ATLANTA – Chancellor Henry M. Huckaby and Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC) Chair P. Toby Graham presented Mary Nowell, a volunteer with the Thomaston-Upson Archives, with the GHRAC Award for Excellence in Archival Program Development in a Local Government Repository during the thirteenth annual GHRAC Archives Awards ceremony at the Georgia Archives on October 28, 2015. The GHRAC awards recognize outstanding efforts in archives and records work in Georgia.
Noticing a little-used resource for genealogists and historians that was helpful in her personal research, Nowell created two indexes, Deed Records and Plats, for the Thomaston-Upson County Archives. While most researchers use deed books solely for finding property, the books actually provide an enormous amount of information that is often under-utilized, because many are not familiar with the original records. Nowell discovered that within the oldest deed books, which cover 1824 to 1908, were plats and the descriptions of the property. She printed the pages with the plats and the corresponding deed record for each subject to create the two indexes. The first index includes every surname within the deed and the names for the mills, creeks, branches, ferries, dwellings, churches, and unknown and known graveyards. She has added over 150 footnotes which may describe where a “house, a mill, a lot or church was located.” The second index represents the names of all the judges, surveyors and witnesses to the documents.
Nowell is a volunteer with the Archives. She is a local genealogist and is a member of the John Houston DAR. She has done family research for clients nationwide. She writes a monthly column for the Upson Historical Society, titled Genealogy Favorites. She is an amateur radio operator, and a member of the Thomaston Amateur Radio Club and the Spalding County Amateur Radio Club, She also enjoys gardening.
GHRAC works to promote the educational use of Georgia’s documentary heritage and to support efforts to improve the condition of records statewide. The Board is charged with advising the Chancellor and the Georgia Archives on records and policy issues. For more information, please visit www.GeorgiaArchives.org and click on Partners, then click on Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC).
The Georgia Archives is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and identifies, collects, manages, preserves, and publicizes records and information of Georgia and its people and assists state and local government agencies with their records management. This work is done within the framework of the USG’s mission to create a more highly educated Georgia.