

- 24th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company E
- 52nd Regiment, Georgia Infantry (Confederate), Company F
- GeorgiaUSGenWeb Archives Project

  • Ledford, Karen Ann Thompson. These Men Wore Grey Genealogical, Military, and Interment Records of Confederate Soldiers. (Toccoa, Georgia : K.T. Ledford, c1998-c2001), 7 Volumes. Each volume contains bibliographical references and full-name index. Contents: v. 1. Franklin County -- v. 2. Habersham County --v. 3. Stephens County -- v. 4. Rabun County --v. 5. White County -- v. 6. Banks County -- v. 7. Jackson County. Book found at FHL 975.8 V3L and Other Libraries.
  • Franklin County (Georgia). Superior Court Clerk. 1964. Confederate roster, 1862-1865. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. film 363289
  • Blakely, Duchess B., Judy H. Hulsey, and Vivian B. Young. 2011. Remembering Franklin County Confederate soldiers & others --: 1861-2011. Lavonia, Georgia: United Daughters of the Confederacy. Lavonia Chapter no. 1216. 1973727

Naturalization[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Template:GA Newspaper abstracts

Early newspapers published in Rabun County, or for the benefit of its citizens:

  • The Clayton Argus, published in 1894 by R. E. A. Hamby.
  • The Tallulah Falls Spray, published from 1896 to 1898 by J. B. Young and Walter Hunnicutt. In early 1898, Mr. Hunnicutt turned the paper over to T. A. Robinson.
  • The Clayton Tribune, first published in January 1898 by J. A. Reynolds.
  • The Clayton Telegraph, published in 1898 by A. B. Sams.
  • Echoes from Tallulah Falls, published in 1899 and possibly into 1900 by Walter Hunnicutt and William Berrie.

Of those periodicals, there are few extant issues. Only two issues survive for the Argus, and those are available on microfilm through the University of Georgia's newspaper project. A good portion of issues are extant for the Spray from 1897 and into the early part of 1898, but only one issue has been microfilmed; the remainder are available as a bound volume from the Rabun County Historical Society. Issues of the Tribune are available from 1899 (the first half of the year through the Historical Society, and the last on microfilm, although not all issues for that year are extant), 1902, 1903, and 1905. No issues are known to survive for either Echoes or the Telegraph. L. P. Cross' article on early newspapers as published in Sketches of Rabun County History by Ritchie contains some errors which have been corrected here by verification through the newspapers themselves.

A compilation of Rabun County's early newspapers was published in May 2012, Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 - 1899, covering extant issues of newspapers published in Rabun County during that time period.

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Colonial courts kept some early probate records.  From 1777 to 1798 and since 1852, the court of ordinary or register of probates has kept probate and guardianship records.  The inferior court handled probate and guardianship matters from 1798 to 1852.

Many probate records to the 1930s and 1940s are at the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the Family History Library on microfilm.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records (not all years).

There are many free resources available online to assist researchers in finding estate records for their ancestors, including:

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and all slaves up to age 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district.

Extant tax records for Rabun County begin in 1836, but are largely incomplete until about 1872. The Georgia Department of Archives and History houses tax digests (or copies of) from that year up until the 1960s. More modern tax records may be found at the Tax Assessor's office in Clayton. The Rabun County Historical Society also has various tax digests, including two volumes from the 1930s and 1960s respectively.

The 1836 tax digest is held at the Georgia Department of Archives and History. The 1861 and 1862 tax digests are located in the Probate Court at the county courthouse in Clayton. The Probate Court also has road tax records from 1909 through about 1919.

An index to the 1836 tax digest for Rabun County is located online: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/region/southeast/garabun/tax/1836.html

An abstract of the 1861 tax digest for Rabun County is located online: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/region/southeast/garabun/tax/1861.html

A transcription of the 1909 road tax record for Rabun County is located online: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/region/southeast/garabun/tax/1909.html

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Georgia State Department of Health , the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred or order electronically online.

For some online statewide indexes, see the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for Georgia. See also How to order Georgia Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]

Marriages were first recorded in Rabun County in 1820, and are maintained by the Probate Court at the Courthouse in Clayton.

The first five marriage books have been microfilmed. Digitized versions of the microfilm copies of those volumes is available online, for free, through Georgia's Virtual Vault in the "Marriage Records from Microfilm" database.

The first three marriage books, covering the years 1820 - 1884, have been transcribed and placed freely online through the Rabun Co., GAGenWeb Archives. Some of the names were transcribed incorrectly, and so the original records should always be referenced. A book-length compilation of Rabun County's marriage records, as transcribed from official marriage records held by the Probate Court, for the years 1820 through the 1940s, is now underway.

The Georgia Department of Archives and History holds original marriage licenses for the years 1896 to 1920.

  • 1820-1884 - Rabun County Marriage Books A thru D Index 1820-1884. Batch M713551 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1884-1895 - Rabun County Marriage Index 1884-1895. Batch M713552 at FamilySearch - free.[4]

There are also for-pay resources available, including:

Death[edit | edit source]
Vital Record Substitutes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Rabun County, Georgia. Page 159 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Paul K. Graham, Georgia Courthouse Disasters (Decatur, Georgia: Genealogy Co., 2013), 50-51. At various libraries (WorldCat).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/5/53/Igigeorgiamz.pdf.