Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Courthouse Fire: Hancock County, Georgia (August 14, 2014)

My Warren ancestors moved to Hancock County in the late 18th century and my direct lineage remained there until about 1830. I've been indebted to Family Search for their digitizing of Courthouse records microfilmed in the 1960s.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Hancock > Wills and administration records 1837-1850 vol P-Q > image 3 of 662; citing Houston County Probate Court Judge, Georgia.]

Of course I've alway known that this represents only a part of all the records held in the 1881 Hancock County Courthouse (locally known as "Her Majesty") but I had always hoped to visit there one day and see what more I could learn about my family.

Alas! A fire started in the Courthouse* on August 14, 2014 and burned for three weeks because there was a store of coal in the basement. Enough of the brick structure survived** that the building has been rebuilt*** but it's not clear to me how much, is any, of the historical court records remain.

[31 Aug 2014, ZJ2 - The Atlanta Constitution at]

*Only a year before, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation had placed the building on its “Places in Peril” list.
**More information here from a report by The Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA) published twelve days after the fire started.
***This blogpost by Maria Saporta includes photos during and after the fire.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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