After the Civil War, the new Georgia state constitution abolished the inferior courts, transferring all of their responsibilities to the county ordinary courts. Thereafter, the ordinaries were responsible for marriage licenses, running the county government, building and maintaining the county buildings, collecting county taxes, and handling minor civil and criminal cases. Unlike in other states, in Georgia the county ordinary court also paid out pension allotments to the Confederate veterans residing in each county. While some of the veteran’s information found in the ordinary’s records may be available in other places (e.g., compiled military service records and pension applications), much of it (e.g., some birth dates and places, marriage dates and places, death dates, military service, and detailed descriptions of wounds and disabilities) is unique.
The transcriptions in this book, the first in a series, derive from two reels of microfilmed Confederate records shot at the Jefferson County Court of Ordinary in Louisville; the microfilm itself is available at the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The first reel is titled Confederate Soldiers List, Confederate Roster 1861, and Miscellaneous Confederate Records, and it consists of muster rolls for volunteer companies of infantry raised in Jefferson County, rosters, pension rolls, lists of pension applicants, and various letters and other correspondence concerning the veterans and their widows. The second reel, consisting of county pension rolls from 1890 to 1914, includes five distinct and separate lists: disabled or invalid veterans, indigent veterans, indigent veterans in 1910, widows, and indigent widows.
The muster and pension rolls contain detailed information on the soldier’s military service, such as date and place of enlistment, promotions, 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, and date and cause for discharge. One list of invalid pensioners includes detailed graphic descriptions of the wounds received. The pension rolls sometimes include the date and place of birth and the date of death for veterans and widows who died before 1919, when Georgia began recording death certificates. In addition, the widows’ pension rolls often include a date and place of marriage. In all, Confederate Records from the Jefferson County, Georgia, Court of Ordinary refers to several thousand Confederate veterans and their relations.