African-American Genealogy & Family History in Newton County, Georgia


The many hundreds of African-American families in Newton County have proud histories. The African-American History Association of Newton County is eager to help families research their history and to share the information they uncover.

Research Resources


1. The Heritage Room at the Newton County Public Library contains many helpful resources for African-American family history research, including:

  • The History of Newton County, Georgia (Covington, Ga.: Newton County Historical Society, 1988). contains some histories of the county's African-American families, many compiled by Ms. Sarah Francis Hardeman. Families covered include: Anderson-Dobbs, Baker, Coleman Benton, Blackshear & Wright families, the John Clack family, the family of Buck Gaither, Sr., the family of Johnny C. Gaither, the family of Eugene Hollingsworth, the family of Lucious Johnson, Lackey, the familly of Henry "Billy" Mitchell; the Moore-Gibbs-Stokes family; descendants of Jim and Susie Shaw, family of Archie Senior Shepherd, the family of Harold Shields, the family of Jack Shields, Thompson-Davis, Alberta Josephine Hendricks Williams, Willie Wise, Augustus Charles Wright, Minnie Wright Gaither, and Willie Zackery. HR 975.8593 HIS (The book can also be purchased from the Chamber of Commerce in Covington.)
  • Freedmen's Census (1870). The 1870 census is the first census to include the names of persons of color. Census information on African-American families has been complied in an easily readable for. Theodore Davis, Compilier. The United States 1870 Census: Freedmen in Newton County, Ga. HR 975.8593 UNI.
  • Freedman's Bank records. The records Freedman's Saving's and Trust Company (1865-1874) at times include: name of depositor, date of application or deposit, age, height, complexion, names of relatives, birthplace, residence, and occupation. The records may be accessed through CD-ROM or via ancestry.com
  • ancestry.com. Through computers in the Georgia history room one may access ancestry.com's extensive databases for free.
  • Covington News (1865-present) on microfilm. Before the civil rights movement, the newspaper tends to mention African-Americans only when they are suspected of crimes. From 2005 to the present the newspaper is searchable through an on line archives.
  • Polly Stone Buck, The Blessed Town: Oxford, Georgia, at the Turn of the Century (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin, 1986). Although written in a racially condenscending manner, the chapter "Black Folks" (originally titled, "Colored Folks") does contain some interesting information on Oxford's African-American families in the early 20th century. HR 975.8593 BUC
  • Dolly Lunt Burge, The Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge, 1848-1879 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997). Contains references to some persons enslaved on the Burge plantation.

2. Newton County Courthouse records.(A) Probate records, Will books and loose probate records, pre-1865 contain some information related to slavery. Inferior court records at times mention petitions by free persons of color. (B) Deed and real estate records; pre-1865 occasional records of the transfer of slaves; some records of early African-American land ownership.

3. Georgia State Archives (Morrow, GA). See the Archives' African-American historical and genealogical records.

4. The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library at Emory University. Contains many relevant materials, especially related to slavery in Oxford, Georgia. Some materials, such as the records of the Oxford Shrine Historical Society, are held in the Oxford College Library Special Collections.


On line resources (Newton County)



On line resources (African-American genealogy in general)




For more information about the African-American Historical Association of Newton County, or to share information about the county's African-American history, please contact the association president Mr. Forrest Sawyer, Jr. (770) 788-0792. forrestsawyer1@gmail.com