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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Virginia  Gotoarrow.png  Genealogy

Most archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies have special collections and indexes of genealogical value. Sometimes these must be searched in person. Lists of published genealogies are underway for each county in Virginia in FamilySearch Wiki and many important genealogical collections covering all of Virginia are described below.

Contents

Online Resources

Search Engines. Online search engines make it possible to search for ancestors' names across the Internet. Examples:

  • Google (try searching for your ancestor's name in parenthesis, i.e. "Jebediah Hogg")
  • Mocavo (a new site that searches only websites with genealogical content)

Family Tree Databases

World Connect. More than 12,000,000 Virginians appear in family trees submitted to the online World Connect Project. The accuracy of the data varies, but the database is commendable for its ability to include transcribed sources within each individual's file. These databases will provide many researchers clues as to what has been done in the past, and where future research efforts should be directed.

Digital Books

Many published genealogies, particularly those printed before 1923, which are now out of copyright, are being digitized and made available online. Major sites include:

Community Networking Sites

In the pre-Internet days, many genealogists published queries in genealogical journals covering places where their ancestors lived, such as The Virginia Genealogist. Today, most genealogists prefer to post queries online.

Message Boards and Lists. Genealogists share information and ask questions in online message boards. Some examples are:


You'll also want to check message boards focused on specific surnames and localities (such as counties) to find your ancestors.
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DNA. DNA studies are one of the most exciting new ways to learn about your roots. Several DNA companies are available to assist. Y-Chromosome tests are very helpful, because they can help people who share surnames find out if they're related. Some DNA sites inform you if someone is already studying your surname, such as:


Geographical DNA projects targeting people with Virginia ancestors include:

  1. The DNA of the Early Chesapeake project at FamilyTreeDNA lists many Virginia compiled genealogies. Project administrators correlate DNA evidence and genealogical material.
  2. VA-1600s Geographic Project at FamilyTreeDNA was organized as a storage place for DNA results of people whose ancestors lived in Virginia before 1700. More than 75 samples have been collected.
  3. Germanna DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA focuses on the Germans who settled in Virginia in 1714 and 1717. More than 200 samples have been collected.
  4. Virginia-SW Group Project at FamilyTreeDNA focuses on Franklin, Patrick, Grayson, Smyth, Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Henry, Carroll, Wythe, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Floyd, Bedford, Amherst, Pulaski, Pittsylvania, and Montgomery counties.
  5. Melungeon Families of Interest Project at FamilyTreeDNA focuses on specific families thought to fit into the ethnic category of Melungeon. Some of these folks lived in Southwest Virginia.

Finding Aids

Library of Virginia. Use the "Search the LVA Catalog" feature to locate published genealogies about Virginia families. Many manuscript collections are also held at this facility.

Family History Library Catalog. Use the "Last names" search to pinpoint books about specific families in this large collection at the Family History Library.

PERSI. This database, available online both at Ancestry.com ($) and HeritageQuestOnline ($), searches the titles of articles published in genealogy journals. It can help you learn if anyone has published information in this format on your particular family tree.

FamilySearch Wiki Bibliographies. Lists of Virginia genealogies, county-by-county, are being compiled on FamilySearch Wiki. Some counties, for example, Augusta County, list compiled genealogies for more than 600 families. Books and periodicals are being tapped to create these lists, which are currently available for the following counties:

Accomack · Albemarle · Alleghany · Amelia · Amherst · Appomattox · Arlington · Augusta · Bath · Bedford · Bland · Botetourt · Brunswick · Buchanan · Buckingham · Campbell · Caroline · Carroll · Charles City · Charlotte · Chesterfield · Clarke · Craig · Culpeper · Cumberland · Dickenson · Dinwiddie · Elizabeth City · Essex · Fairfax · Fauquier · Floyd · Fluvanna · Franklin · Frederick · Giles · Gloucester · Goochland · Grayson · Greene · Greensville · Halifax · Hanover · Henrico · Henry · Highland · Isle of Wight · James City ·  King and Queen · King George · King William · Lancaster · Lee · Loudoun · Louisa · Lunenburg · Madison · Mathews · Mecklenburg · Middlesex · Montgomery · Nansemond · Nelson · New Kent · Norfolk · Norfolk (Lower) · Norfolk (New) · Norfolk (Upper) · Northampton · Northumberland · Nottoway · Orange · Page · Patrick · Pittsylvania · Powhatan · Prince Edward · Prince George · Prince William · Princess Anne · Pulaski · Rappahannock · Rappahannock (Old) · Richmond · Roanoke · Rockbridge · Rockingham · Russell · Scott · Shenandoah · Smyth · Southampton · Spotsylvania · Stafford · Surry · Sussex · Tazewell · Warren · Warwick · Washington · Westmoreland · Wise · Wythe · York

Manuscript Collections

Virginia Colonial Records Project. This project includes 14,704 surveys of Virginia-related material in archives of Great Britain, Ireland, and France and 963 microfilm reels of original documents. The database index lists 500,000 personal names and ship names. The Library of Virginia has put the index on the Internet. They also have interlibrary loan of the films of original documents.

For a list of the sources, see:

Also see the Library of Virginia Basic Search: Virginia Colonial Records Project online database index

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Genealogical Collection.

This collection consists of transcripts of Bible records, cemetery records, church records, marriage records, death records, obituaries, and wills. It was microfilmed in 1971 at the DAR Library in Washington, DC, and is available on 44 films at the Family History Library. The volumes are generally arranged by county and many have individual indexes. These are listed in several entries in the Family History Library Catalog under Daughters of the American Revolution (Virginia).

Ardery Collection, ca. 1750-1970. This is a set of volumes and files that contain information gathered by Julia Hoge Spencer Ardery from the 1920s to the 1960s on Virginia and Kentucky families. The information was extracted from newspaper accounts, family newsletters, family Bibles, military records, historical journals, and vital records. The collection is indexed, but most of the volumes and files are in several alphabetical series.

The original collection is at the Margaret I. King Library (University of Kentucky, Special Collections and Archives, 110 King Library North, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0039; Telephone: 606-257-8611; Fax: 606-257-8379). The Family History Library has a copy of part of the collection on 81 films microfilmed in 1970 beginning with film 831459. The King Library has additional files (not microfilmed) on more than 100 families. A list of the family surnames was published by the Kentucky Genealogical Society in:

Genealogical Notes (Collection). This is a collection of typewritten and handwritten genealogical manuscripts by many different researchers. They were filmed at the Library of Virginia (Family History Library films 029883-89). The manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by surname. The records of each family are also listed in the Surname Search of the Family History Library Catalog.

Published Collections, Indexes, and Guides

Some helpful indexes to many published accounts of families are in the books by Stuart Brown, Robert Stewart, Earl Swem (see below), and P. G. Wardell (see Virginia Biography).

A good starting point for finding published Virginia genealogies is:

Additional resources include:

To help interpret citations and locate the original sources, use the colored pages in some volumes or use the book:

Writing and Sharing Your Family History

Sharing your own family history is valuable for several reasons:

  • It helps you see gaps in your own research and raises opportunities to find new information.
  • It helps other researchers progress in researching ancestors you share in common.
  • It draws other researchers to you who already have information about your family that you do not yet possess.
  • It draws together researchers with common interests, sparking collaboration opportunities. For instance, researchers in various localities might choose to do lookups for each other in remote repositories. Your readers may also share photos of your ancestors that you have never seen before.
See also:

Websites


 

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