Zack and Annice Meeler have been making trips from Augusta to Dawsonville for years, tracing family history and making memories.
"My mother was born here. Her parents lived off of the Yellow Creek area. We come up quite a bit during the year," Zack Meeler said. "My parents are buried in the Dawsonville cemetery, and I have a brother buried there, too."
The couple made the trek again last week so they could be among the first to purchase a new history book about Dawson County.
"When we come up, we go to the genealogy society. We'll go over and talk to the ladies," Zack Meeler said. "That's part of our visit, to come up and talk to them. They can tell us some of the old stories and we can tell them some that we've heard."
A collaboration of the Dawson Historical and Genealogical Society nearly two decades in the making, "Dawson County, Georgia: A History" was unveiled Aug. 26 during a formal reception and book signing at the Dawson County Government Center.
Dawson County Manager Cindy Campbell introduced society members Faye Bearden Bruce, Peggy Taylor Hulsey and Pat Densmore Floyd as the book's authors.
The ladies are Dawson County natives who were educated in the county's schools. The book is a collection of official records, research by early historians and memories, both written and oral.
"I think they did an awesome job. I've been so excited to read it," she said.
Funded through a grant from former Gov. Joe Frank Harris's discretionary budget, the county received $10,000 several years ago to publish a history.
"When I started with the county in 2008, it had been 10 years that the $10,000 grant had been on the county's books," Campbell said.
The late Charles Finley was working on the book when he was killed in a car wreck in 2012.
"[The historical and genealogical society was] kind of at a standstill for a long time, and they had tried to find somebody else to pick up the book and continue it," Campbell said. "And what was decided was that the historical society ladies would pick it up. But what you need to know is they wrote this book and they invested countless hours of research and their personal time."
The new 260-page hardbound featuring cover art by local painter Bill Rudrow, which chronicles the county even before Dawson was established in 1857, will be added to the Meeler's collection to continue their efforts in documenting the family's Dawson County lineage.
"It just seems to pull all of it together when we can see some of the places and read about some of the things that we've heard about," Annice Meeler said.
The books, priced at $38 each, are available at the Dawson County Library, at 342 Allen Street, Dawsonville, and by appointment at the Dawson County Historical and Genealogical Society office in the Historic Dawson County Courthouse on the town square.
For more information, call (706) 265-3985.