AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum Archive
1867 Voting Registration and Loyalty Oaths
The 1867 Voter Registration for Georgia. Microfilm # 296-22, Vol. 36-p326. Record # 613 was for my Great Grandfather Randall Hobson, dated Aug 6, 1867 for Thomas County. The microfilm did have both white and black voters but the index book only lists white voters.
The 1867 voter registration records were created as a direct result of a Reconstruction Act passed by the United States Congress on March 23, 1867 for the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas; The act required the commanding officer in each military district to hold, before September 1, 1867, a registration of all male citizens, 21 years and older, in each county who were also qualified to vote and who had taken the loyalty oath.
"I, __________, do solemnly swear, (or affirm), in the presence of Almighty God, that I am a citizen of the State of __________; that I have resided in said State for __________ months next preceding this day, and now reside in the county of __________, or the parish of __________, in said State, (as the case may be); that I am twenty-one years old; that I have not been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United States; that I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any State engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United States, or as any officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I will faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, encourage others so to do: So help me God";
Each registrant visited the local registration office, took the oath, and was listed in the Voter Registration record.
The companion volumes to the voter registration records are the Loyalty Oaths. Individuals ineligible to register included Confederate veterans with a rank of major or above; any person who had previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, as an officer of the United States, as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, and who later engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or gave aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, and whose "disability" had not been removed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress.
The 1867 Voting Registration and Loyalty Oaths, passed on March 2, 1867, also "to provide for a more efficient government of the rebel States," and particularly to extend suffrage to the millions of freedmen across the south. All adult black and white males who had sworn an oath of loyalty to the United States were eligible to register to vote. Included is the person's name, race, length of residence in the state, county and precinct, the book and page where his oath is recorded, naturalization information, and reasons for rejecting some registrants. Arranged alphabetically by county, thereunder chronologically by date of registration.
Loyalty Oaths 1867-8
In order to regain their voting rights under the Reconstruction Acts of 1867, men who had borne arms against the United States or otherwise actively supported the Confederacy were required to swear an oath of loyalty to the government of the United States. The oaths contain the voter's name, county of residence, his oath swearing loyalty to the United States government, his voting precinct, and the voter registrar's name. Arranged alphabetically by county. Not exactly a perfect substitute for the voter Registrations which also list race.
Georgia registered eligible white and black voters, 95,214 and 93,457 respectively.