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Getting Started with Virginia Genealogy and Family Trees

Reliable Tactics for Virginia Genealogy Projects – Virginia is definitely one of the most historic of all the states. It was one of the first settled and where so many major events have occurred. Because of this it is often the subject of genealogical searches done by people seeking information about their African American heritage, Native American heritage, colonial ancestors, and many more. This article is going to look at the best ways for searching for Virginia genealogy data.

The Best Approaches for Virginia Genealogy – The first bits of information for Virginia genealogy research are often found through the use of a computer, but some will require a visit to a museum, library or archive of some kind. How do you learn which is which? It is done through simple searches and by understanding the ways that genealogical data tends to be organized.

There is a lot of “digitizing” going on in once private archives and collections. These have now become searchable online databases. Taking the time to use such tools will save you from wasted journeys, and can even allow you to discover where valuable data is located.

Finding Resources for Virginia Genealogy – The public records that can be found in many physical locations are also found readily online too. You must know how to look for them, however, and using the following categories will be essential to your search for Virginia genealogy information:

  • State Records – this group includes probate information, birth certificates, cemetery information, death records, deeds, estate information, genealogical folders, land records, maps, marriage details, military or veterans information, newspapers, private manuscripts, state census information, surname lists and more. These are available as online and offline resources for Virginia genealogy.
  • Local Records – traditionally, state research requires a visit to a county clerk’s office or website. From there you will often find yourself at small local libraries, historical societies, local genealogical societies, and school or college libraries for Virginia genealogy information. These are items that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
  • Vital Records – these are the birth, marriage, divorce and death records from county, state, and national archives. They include newspaper items, military records, immigration and naturalization details, cemetery or obituary information, census records, and passenger lists and records as well. These tend to be available as online or offline resources for Virginia genealogy.

Effective Resources for Virginia Genealogy – Once you begin using the most direct sources for Virginia genealogy research, you understand which have the most information for your needs. Below are the details for some of the best tools for Virginia genealogy:

  • Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1000, Richmond, VA 23218-1000;
    Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/virginia.htm

Additional state and local records can be found at the:

  • Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000;
    Website: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/index.htm

You will also want to explore the many resources available to those using the Virginia Genealogical Society’s website at: http://www.vgs.org/.

Additionally, the following websites provide state-specific details to those in search of facts for Virginia genealogy projects.


Virginia Ethnic Group Research

City and county records relating to properties and estates are the most useful records for locating slave information. However, other records can also be quite helpful. Some of those records include: Lists of Free Persons of Color, Marriage Records, Slave Lists, Apprenticeship Bonds, Trial Dockets, Slave Owner Lists, Church Records, Family and Plantation Records, Account Books, Bills of Sale

The Library of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, the Virginia Historical Society, the University of Virginia, and the Williamsburg Institute of Early American History and Culture each hold many of those records, as well as others. However, not all of those records were recorded in every location. In fact, there are not nearly as many slave records available as there are records of white settlers and free people. The Library of Virginia’s website offers resources for locating African American records.