While trolling Ancestry.com for new records, I happened upon a catalog titled “Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books.” Still pleased with the finds of my maternal ancestors in other Georgia records, I decided to peruse the file to see what my ancestors were up in 1867.

Georgia in 1867 was a markedly difficult time. War had crippled the state, its economy in shambles and its political structure in flux. Georgia’s demographics had changed too. The same story was playing out in other Southern states too. This was Reconstruction.

From Ancestry.com: The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 required Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, draft new state constitutions, and register voters, both black and white. In order to vote, men had to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Here’s the oath my great-great-great grandfather, Alfred Dobbins, signed in July 1867.

The 1867 Return of Qualified Voters  in Stewart County, Ga., provides more information about Alfred Dobbins, who is one of my maternal grandmother’s great-grandfathers. He reports that he is a native Georgian, having lived in the state for 40 years. He had been living in Stewart County for the past 16 years.

This is an important clue as my search for Dobbins slaveowners continues. Stay tuned…