Every man between ages 16 and 60 was required to be a member of his district company and do regular (yearly) drills. Georgia Militia Districts are minor civil divisions that are still used today in most counties.
Volunteer companies where just that, volunteer. Many had a certain amount of prestige associated with them. Some acted very much like a union, taking dues and providing services to their members, like life insurance. Gordon Smith's books focus on the volunteer companies, but only touch on district companies briefly.
Locating the records of an individual member of a district company is possible, but very difficult. First, you must learn the name of the senior officers, Captain, Major, or Lieutenant Colonel. Take that information to the Georgia Archives where a reference specialist will be able to help you locate potential record sources, such as pay rolls and muster rolls.
For volunteer companies, start with Gordon Smith as a way to determine if anything jumps out as a possibility for your ancestor's unit. His books are meant as a sample of the militia across Georgia, so not every county or volunteer company is represented. Again, a reference specialist will be able to help locate resources pertaining to volunteer companies.
Thank you, Paul Graham for this helpful description.
Is there anything on-line about early Georgia Militia?
How do I obtain Records?
Or if you prefer, postal inquiry: National Archives Form NATF Form 80 Military Services Branch National Archives and Records Administration 8th & Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington DC 20408When you return the form, they will search certain records for that individual. If you use your credit card, they will proceed to copy and send to you the information they found. If they are unable to find any information you will be notified, and there is NO CHARGE. The cost for a successful search if $17 and depending on the amount of copying, some extra charges.
Is there an outline to help me with Research Steps?
This LDS site Research Outline for US Military Records is very thorough.
Be sure to look at the TABLE showing the various kinds of records and what you are apt to find in each one, i.e. Military Service, Pension, Bounty Land, Draft, Cemetery, Soldier Homes, Lineage Society, Biography.
Is there anything specific on Georgia that is published?
How can I find out if my ancestor drew a pension or received Bounty Land?
Explanation of Pensions, Bounty Land available on microfilm
LDS films also has a CD index of the War of 1812, by state, with participants names listed alphabetically.
What other tips are there about researching this War?
History of the Georgia Militia, 1783-1861 v2. Counties and Commanders, Part One. Indexed. The militia histories of fifteen counties, CHATHAM, BURKE, JEFFERSON, TATTNALL, BALDWIN, MORGAN, JASPER, MONROE, BIBB, WARE, PIERCE, CAMPBELL, SUMTER, COBB, and FLOYD, placing them in the pertinent political and economic contexts in which they existed. Each chapter is richly documented with biographical and genealogical information on men and women residing in the county. Company roster and payrolls are attached in numerous cases. These pages contain a veritable genealogical treasure trove, since some counties have lost most if not all of their early public records. 385 pg $45
History of the Georgia Militia, 1783-1861 v3. Counties and Commanders, Part Two. Indexed. The militia histories of twelve counties: BLYNN, CAMDEN, EFFINGHAM, WASHINGTON, COLUMBIA, LINCOLN, CLARKE, HABERSHAM, MUSCOGEE, THOMAS, COLQUITT, and LOUNDES, placing them in the same contexts as those in Volume 2. Of these counties, several have lost most if not all of their early public records. Company rosters and payrolls are also attached in numerous cases. 400 pg $45.00
History of the Georgia Militia, 1783-1861 v4. Companies. Indexed. The histories of twenty-five representative volunteer companies, with rosters where pertinent. Among them are the GEORGIA HUSSARS, REPUBLICAN BLUES, MCINTOSH LIGHT DRAGOONS, MACON VOLUNTEERS, CRAWFORD VOLUNTEERS, FORT GAINES GUARDS, ALBANY GUARDS, and GATE CITY GUARD, and for genealogists include units incounties that have lost their early records, such as Crawford, Dougherty, and McIntosh Counties. Military and political historians will appreciate the account of the filibusters in Georgia: Lopez, Gonzales, the Order of the Lone Star, "the Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny", Henningsen, and the Knights of the Golden Circle. In addition, there is included a chapter on the military history of the Beaufort District, South Carolina. 375 pg $45