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 that is disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. As a native New Yorker, with roots in Coastal Georgia and deep roots in the Danish West Indies, now the Virgin Islands of the United States or commonly referred to as the United States Virgin Islands, I have always had a yearning to return to my maternal homeland. In September of 1976, my family and I relocated back to St. Croix. While living in New York, I was always telling my friends about my trip back home, but here I was actually waking up every day, walking among the streets and people that I have identified myself with all of my life. At the time, I was not involved in any genealogical work, but I knew there was a missing link that became completed after I was offered the opportunity to transfer Danish documents into a database. That opened up my world and I realize that this was my niche. I now had the tools to explore and document my ancestry. Growing up, my mother always impressed upon her children the pride in being a “Bough”, which was her surname. Now I was able to track where that pride came from, through participating in family history projects and meeting new family, as we gathered together for the Bough Family Reunion on St. Croix in July of 2012. As I continued to research, I found my passion extending to photography. Sunsets and street art are my favorite features, as shown in my tumblr blog I also began blogging, and found that it has help me to improve my writing skills. Through the comments and well wishes, I have been encouraged to continue to write the stories and events of my life. Whether or not your roots trace back to the Danish West Indies, you will find a beautiful tapestry of life that reflects our “baseball and apple pie”. This site affords you the chance to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) where life was both simple and complex. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance in searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email.


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