Thursday, February 18, 2010

Burned Record Counties of Virginia

Several Virginia counties, most of them in the eastern part of the state, have suffered tremendous loss of their early records during the intense military activity that occurred during the Civil War, and others lost records in fires. At some point, almost everyone conducting genealogical or historical research will face the problem of finding information from a so-called "Burned Record county." Burned record counties might be grouped into three basic categories: Hopeless, Almost Hopeless, and Difficult. Included in the Hopeless category are James City, New Kent, Buckingham, Nansemond, Dinwiddie (before 1782), Appomattox, Buchanan, King and Queen, Warwick, and Henrico (before 1677). Almost Hopeless are Hanover, Prince George, Elizabeth City, and Gloucester. Difficult counties are Caroline, Charles City, King William, Mathews, Prince William, Stafford, Rockingham, and Nottoway.

If you are working with a county that has suffered a loss of court records, you must devote all your genealogical energy and historical knowledge to the project. First, survey any extant records as well as all existing indexes; second, read every surviving record page by page; third, consult the records of the surrounding counties; finally, seek out other types of records, such as church, business, private, and government documents.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Lost Records Localities Database at the Library of Virginia

This database consists of entries for a wide variety of court records found as part of chancery and other locality records-processing projects. The entries are for surviving records from localities, most of whose records are no longer extant. The original record is photocopied. The copies are filed together in an artificial collection—the Lost Records Localities Collection—and are readily accessed through the manuscript room at the Library of Virginia.

To consult the database: Click Here.

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