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A map of Chattahoochee County, Georgia

Tracing the maternal side of my family is decidedly more difficult than the paternal side. I don’t have the luxury of calling up my maternal grandparents, their siblings or cousins. I can’t take a road trip to my mother’s childhood home in Omaha, Ga.– the last time we visited, in 2004, the dirt road leading to the home was blocked off, a “no trespassing” sign dangling from a  chained security gate.

I depend heavily on records to help fill in the gaps of the scarce oral history on my mom’s side. The availability of the records online is a real benefit.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly what I was doing when I stumbled across this web site, but I was excited when it gave me another clue to my Pinkard relatives. don’t know who manages this site, but it gives information on cemeteries in an  around Columbus, Ga. This is the area where my mother’s relatives have lived since the 19th century. According to this, my great-great grandmother, Narsis Pinkard, is buried at Porterdale Cemetery in Columbus. It also lists her death date as 1934, which provided me a defined time span to research records.

Until I stumbled across this site, I believed that Narsis Pinkard had died sometime between 1910 and 1920, since I wasn’t able to find any records of her after 1910. It also lists her as being born in 1864, which is fairly in line with the other dates I had for her. (Because she was illiterate, it’s possible she didn’t know exactly when she was born).

I asked my mom if she knew anything about Porterdale Cemetery and/or the Pinkards living in Columbus. She said many Pinkards did, in fact, live in the Columbus area, including the city proper and in Cusseta, which is in neighborhing Chattahoochee County, Ga.

And speaking of Chattahoochee County, I found an 1890 tax list that listed Ike Pinkard, Narcis’ husband and my great-great grandfather, as a freedman. Stay tuned for a glimpse of what life was like for a an ex-slave living in southwest Georgia near the end of the 19th century…