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Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850



    Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850
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Colonial Virginia Source Records (#510)

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Virginia Genealogies #1, pre-1600s to 1900s (#162)

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About the Data
1700s-1900s

This data set contains information on approximately 135,000 individuals mentioned in abstracts of deeds, marriages, and wills from Virginia's Augusta, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, and Spotsylvania Counties.

Land Records

Thousands of Virginia's early settlers arrived in the colony as a result of the headright system. Under this system, anyone who paid his own way (or someone else's way) to Virginia received fifty acres of land. Millions of Virginia's acres were granted to individuals under this system in the 1600s and 1700s. Approximately 27,000 abstracts of selected deeds for Spotsylvania County (1722-1799) are included here. For genealogical purposes these land records can help establish relationships and approximate arrival times in the colony. The information included here was originally published in 1905 as part of "Virginia County Records — Spotsylvania County, 1721-1800, Volume I" edited by William Armstrong Crozier.

Entries often name other people listed (grantor, grantee, neighbors, witnesses, etc.), their relationship to the key person, role in the land transaction, residence, date and place of the transaction, and volume and page number of the original record. Each individual associated with a particular deed was given the same "Record ID Number." By searching on this ID Number, you'll be able to determine relationships between individuals and piece together quite a comprehensive record of the land transaction.

Marriage Records

In Virginia, beginning in 1660, a couple could marry by posting a bond with civil authorities or publishing banns at church. While reporting was required after 1780, marriages were sometimes reported before then. Here, you'll find approximately 15,500 abstracts of Augusta County marriages records and bonds from 1700 through 1853. Like the Augusta County will abstracts included here, this information was originally published as part of as part of "Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County" by Lyman Chalkley.

The records collected here often name other people listed in the marriage record, their relationship to the bride or groom, role in the event (such as bondsman, parent, guardian, etc.), date and place of the event, and the volumes and page number of the original record. Each individual associated with a particular marriage was given the same "Record ID Number." By searching on this ID Number, you'll be able to determine relationships between individuals and piece together quite a comprehensive record of a marriage.

Probate Records

This data set also includes more than 65,000 abstracts of wills from Augusta County (1743-1829), Isle of Wight County (1645-1895), and Norfolk County (1639-1856). The Augusta County abstracts were originally published as part of "Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County" by Lyman Chalkley. The remaining records from Isle of Wight and Norfolk Counties were abstracted from microfilmed copies of the original Will Books.

These records often name other people listed in the will, their relationship to the decedent (heir, other relatives, executors, etc.), role in the event, residence, date and place, and volume and page number of the original record. Each individual associated with a particular will was given the same "Record ID Number." By searching on this ID Number, you'll be able to determine relationships between individuals and piece together quite a comprehensive record of an individual's will.

The "Record ID Number" assigned to each record in this data set allows you the unique opportunity to learn about more than just the primary individual involved in a marriage, deed, or will. If you search on Nicholas Smith, for example, you'll learn that his will was executed on November 19, 1695 in Isle of Wight County. By searching on his "Record ID Number," you'll learn who else was mentioned in his will. For example, you'll learn that Ann Smith was his wife, Thomas Powell was his son-in-law, and that Arthur Allen and John Davis were among four witnesses.

More About this Data Set

Name — In the first field, you'll find the individual's given name and surname, as well as any titles that were included in the original index.

You may have difficulty locating some names for the following reasons:

  • Some given names have been abbreviated. For example, "Robert" may appear as "Robt," and "Elizabeth" as "Eliz."
  • Some given names are misspelled, contain typos, or may be spelled unusually.
  • Some given and middle names are truncated. Specifically this happens when the name, including the spaces between the given name, middle name, and last name, is longer than twenty-three characters. For example, "McCormack, Annabelle Margaret" would be listed as "McCormack, Annabelle Mar." If you are unable to locate a particular given name and surname, try switching the given name to an initial, abbreviation, or possible misspelling. If the surname is not common, you may want to search only on the surname.

Date — This field indicates the date on which the event (land transaction, marriage or will) was recorded.

Record Type — This is the event in which the individual participated.

Record ID — This identification number will help you link individuals together. All individuals with the same "Record ID" number were participants in the same land transaction, marriage, or will.

You may also find additional information about your ancestor in this record, such as:

  • Their role in the event (for example, "grantor," "grantee," "neighbors," "witnesses," "wife," "child," etc.)
  • Title
  • Residence
  • Date
  • Description of property
  • Location
  • Additional remarks about the event

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