Sunday, November 27, 2011

Historical County Boundaries (Update)

For Saturday night’s genealogy fun (i.e., fun learning experience), Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings proposed visiting Randy Majors’ Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps page (http://randymajors.com/p/maps.html) and looking up a place of interest to see how the jurisdiction of that place changed over time.  I chose the city of Valdosta in Lowndes County, Georgia, since that’s where some of my ancestors (Pendleton and Roberts families, and others) ended up, and it’s where I grew up and lived most of my life.  I know that Valdosta has always been part of Lowndes County,* but I wanted to at least see how the boundaries of Lowndes changed over time as some of my research takes me to what are now the neighboring counties that were formed from Lowndes County.  Not all of the boundary changes for Lowndes County are noted on the website, so I filled in some of the information from the History of Lowndes County, Georgia 1825-1941 [1].  The southern boundary of Lowndes County has always been the Georgia-Florida border.  The maps below are from http://randymajors.com/p/maps.html.

*Update:  I forgot to note that Valdosta wasn’t established until several decades after Lowndes County was created.  Valdosta was incorporated in 1860 (http://www.valdostacity.com/Index.aspx?page=40)

1790: This was a non-county area.
1810: This was a non-county area.
1818:  Irwin County created from the non-county area on December 15.

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Irwin County in 1820






1825:  Lowndes County was created from Irwin County on December 23 [2].
1826: Lowndes County lost some area to Thomas County (to the west) on December.

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1830 Lowndes County boundaries.





1850: Lowndes County lost some area to Clinch County (to the east) on February 14 [3].
1856: Lowndes County lost some area to Berrien County (to the north) and Colquitt County (to the east) on February 25 [4].
1858: Lowndes County lost some area to Brooks County (to the west) on December 11 and to Echols County (to the southeast) on December 13 [5].
1859: Lowndes County gained some area from Brooks County on November 11.

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Lowndes County in 1860.





1866:  Lowndes County gained some area from Echols County on December 21.
1877:  Lowndes County gained more area from Echols County on February 19. 
1920:  Lowndes County lost some area to Lanier County (to the northeast) on November 2.

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Lowndes County in 1930.





1952:  Lowndes County lost some area to Echols County on December 31.

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Lowndes County in 1990.  Looks pretty much the same as the 1930 map, so I don’t know what was lost to Echols County in 1952.  Maybe just a smidge of land.



The purpose of this exercise is to remind us to make sure we are researching in the correct counties for a given time period.  Boundaries change.  A place that is part of one county could end up being under the jurisdiction of an entirely different county as new counties are formed.  This is something worth remembering!  The maps on Randy Majors’ website were very helpful.  Nothing like visuals to drive the point home, and I’m a visual type…I need to see pictures/maps/graphics.  These maps will help with places that I’m less familiar with.  Thanks to Randy Seaver for the fun learning exercise and to Randy Majors for the maps!

Catherine
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[1] History of Lowndes County, Georgia 1825-1941 (General James Jackson Chapter, D.A.R., Valdosta, Georgia, reprinted 1995).
[2] See footnote 1 above.
[3] See footnote 1 above.
[4] See footnote 1 above.
[5] See footnote 1 above.

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