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Frank W. Bell Collection

Arrangement and Description

The Frank W. Bell Collection is stored in 209 cubic foot storage boxes and two map boxes. The two map boxes are labeled "Bell Collection Oversized Box 1" and "Bell Collection Oversized Box 2." A large number of plats, maps and blueprints from the collection are in the oversized storage drawer. The inclusive dates of the collection are 1787 through 1975, while the bulk dates are 1870 through 1965.

The Bell Collection is in the same physical order it was in when it was received. The records are arranged according to the physical location of the property in question. The titles of the units of property recorded start with City Squares, then progress to City Blocks and Squares, then to Georgia Militia Districts and counties, if the property is in a county other than Baldwin County. The folders in the boxes are then arranged according to the ownership of pieces of property. Beyond this, it is difficult to describe the arrangement of the Bell Collection. The descriptor often changes from one Militia District to another and sometimes shifts between the different counties in the area.

It should be noted that while some folders have one name (i.e., "Jordan Home Place") or a series of names (i.e., "Hanft – Lundy – Dysart – Garner Place") as their titles, these folders often contain real estate records related to other individuals. For example, "Jordan Home Place" takes up five folders and includes a group of records of transactions filed by different people involving that piece of property. Likewise, those with a list of names include records about a piece of property involving those people, but may also include records related to other individuals.

A brief explanation about the geographic division of Baldwin County is necessary to understand the organization of the collection. During the time period covered by the Bell Collection, Baldwin County was organized by Georgia Militia Districts (GMD). These districts are: the 105th, 115th, 1714th, 318th, 319th, 320th, 321st and 322nd. The city of Milledgeville occupies the 320th GMD. The 320th GMD is divided into squares and blocks, the difference in the name resulting from the difference in the shapes of the units of land. The squares are square, while the blocks are rectangular. The 320th GMD was divided into 84 squares and four public squares, which comprised the original city limits of Milledgeville. Each of the 84 squares was divided into four one-acre lots. The numbers of additional blocks and squares runs from 1 through 98 and continues though Square 202. From that point on, the collection is organized by GMD and by county.