Book Review: Georgia Free Persons of Color

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Georgia Free Persons of ColorGeorgia Free Persons of Color
by Michael A. Ports. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015 & 2016.
Four volumes.

In 1818, the Georgia legislature required free persons of color to register with their counties of residence in the inferior court. Registers for only twenty-one counties survive.

The clerks recorded names, ages, places of nativity, residence, time of coming into the state and occupation of each free person of color.

Mr. Ports transcribed these entries from LDS microfilm of the original county registers.

The books each have an introduction describing the records and his transcription methods.

Also of note in the introductions: Mr. Ports describes and writes out certain sections of the Georgia statutes regarding slave manumissions and free persons of color. The summaries of these applicable laws to the registers sets the stage for appreciating the significance of the records.

The Georgia Free Persons of Color volumes are:

Volume I
Elbert, Hancock, Jefferson, Liberty, and Warren Counties

Volume II
Appling, Camden, Clarke, Emanuel, Jones, Pulaski, and Wilkes Counties

Volume III
Baldwin, Columbia, Lincoln, Lumpkin, Taliferro, and Thomas Counties

Volume IV
Chatham County

The author, Michael Ports, Ph.D., is a genealogist and career hydrologist who has authored “Genealogy at a Glance” guides on Maryland, Ohio, and North Carolina. His ancestors hail from the Deep South, most notably Georgia. He continues to work on the free persons of color registers and hopes to complete all twenty-one counties.

We are indebted to Mr. Ports for devoting so much time and effort compiling this data and getting it all published. He’s done a great service to genealogists and the historical community.

Georgia Free Persons of Color (in four volumes so far) by Michael A. Ports is available from the publisher at as well as from Amazon at


Ms King,
I’m curious to know whether these “free persons of color” only included African-Americans or did they also include members of the “five civilized tribes” aka the Cherokee, Muskogee (Creek), Choctaws, Chickasaw and Seminole? (I realize that the Seminole were in Florida but when Jackson was starting to pester them a lot of the others headed to Florida for safety).


People might want to check out other books by Michael Ports. He has done a number of books on other topics that are useful.


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