After the Civil War, the new Georgia state constitution abolished the inferior courts, transferring all of their responsibilities to the county ordinary courts. Unlike in other states, in Georgia the county ordinary court also paid out pension allotments to the Confederate veterans residing in each county. The transcriptions in this book, the second in a series, derive from four volumes of original Confederate pension sources that were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City at the Elbert County Court of Ordinary in Elberton in 1960. For the most part, all four volumes consist of pre-printed forms in a tabular format intended to document the pension payments made by the County Ordinary to each veteran or widow. Author Michael Ports has arranged his transcriptions to conform to the sequence in the original manuscripts.
While some of the veteran’s information found in the Elbert County ordinary’s records may be available in other places (e.g., compiled military service records and pension applications), much of it is unique. For example, many of the compiled military service records are incomplete or nonexistent, whereas the following muster and pension rolls contain detailed information on the soldier’s military service, such as date and place of enlistment, date and place of wounds, date and place of capture, place of confinement, date of exchange, location and service at the close of the war, date and cause for discharge, and length of residence in Elbert County. In a few cases, the date for the start of residence in the county is the veteran’s or widow’s birth date. The pension rolls often include the date and place of birth or the date of death for the veterans and widows, many of whom died before 1919, when Georgia began recording death certificates. In addition, the widows pension rolls often include a date and place of marriage.
While by far most of the roughly 5,000 veterans named and indexed here served in units raised in Elbert County or elsewhere in Georgia, veterans of units raised in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee moved to Elbert County after the war and figure in these pension records.