Finding family along the Altamaha River in Coastal Georgia

#52 Ancestors Week 48 “Gratitude”

Dozens of plantations lined the Altamaha River throughout many counties. All my father’s maternal ancestors were from Brunswick Glynn County, GA. They resided on the sea islands most likely as enslaved people. I discovered my 4th Grandfather, Israel White’s name on the 1874-1800 Tax Digest, Glynn County Georgia. The register records him paying taxes: real estate and personal property – on 85-acre rice farm with Horse, Mules Cattle and stock of all kinds, Households and Kitchen Furniture. The whole value of the property was listed as $116.00. How did they acquire this land after the Civil War? I realize there are stories behind the dates and names.

Altamaha River

Early History showed families in Pennick Glynn County owned their land (1) it was largely unsettled by Caucasian families. (2) Land was in the middle of swamps and heavy forests against a flooding river. (3) Basically, just undesirable land.

1912 Glynn County Map showing the plantation names.

Israel White, wife Mary and seven children are enumerated on the 1870 US Census. The census showed that they were married during, slavery and the age of the first-born child age 8. Freedom did not come until February 1863. Therefore, if there would not be a marriage license in the court, probably in church records.

Even though, my Dad’s DNA testing resulted with matches with relatives in Glynn County; I was not able to connect these matches.  There is only so much you can do-on line.  In my hunt, I came across Amy Hedrick, Webmaster and historian website: Coastal Georgia Genealogy and History website. Her warmth and willingness to share history and Coastal Georgia genealogy was encouraging. 

My express gratitude goes to Amy Hedrick’s for her kindness to work with me in finding and understand the county in which my ancestor Israel White lived.  Her assistance propelled me forward, although it looked like this brick wall could not be chipped.   Amy’s response to persons seeking ancestral history about the people along Coastal Georgia are both welcoming, and enriching.  This information has given me such an appreciation for family and to continue the Journey. The path has led me to other genealogist researching and studying the genealogy of Costal Georgia, Stacey Cole website “they had names”  Adolphus Armstrong and  Terri Ward analyzers DNA matches in Glynn Co.     It is my hope to visit Brunswick GA some day and connect with newfound family whether through documents or oral history.  Thank you, Amy!



By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. My family's research efforts have taken me on an enlightening journey back through the past in the U. S. Virgin Islands (formerly Danish West Indies) and Coastal Georgia. As with most people of Afro-Caribbean descent, my ancestry stems from peoples brought together by colonialism and conquest; it stems from people thrown together, albeit forcibly, by the throes of enslavement. As a result, my DNA tells me that my people originate in Africa, Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Lesser Antilles, and Leeward Caribbean Islands. Two collections made my dream to research my ancestors in the Danish West Indies a reality. I have conducted extensive research using the St. Croix Population Database 1734-1917, a St. Croix African Roots Project product, and a research and document transcription effort sponsored by the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA). The other catalyst has been accessing the extensive photo, manuscript, and microfilm collections at the Library and Archives of the St. Croix Landmarks Society at Estate Whim in St. Croix. My heartfelt thanks go to all my cousins, extended "cousin-family," friends, and research colleagues from the St. Croix-based Virgin Islands Ancestry Discovery Group, for their input and collaboration. I also want to thank the UJima Genealogy Group in Coastal Georgia and; webmaster Amy Hendrick has introduced me to Southern History and its people. This site allows you to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) when life was both complex and straightforward. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email. I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.


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