Biographies provide useful genealogical information such as a person’s birth date and place; names of family members, including maiden names; education; occupation; and social, political, and religious affiliation. They may also contain a physical description of the person, previous residences, and immigration information. Biographies are the product of family knowledge or previous research about early settlers and prominent citizens of a state, county, or town. Local histories may contain biographical sketches of lesser-known people.
Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
- McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2007.) FHL book 975.5 D36m Purchase at Genealogical.com.
For information about Virginia's earliest colonists, McCartney's work is a great place to start:
- True, Ransom B., ed. Biographical Dictionary of Early Virginia, 1607-1660. (Richmond, Virginia: Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, 1982.) FHL fiche 6332718 (first of 22) Includes more than 100,000 entries with references to 30,000 people who are mentioned in Virginia wills , deeds , court orders, histories, and Virginia Company records. A supplemental Guide FHL film 1750757 item 2; book 975.5 D3bd 1985 contains an explanation of the dictionary and a listing of the sources with their codes.An excellent list of early Virginians.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Five Volumes. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publication, 1915. FHL film 1000632; book 975.5 D3tl Digital versions of Vols. 1-2 at Ancestry ($)
- Wardell, P.G. Timesaving Aid to Virginia-West Virginia Ancestors: A Genealogical Index of Surnames from Published Sources. Two Volumes. (Athens, Georgia: Iberian Publishing, 1985.) FHL book 975 D22wAn index to biographical sketches in several hundred local histories and genealogies.
- Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
204 West Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220-5012
Family History Library Collection
- Brock, Robert Alonzo. Virginia and Virginians. (Richmond and Toledo: H. H. Hardesty, 1888.) FHL film 897042 items 2-3 An index is found on FHL fiche 6048346-47. It lists five to ten prominent citizens from each county with early governors and generals.
- Foote, William Henry. Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical. Two Volumes. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: William S. Martien, 1850-56.) FHL film 1000631; book 975.5 H2f Digital version available through FHL catalog entry; Volume 2 on FHL film 1598334 item 27.
- Foote, William Henry An Index to Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical (Richmond, Virginia: The Library, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1966) FHL book 975.5 H2f (index).Presbyterian history, ministers, and families.
- French, S. Bassett. Biographical Sketches [of Virginia]. (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library, 1949?) FHL film 029664-67 Contains brief handwritten sketches of persons born from the 1700s to 1800s, sometimes with birth and death dates.
- The Family History has a collection of county histories which include biographical information. To access biographies in the FHL catalog, use a Place-name Search for:
- Virginia - BIOGRAPHIES
- Virginia, [COUNTY] - BIOGRAPHY
- Virginia, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- Virginia, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - BIOGRAPHY
- Virginia, [COUNTY]. [TOWN] - HISTORY