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State Research Guide: Georgia
Take a big, juicy bite of your Peach State family tree.
The first step in tracing your Georgia ancestors might be to shake your preconceptions of this state, which presents many different faces to history: Georgia was the last of the original 13 colonies, a frontier where settlers pushed Indian tribes out of the way, as well as the jumping-off point to the Old Southwest of Alabama, Mississippi and beyond. It was the core of the Confederacy, yet today it epitomizes the “New South.” Whichever face of Georgia your family saw, your genealogical research efforts are sure to bear fruit.

A slice of early history

Georgia started as a buffer between British and Spanish colonial ambitions. The British chartered a Georgia province in 1732; the next year, James Oglethorpe and 35 families founded Savannah. Oglethorpe had promoted the colony to British debtors threatened with imprisonment, but few actually settled there. Instead, the colony became a haven for poor English and Scottish tradesmen, as well as Protestant and Jewish refugees from Switzerland, Germany and Italy.

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