Research Tips by Mary Free

Welcome to your Cherokee County roots! What are your questions about Cherokee County family research? Here are some that we frequently hear, especially from those researchers who live in other states: Why are Militia Districts important? What do you mean by Districts and Sections connected with deeds to Land Lots? What is a Numerical Deed Index? We shall try to explain the use of these research tools, some of which are unique to Georgia or Cherokee County.

Why are Militia Districts important?

Elsewhere on this Website, you will find a history of the origin of Militia Districts in Georgia and a map showing the location of each Militia District in Cherokee County. These Militia Districts still exist today but are primarily only used to indicate voting districts. As you find your ancestor in the Cherokee County census records (after 1850), you will notice that, at the top of the sheet, there will be a name and/or a number. This indicates the Militia District in which your ancestor lived.

Example: Conns Creek 1031. By looking at the map, you can locate the area of the county in which your ancestor resided at the time the census was taken. You have a question: “Why was my ancestor in Shake Rag District in 1860 and 1870, then in Clayton District in 1880? He seemed to own the same land.” For some reason, the name of this District was changed some time between 1870 and 1880. Your ancestor probably did not move. We are including here a list of the Militia Districts with number, and with notations for some, to give you another name by which you may have heard this area called in your oral family history.

792 – Canton
817 – Bells
818 – Mullins (Includes Buffington
and Macedonia Communities)
890 – Woodstock
960 – Salacoa
971 – Clayton
1000- Cross Roads (Free Home Community)
1008- Harbins (Waleska Area)
1010- Hickory Flat
1015- Lickskillet
1019- Wildcat (Holly Springs Area)
1028- Fair Play (Sutallee Community)
1031- Conns Creek
1032- Ball Ground
1174- Little River
1279- Sixes

What are Districts and Sections that are referred to in deeds?

Now you have located the Militia District in which your ancestor lived, and you have a further question. “My ancestor owned part of Land Lot 386, 15th District, 2nd Section. What does this mean and how can I locate exactly where he lived within the Militia District?”

When the ten Georgia counties were formed from the original 6900 square mile Cherokee County (which existed from December 1831 until December 1832), it was divided into 4 Sections, running north and south, with the First Section being the easternmost and the Fourth Section bordering on Alabama. Land Districts are used in most of Georgia to designate legal boundaries of land. The Land District is then divided into Land Lots. Each of the 4 Sections mentioned above was divided into Land Districts. These Districts were then divided into Land Lots.

All of present day Cherokee County lies within the 2nd Section and contains all of three Land Districts and parts of six others. So if your ancestor owned part of Land Lot 386, 15th District, 2nd Section, you can find exactly where he lived by using the 1895 Cherokee County map which shows all the Militia Districts, Land Districts and Land Lots. (Please look elsewhere on this Website for availability of copies of the 1895 Cherokee County map.)

What is a Numerical Deed Index?

Cherokee County’s Clerk of the Court Office has a unique record for keeping track of Land Lots as they pass from one owner to another. We have never found this method in any other courthouses we have visited. Besides alphabetical Grantor and Grantee Indexes, a Numerical Index is also kept. When a Land Lot or any portion thereof changes ownership, the book and page number showing the recorded deed is entered in an index for that particular Land Lot. For example: If Land Lot 386, 15th District, 2nd Section is mentioned in a deed, the Deed Book and page number will be recorded beside Land Lot 386 in the portion of the index which shows Land Lots in the 15th District. Using this index, one should be able to find every owner of any part of any Land Lot in Cherokee County.

Watch for Mary Free’s RESEARCH TIPS column to be updated and archived on this site.