Dennis Partridge

Dennis N. Partridge has been conducting personal research into his family since 1980. In 1996, in the infancy of the Internet, he morphed into a web developer bringing with him his passion for genealogy. Today, Dennis owns and operates AccessGenealogy (, one of the largest, privately owned genealogical websites online, well-known and frequented by Native American family researchers. Dennis also serves as President and Webmaster for the Amelia Island Genealogical Society. He specializes in breaking down brick walls, Native American ancestry, New England ancestry, and French-Canadian ancestry. However, his knowledge is broad enough to answer (or find the answer) to any geographical area.

Fernandina from 1811 until 1821

Old Town Fernandina Land Plats – 1811-1821

Fernandina was the last city platted by the Spanish in the New World, thirty years after the plat of Los Angeles. The plat of what is now known as Old Town follows the traditional elements of city planning in the New World by the Spanish. A town plaza faced the harbor with streets laid out in a grid pattern with lots measuring 46 feet wide and 96 feet deep. The Spanish Governor’s order to rezone Fernandina was signed on May 10, 1811, and read as follows: “Whereas, for the purpose of regulating the town of Fernandina on the Island of Amalia in this province, which town your Governor has observed to grow day by day, and in Order to lend it greater usefulness, comfort and beauty, I, Governor (White) ordered the Surveyor General, George I. F. Clarke, to prepare a plat of that establishment and of possible improvements which could be made in it.” The land grants given here were originally published in the American Guide Series, “Seeing Fernandina: A Guide to the City and its Industries,” in 1940. The material was compiled from documents in Spanish land grants. Square 1 Half Lot 1: Granted to Miguel Mabrite, at some time previous to 1814, presumably to build a dwelling house. Half Lot 2: Granted to Jose Jimenez, who built an eating place on it about 1813. Half Lot 3: Granted to James Cashen, Subaltern (military) Judge of the Island of Amalia and the Frontier for the Spanish Government, about 1809....

This content is for members only.
Login Join Nowmembership has its benefits!

President’s Message for May 2022

We were treated to another entertaining presentation in March by Chip Kirkpatrick as he shared his passion of metal detecting and presented examples of historical finds he has discovered in the vicinity of Nassau County. The good news for those who were unable to attend the presentation is Chip has a YouTube video of a similar presentation that you can watch at your convenience. Speaking of video’s, May’s speaker will be presented via teleconferencing. While we had several teleconferenced meetings during the Covid shutdown, we have not had one while we were doing in-person meetings. For our membership, this is one of those meetings you really need to see. We’re bring to you Drew Smith, one of the two who make up the Genealogy Guys podcast show. Drew will show you how to use Cluster Research (aka FAN Club) to get around the brick walls in your research. FAN is an acronym for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors. Genealogists have learned that most ancestors relocated from one location to another as a group, not by themselves. I wrote about FAN research or Cluster Research in the February 2019 edition of Geneline where I also provided various tutorials you could watch. This method of research remains one of the best tools in the chest for solving brick walls. Come on out and join us at the Fernandina Branch Library on 17 May at 7pm! AIGS Website Development The website has made several large strides over the past month. A search has been …

President’s Message for May 2022 Read More »

1907 Nassau County Map

Pro Cuba and City Expansion, 1895-1937

Building up to the Spanish-American war the port of Fernandina was used as a base of operation for those sympathetic to the Cuban plight. Arms, ammunition, and recruits were shipped from her port to Cuba. Once War was declared Fort Clinch was prepared for up to 10,000 soldiers and the economy of Fernandina began to grow again. But it was short lived as additional railroads built out in the early 20th Century to cities like Jacksonville and Savannah. Finally, in the late 1930s, the mills arrived in Fernandina and released the citizens of the community from their reliance on cotton and tobacco to timber and industry.

This content is for members only.
Login Join Nowmembership has its benefits!
Print shows soldiers on the dirt road leading up to Fort Clinch which was occupied by Federal troops in early 1862.

War Between The States and Reconstruction, 1860-1895

Fort Clinch was an immediate target of acquisition for the Union during the Civil War. The Union Navy arrived on 2 March 1862 firing cannon volleys at the last two retreating railroad ships of citizens from evacuated Fernandina. As in most wars, not all citizens evacuated, and those left behind found themselves in an occupied territory once again, with limited freedom. But freedom did come to the black slaves of Fernandina which far outnumbered their white owners. And when the reconstruction period began after the War it was the "black" county of Nassau which rose to power in the government offices of Nassau County, while the white citizens still held the land and controlled the jobs. It was this inimical system that led to the strikes in the 1880s by the black workers until again the Yellow Fever broke out and all citizens were to busy nursing, to think of other troubles.

This content is for members only.
Login Join Nowmembership has its benefits!
1900 Nassau County Map from the Rand, McNally & Co. Atlas

American Proprietors, 1818-1860

In 1818, Fernandina comprised of about 40 wooden houses which sheltered a population of around 150 people. The town was incorporated the same year as Nassau county was created, 1824. It wasn’t until the Railroad arrived on the Island from Cedar Keys did the growth of Fernandina and Nassau County appear promising. Then all Hell broke loose with the start of the Civil War.

Scroll to Top