NGS Research in the States Series: Virginia

ngs13“Research in Virginia is a never-ending search for new sources, new names, and new family connections. Discovering the role of one’s family in the long panorama of Virginia’s past is a challenge to genealogists–often frustrating, frequently rewarding. Researchers will confront many successes if they give careful attention to the records and to their historical and legal context.”

Virginia was the first and largest English colony in North America. As such, many American can trace their ancestral roots to Virginia. More than 400 years have passed since the first settlement, time for records to be moved, found, lost, destroyed, preserved, and treated in every manner possible. The centuries make puzzles out of written histories and records. Guides like NGS Research in the States Series: Virginia help researchers uncover clues to help find their ancestors with an historical perspective.

Beginning in 1987, the National Genealogical Society began publishing a series of state guides in the organization’s magazine, the Quarterly. These guides were later re-issued as special publications designed to support genealogical research in each state. NGS Research in the States Series: Virginia was written by Eric G. Grundset.

Like other NGS Research in the States guides, this volume on Virginia begins with a short, historical summary of the state and its inhabitants. A separate useful section, Jurisdictional Changes, covers border changes over the years. All the other standard information can be found, court, probate, land, religious, tax records, etc.

“Not everyone can descend from Pocahontas, from a Lee, or from a Byrd, but then, those individuals and families were not the only ones who built Virginia and created her history…While one may lament the great record losses of the past, one can also focus on the rich surviving documentary heritage of the Commonwealth and work to bring new information to light. Research on Virginia families is a challenge, but a challenge that rarely loses its appeal and excitement for anyone seeking an understanding of their ancestor’s lives in the Old Dominion.”

About the Author

Eric G. Grundset is a native Virginian, born in Prince George County. An early interest in Virginia’s history led to a degree in history from James Madison University and a MLS from Catholic University. He has worked for over 35 years in genealogical libraries. Grundset is a past president of the Virginia Genealogical Society and previously served as vice president of the NGS.

Table of Contents

Research in Virginia

  • History and Settlement
  • Jurisdictional Changes

Archives, Libraries, and Societies

  • The Library of Virginia (LVA)
    • Published Guides, Online Finding Aides, Catalogs and Other Records
    • Microfilm Collection
    • Original Records of Counties and Cities
    • Work Progress Administration Records
  • Virginia Historical Society (VHS)
  • Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR)
  • Other Virginia Libraries
  • Libraries Outside Virginia with Major Virginia Holdings
  • State and Local Genealogical and Historical Societies

Major Resources

  • Aids to Research
  • Genealogical and Historical Periodicals
  • Atlases and Maps
    • County and City Highway Maps and Topographic Maps
    • Historical Maps
  • Gazettes
  • Biographical Sources, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts
  • Bible Records
  • Business and Organizational Records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Censuses and Census Substitutes
    • Early Censuses and Substitutes
    • Federal Population Schedules
  • Colonial and State Government Records
  • County and City Records
    • County Formation and Local Records
    • Independent Cities
  • Court Records
  • Directories
  • Ethnic Records
    • Native Americans in Virginia
    • European Virginians
    • African American Virginians
  • Land Records
    • Colonial Period
    • Local Land Records
  • Military Records
    • Colonial Period
    • American Revolution
    • Military Records, 1783-1812, and the War of 1812
    • Military Records, 1815-1860
    • Civil War, 1861-1865
    • Wars of the Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • Naturalization and Immigration Records
  • Newspapers
  • Probate  and Will Records
  • Religious Records
  • Tax and Financial Records
  • Vital Records
    • Adoption Records
    • Birth and Death Records, 1853-1869 Records
    • Birth and Death Records, 1896-1912 Records
    • Birth and Death Records, 1912-1939, 1939 to Present
    • Marriage and Divorce Records
  • Women in Virginia
  • Conclusion

These guides are an excellent resource for state by state research. Available guides, including NGS Research in the States Series: Virginia are available from Family Roots Publishing.

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