Virginia registration of births, deaths, and marriages began on a county level in 1853 and continued until 1896. Many counties abandoned registration during the Civil War, or recorded only a small percentage of events. Except in some independent cities, records were not kept between 1896 and 14 June 1912, when
statewide registration of vital statistics began. Early records, 1853-96, have been microfilmed and are available at The Library of Virginia and the FHL. Marriage bonds and licensing were in place from the 1600s in Virginia, though are sporadic and fragmented. They are usually found among the county levels of records, and are often published.
For birth and death records from 1913-present and marriages from 1936-present, write:
(There was no law requiring registration of births and deaths between 1896 and 1912.)
Virginia Department of Health
Office of Vital Records
James Madison Building
P.O. Box 1000
Richmond, VA 23208
Tel: 804-786-6228 (Recorded Message)
http://www.vdh.state.va.us/misc/gene.htm (Genealogy Page)
For earlier marriage records, write to the clerk of the county in question.
Federal census enumerations exist from 1810, and were taken every ten years. They are currently available through 1930, except for the destroyed census of 1890. The 1810 census is incomplete for many counties in the state, but has been reconstructed from tax lists and can be found in published format in most genealogical repositories. The 1790 and 1800 censuses were destroyed or lost, except for the 1800 enumerations of Accomack and Louisa counties. Tax lists from 1787 offer a substitute for the missing 1790 census. Two early censuses of Virginia have survived intact; only statistical abstracts remain of other censuses conducted. The first census is dated 16 February 1624 and is a list of the names of persons living in Virginia and the names of those who died since April 1623. The colony conducted a second census in January and February 1625. Another census was conducted in 1634, but is apparently lost. The best transcription of the 1625 Musters is in Virginia E Meyer and John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1625, 3d ed. (Richmond: Order of First Families of Virginia, 1987).
Early Virginia land records are readily available to researchers, including original patents and land grants from 1619 to 1921; survey plats from 1779 to 1878; Northern Neck (the area between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers) land grants from 1690 to 1862; Northern Neck surveys from 1722 to 1781 and 1786
to 1874; land warrants from 1779 to 1926; and miscellaneous land records from 1779 to 1923. Original and office records are housed at The Library of Virginia. For more information about the vast collections of land records for Virginia, see the following publications.
Gentry, Daphne S., comp. Virginia Land Office inventory, 3d ed., revised and enlarged by John S. Salmon. Richmond; Virginia State Library and Archives, 1981.
Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, multiple continuing volumes. 1934. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983-
Bounty-land warrants were issued to Virginia soldiers for their war service. See Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Revolutionary War Records: Volume I, Virginia (1936; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967), for an index of soldiers who received warrants for Ohio. See also Willard Rouse Jillson, The Kentucky Land Grants: A Systematic Index to All of the Land Grants Recorded in the State land Office at Frankfort, Kentucky, 1782-1924 (1925; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1971).
Court records entail probate records, guardianship, naturalization, and a wide variety of other sources. All contain information about individuals within the area. It should be remembered that there are different levels of jurisdiction for courts in the United States, all of which should be considered for research under various circumstances. Court of Common Pleas, Orphan’s Court, Probate Court, District Court, Superior Court, Supreme Court, and other titles are among those encountered. To study more about court records in general, see: “Research in Court Records” by Arlene H. Eakle, found in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds., The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy,
rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997).
Service records of Virginia soldiers in the colonial wars (1622-1763) offer more historical information and usually provide only the name of the soldier and the unit in which he served. See Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck’s Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988). There is no
comprehensive list of Virginia veterans of the Revolutionary War. Some published indexes exist, such as John Hastings Gwathmey. Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, 1775-1783 (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1938). A card index of Virginia soldiers is also available at the National Archives. John Frederick Dorman continues to compile abstracts of files of Virginia soldiers who received pensions or bounty land in Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, 44 vols. (Washington, DC, 1958-). Also see Virginia Revolutionary War Pensions (1980; reprint, Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1982). Virginia Soldiers of 1776, 2 cola. (1927-29; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973).
An index of the Virginia militia in the War of 1812 are included in a card index at The Library of Virginia and on microfilm at the FHL. Original pension and bounty-land warrant applications for the War of 1812 are at the National Archives. See also Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1988). Compiled Service Records of Confederated Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Virginia are microfilm publications available at the National Archives. The Library of Virginia and the FHL. For further information, see James C. Neagles’
U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, Inc., 1994).
Swem, Earl Gregg. Virginia Historical Index. 1934-36. Reprint. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1965).
“A Guide to the Counties of Virginia,” published serially in volumes 3-25 of The Virginia Genealogist. Falmouth, VA: John Frederick Dorman, 1957-.
Clay, Robert Young. Virginia Genealogical Resources. Detroit: Detroit Society of Genealogical Research, 1980.
Jester, Annie Lash. Some Peculiarities of Genealogical Research in Virginia: Colonial. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1969.
Livingston, Virginia Pope. Some Peculiarities of Genealogical Research in Virginia: Post Revolutionary. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1969.
Archives, Libraries, Societies, and Other Resources
Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Tel: 804-692-3500 (Main)
804-692-3777 (Library Reference)
804-692-3600 (Records Management)
804-692-3603 (Records Management)
Births and Deaths 1853-1896.
Marriages before 1936
Library of Virginia, Digital Collection
Virginia Colonial Records Database Project
Virginia Genealogical Society
5001 West Broad Street, Suite 115
Richmond, VA 23230-3023
Lower DelMarVa Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 3602
Salisbury, MD 21802-3602
Virginia Historical Society
428 North Boulevard
P.O. Box 731 I
Richmond, VA 23221-031 I
E-mail: kelly_winters @ vahistorical.org
Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society/Museum
69 Market Street
P.O. Box 193
Onancock, VA 23417
Genealogy and History of the Eastern Shore (GHOTES)
Virginia GenWeb Project
VIVA- Virtual Library of Virginia
Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters
Valley of the Shadow (Civil War)
http://jefferson.village. Virginia. EDU/vshadow2/contents.html
Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA