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Russell County Virginia

Map of Va: Russell CountyRussell County was formed on 1 May 1786 from the northern portion of Washington County. It was named for General William Russell, a pioneer of the region and Revolutionary soldier. In 1792 Lee County was cut off from the western part of Russell. In 1800 a portion of Russell was taken to form part of Tazewell County, and again in 1807 and 1835 land was given to Tazewell County. Scott County's creation in 1814 removed another parcel of Russell territory. In 1856, 1858, and 1880 land was taken to form all or part of Wise, Buchanan, and Dickenson counties, respectively. Some of the county's records, notably a deed book and a marriage record book, were destroyed along with miscellaneous court papers, in a fire which burned a large portion of the center of Lebanon, including the courthouse, in 1872.

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RUSSELL CO. VA Marriages, 1848-1852, 1872-1900 (abstracred from copies of original certiicates in the Russell County courthouse, Lebanon, VA) Abstracted and arranged by Donald W. Helton. 2016. iv, 477 pages, complete name index. 8x10, paperback.
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RUSSELL CO. VA DEATH RECORDS: VOL. 1, 1912-1923 Researched and abstracted by Thomas Jack Hockett, Anne Bays and Michael A. Dye; annotations by Michael A. Dye; compiled by Donald W. Helton and Michael A. Dye.. 2013. vi, 467 pages, index. 8x10, paperback.
From the Introduction:
This first volume contains abstractions of the Russell County, Virginia death records beginning with the start of the statewide collection in 1912 and runs through the year 1923 and is a complete collection of those records as taken from microfilm of original death certificates held by the Library of Virginia. A second volume will follow which will continue from 1924 up through 1940. Also included in this volume are newspaper and magazine extracts of deaths that either occurred and were not reported during the period 1853 - 1896, occurred during the period 1896 - 1912 when reporting was not required or occurred following the beginning of the statewide collection of data in 1912 and that went unreported. Also included are 32 pages of selected Tazewell County, Virginia death records again taken from microfilm of original death certificates held by the Library of Virginia. This is not a complete record of the Tazewell County deaths for the years included. Many of these are of persons from Russell County. Lastly, included is a section of death records of persons from Russell County or whose parents were from Russell County who died outside the Commonwealth of Virginia, mostly having migrated to other states. These records were collected from a variety of sources, including original death certificates, online death records and indexes. Again, these records are in no way considered complete and the researcher who suspects a death occurred in a certain state but does not find the record in this volume should consult that state's death records before assuming the record does not exist.
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RUSSELL CO. VA WILLS TO 1821, FROM WILL BOOKS 2, 3, 4 AND 4A [Containing bonds, certificates, choses, deeds of emancipation and enfranchisement, delinquent taxpayers, inquisitions ad quod damnum, inventories, powers of attorney, vendues, wills and sundry other unexpected matters of record] Transcribed and edited by Karen Wagner Treacy. 2012. viii, 391 pages, index. 8x10, paperback.
From the Introduction:
Many of the surviving county records for Russell County VA are available in print or on line, in various forms. I have tried to assemble the testamentary and probate material of Russell County up through 1821.

Several courthouse volumes contained early wills; the common practice was to record something in the most convenient place. There is accordingly much overlap and disorder of dates. The lost Will Book 1 covered the period to 1803. Will Book 2, here in its entirety, covered 1803 to 1812 in 276 pages. Will Book 3, also complete here, covered 1812 to 1821 in 362 pages. Will Book 4, 1809-1898, with 96 pages included material from the Superior Court of Law, the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery and Circuit Courts. I have transcribed only the material to 1821 to coincide with the end of Will book 3. Will Book 4a was the successor to Will Book 3, covering 1821 to 1835 in 708 pages. I add here pages 19-41, ending with the estate of James Osbourn who died in December 1821. I have not included any wills recorded in deed or minute books.

Since Will Book 1 and Marriage Book 1 were unfortunately destroyed by fire, we pick up, as it were, in the middle of the story told by the Deed Books and Law Order books. In this collection may be found something of interest to almost any researcher of the period. Students of the treatment of slaves will find sales, emancipations, certificates of importation, requests that families not be separated (4a:35), and instructions that they be given a horse and money to transport themselves to their new owner and that they be allowed to choose their masters (3:208). In contrast, 2:196 bequeaths slaves on condition they be kept in servitude. Environmental concerns are addressed in the inquisitions ad quod damnum and the arrangements for timber and stone to build the new courthouse town. Economic historians will observe the retention of British alongside American currency. Those watching the emerging status of women will note Rhoda Horton could serve as security for Mary Black, executrix, in 1816. Old Mrs Powers appears in the same list as Old Mr Powers. Women were identified as senior and junior in the same fashion as men: remembering that in this era the terms only distinguished older from younger, not necessarily a parental/child relationship.

An unusual deed (3:203) has a father enfranchising his 15 year old son, releasing him from further service to his parent and allowing him to enter contracts, choose his occupation, and buy and sell, all at his own risk. James Osbourn and William Tiller appear to leave legacies for non-legitimate members of the family. There is much of human interest in these ledger pages: my favorite is the late night discussion of a codicil forestalled by the overnight death of the testator, although the defense of a reputed widow on the grounds of bigamy in 3:270 is also quite good.

Wills and inventories can flesh out inferred relationships, can show parent/child interactions, can educate us on what a well equipped farmer had at his death and what was the minimum a newly starting farmer needed to purchase. Next to a horse, the most expensive item commonly inventoried was a bed, its bedstead, and furniture. Wagons and stills were also high dollar property. Items people made for themselves (tables, chairs) had a low value, but metal work mattered, since even broken shovels and cracked pots were listed. Looms and items of textile production were ubiquitous. The tools in the inventories show that most men could turn their hands to many trades. Only if a man was specifically identified as being a smith, for example, did I index him so under occupations, since many had smithing tools for home use. I did not index people who practiced as attornies or who held military titles.

A treatise could be written on the orthography of the period, particularly on recording numbers. The clerk for the majority of the text, James Carrell, didn’t see the use of leading zeros. He would record a value as $1 6, instead of 1.06. He didn’t believe in trailing zeros either, and wasn’t entirely certain about the value of a decimal point. When used, the decimal point may be written as a single or a double dot, or even a colon. I have edited columns of numbers to line up vertically and used a single decimal in the columns for ease of modern users, although elsewhere I usually tried to observe the variegated examples. Math errors were common. I expect I have added to some of them by the difficulties of transcription. A study of the prices for items at the vendues make it clear that throughout the period some items were sold at pence and translated to cents, and the dollar was commonly broken into 8 bits: notice the frequency of prices in multiples of 12½ cents. Perhaps the auctioneer cryed the prices in bits or equivalents. Even sixteenths of a dollar appeared regularly: 6¼ cents was a common sum. Dividing a dollar into thirds occurred rarely. By the end of the period the tendency was to round items to uniform prices in quarter dollars.

Although an Indian presence was not the daily threat it was a generation ago, tomahawks appear in several inventories between 1801 and 1816, and a deed in 1805 mentions a Chickasaw horse. Military accoutrements (epaulets) and professional (usually surveying) articles appear. What medical items were listed generally apply to horses, although some ‘remnants of medicine’ were included in inventories. Chemicals associated with dying and gunpowder were not uncommon. No toys, cradles or infant paraphernalia appeared. Domestic animals and birds were listed but no dogs or cats: the bylaws of the town of Evansham (now Wythevilled) at that time (1812) regulated dogs and cat carcases.

There are several lists in this volume. Of course, there are lists of buyers at many of the major estates, but the long list of lands sold for taxes in 1815 (3:155) gives clues to absentee landlords. The list of debtors to Colbird Fugate’s account book (Blacksmith shop?) will introduce us to small holders who may not otherwise appear in the legal record. The list of signatories to the endorsement of Rev Thomas Burch (3:204) shows the other end of the social spectrum, those who expected their names to carry weight.

Religion is low key in this volume. There are 2 named pastors, several of the books identified in inventories are bibles, hymn books, or other religious material, and the preambles to wills and emancipations often include some statement of belief. Curiously, those statements are frequently worded in near-identical terms: Were there several pious testators, or one pious legal scribe? Why was the man in Timothy Burgess’s will called ‘Methodist William Wright’ Stephen Fuller made an oath on the Holy Evangelist instead of by the more usual so ’help me God’. Document 4:3
was validated by two witnesses: one by oath and the other by affirmation, indicating a Quaker influence.

Fascinating and unexpected items appear in the inventories. A few items can be followed from sale to sale. What is the story behind the conch shell, so many miles from the sea? What use did Andrew Hebourn have for a Lectrifying Machine in 1820, and what did it do? Consider what did not appear in the inventories: for the most part the only clothing listed was that of the deceased, although James Ervin was credited with a silk dress. The first clock appeared in 1821. Unless the small items collectively known as ‘cupboard furniture’ contained fancy pieces, there were only a few unnecessary fripperies included as trumpery and only one painting (of St Paul). Household furniture in exhaustive detail was itemized, but very seldom were the houses themselves; the first improvements sold at vendue were in 1815 (3:176, 179). Watches appear, but not jewelry, stored food but not victuals in the pantry, tanned leather but rarely animal furs, candle molds but not candles (although fat and tallow were listed!). The schema in the minds of the appraisers was clear to them, but nebulous to us.

Consider a widow buying back her household furniture: was there a courtesy to step back and let her bid on things first? A quick scan of sale vs appraisal prices where the buyers have the same surname as the decedent does not seem to suggest that family members purchased at an advantage, although someone with more socio-economic training may be able to detect a pattern. Sadly, the conch shell, appraised at 75 cents, and probably of sentimental value only to George Powers’ widow, was bid up to $2.50 and acquired by Jacob Lambert.
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RUSSELL CO. VA 1890 PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX LISTS Abstracted, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett and Donald Helton. 2012. ii, 51 pages, complete name index. 8x10, paperback. On January 10, 1921 a fire of unknown origin in the basement of the Department of commerce building destroyed all but 1% of the 1890 census. For more than a century historians and genealogists alike have sought to find ways to replace or at least regather some of this lost data. One of the most valuable sources which have survived are the state personal property tax lists which provide a summary of each household.
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VA 1810 SUBSTITUTE CENSUS [Abstracts from the 1810 Personal Property Tax List] by John Vogt, 2011, 5 1/2"x8 1/2" format, viii, 14 pages, map.
        Russell is one of eighteen Virginia counties for which the 1810 census is lost. In August, 1814 British troops occupied Washington, DC and public buildings were put to the torch. In the destruction that followed, numerous early records of the government were lost, including all of Virginia’s 1790 and 1800 census reports, as well as eighteen county lists for the state's most recent [1810] federal census. Although two “fair copies” of each county’s census had been left in the counties for public display, these were ephemeral lists and not preserved, and by 1814 they too had been mislaid, lost, or destroyed. Hence, the closest document available we have to reconstruct a partial image of the missing county lists is the personal property tax list.
       According to research notes by Minor T. Weisiger, Library of Virginia archivist: “Information recorded in Virginia personal property tax records changed gradually from 1782 to 1865. The early laws required the tax commissioner in each district to record in “a fair alphabetical list” the names of the person chargeable with the tax, the names of white male tithables over the age of twenty-one, the number of white male tithables between ages sixteen and twenty-one, the number of slaves both above and below age sixteen, various types of animals such as horses and cattle, carriage wheels, ordinary licenses, and even billiard tables. Free Negroes are listed by name and often denoted in the list as “free” or “FN.”
       The present abstract of Russell's 1810 personal property tax list is NOT a transcript of the entire document; rather, it is a summary of three items important in delineating the 1810 "substitute" census for this county, i.e., number of male tithables 16 and older, number of slaves twelve years and older, and the number of horses. The original form of the census was in alphabetic order by date and letter. The substitute list presented here is in absolute alphabetic order for easy reference.

In the current volume, the data is recorded thus:
Beck, Robert                  1      -      2
Bellama, John                1      -      1
Booker, Richard E.        1      -      -
Bouldin, Green              2      6      5

        Column one represents the tithable males (16 and over) in the household; column 2 is the number of slaves over 12; and the final column is the number of horses, mares or mules.
        For genealogical researchers in this 1810 period, personal property tax records may provide additional important information. Oftentimes, juniors and seniors are listed adjacent to one another and recorded on the same day. When a taxpayer is noted as “exempt”, it can be a clue to someone holding a particular position in government or being elderly, infirm, or for some other reason no longer required to pay the tithable tax. Women, both black and white, appear occasionally as heads of households when they own property in their own right or as the widow of a property owner.
        Another valuable source for filling in information about an ancestor is the land tax record, and especially the one for 1815. In that year, the enumerators began to add the location of the property in relation to the county court house. Roger Ward has abstracted all of the 1815 land tax records, and they are available from this publisher at
        The 1810 substitute census list for Russell County contains 1,022 households, 1,110 tithables, both white and free black, and 195 slaves over the age of twelve, and 2,810 horses.

SURNAMES included in the 1810 personal property list are:
        Abet; Adams; Addington; Alexander; Allen; Alley; Allin; Anderson; Arnet; Arton; Arvan; Astrip; Atterson; Auxer;

        Babb; Back; Baker; Ball; Ballinger; Barker; Barnett; Bawn; Bay; Bays; Belcher; Benner; Berry; Bevens; Bevin; Bevins; Bickley; Biset; Bishop; Black; Bletcher; Bleven; Blevin; Bloomer; Boldridge; Bolen; Bolin; Bollin; Booth; Boyd; Bradsker; Breeding; Brichey; Broadwater; Brooksher; Brown; Browning; Bruce; Brumley; Bunday; Burch; Burdine; Burk; Burtis; Burton; Bush;

        Campbell; Candler; Carter; Cartey; Cassel; Casteal; Castel; Castle; Chaffin; Chaifen; Chainey; Chanler; Charles; Chase; Childers; Childris; Childs; Clark; Clendening; Clevenger; Clift; Cody; Cole; Collin; Colly; Color; Combs; Comton; Conley; Conway; Cook; Cooksey; Coots; Cornwall; Corum; Couch; Countess; Counts; Cowing; Cox; Crabtree; Cragen; Crank; Crider; Crump; Crumwell; Culberson; Cumton; Cuningham;

        Dail; Dair; Daugherty; Davenport; Davis; Davison; Dawson; Day; Deen; Dickenson; Dickinson; Dickson; Dingus; Dinsmoore; Dollahide; Dorton; Duff; Duncan; Dunihue; Durham; Dutton; Duty; Dyer;

        Elam; Eliot; Elkin; Ellet; Ellington; Elliott; Ellis; Emmon; Ervin; Erwin; Estep; Esterling; Evin; Ewing;

        Faris; Farmer; Ferrel; Field; Fields; Finnel; Finnil; Fittsgarrel; Flanary; Flanay; Fletcher; Flin; Forgerson; Fouch; Fraley; Fraly; Francis; Francisco; Frazur; Fry; Fugate; Fulks; Fullar; Fuller; Fulller;

        Galliher; Garriott; George; Gibson; Gilbert; Gillespy; Gilmore; Gilum; Glen; Godsey; Going; Goodman; Gore; Gose; Grain; Grammar; Gray; Greats; Green; Grey; Grizle; Grub; Guttery;

        Haberlane; Hackney; Hadox; Hail; Hain; Hainey; Hains; Hall; Hamilton; Hammilton; Hammon; Hamon; Haney; Hargass; Harris; Hart; Harvy; Hatfield; Heburn; Hendricks; Hendrickson; Henry; Herndon; Herrel; Herril; Hicks; Hickum; Hill; Hobb; Hobbs; Hodges; Hoge; Holebrook; Holiday; Holland; Honacre; Honaker; Honker; Hooper; Horn; Horton; Howard; Howerton; Howun; Hullen; Hunt; Hurst; Hurt; Huse; Hutcheson; Hynes;

        Ingland; Ingle; Isaac;

        Jackson; James; Jarral; Jeffers; Jesse; Johnson; Johnston; Jones; Jordan;

        Keen; Kelly; Kendrick; Kenner; Kezee; Kidd; Kilgore; Kinder; King; Kinsor; Kirk; Kisor; Kitchen; Kizer;

        Lain; Lambert; Landers; Large; Lark; Lawson; Lea; Lee; Leforce; Leman; Linch; Little; Litton; Locheart; Loid; Long; Louderbach; Lovelace; Luis;

        Madam; Madams; Mahon; Marshall; Martin; May; May; McCarrel; McClelan; McCliben; McCloglin; McCloud; McConnel; McCormack; McCoy; McDavid; McFarlan; McFarland; McFarlane; McGloglan; McGlouglin; McGraw; McKenny; McKinney; McKinster; McNight; McRaynolds; Mead; Miers; Miller; Mintor; Mixer; Mohan; Monk; Montgomery; Mooney; Moore; Moreton; Morgan; Morrel; Mosley; Moss; Mullen; Mullens; Mullet; Mullin; Mullins; Mullit; Muncy; Murphey; Murphy; Musick; Mutter;

        Nash; Nealy; Nease; Necesary; Nelson; Newberry; Newman; Nichols; Nifong; Noland;

        O'Daniel; Olinger; Osborn; O’Daniel;

        Parks; Paschal; Patrick; Patton; Pearson; Peck; Pedigo; Pendleton; Penix; Penley; Pennington; Pennix; Percen; Perry; Peters; Philip; Phip; Pipen; Porter; Powal; Power; Powers; Presley; Price; Prince; Prulat; Pucket; Puckit;


        Raimey; Raimy; Ramsey; Ramy; Rasnack; Ray; Redwine; Richmond; Riggs; Ring; Ritchie; Ritchmond; Roach; Roaton; Robert; Roberts; Robinson; Robison; Rogar; Romaine; Roman; Rosnack; Runals; Ryley;

        Sally; Salyars; Samples; Sargent; Scott; Sewel; Sexton; Shearman; Shoomaker; Short; Sick; Sikes; Skeen; Smith; Smoot; Smyth; Sneed; South; Southard; Southarlane; Spradling; Stacy; Stalyard; Stanfield; Stanley; Stapleton; Starnes; Step; Stephens; Stewart; Stinson; Stone; Strauther; Strong; Stroud; Stublefield; Sulcher; Summers; Sutvin; Sweany; Sword;

        Tate; Taylor; Templeton; Thomson; Thornbery; Tod; Turner; Tyrey;


        Vermilion; Vicar;

        Wadington; Waggon; Waldip; Walep; Walker; Wallace; Waller; Waltrip; Wampler; Watson; Watt; Wayland; Webb; Welch; Welcher; Wells; Welsh; West; Whit; Whitcher; White; Whiteley; Whitely; Whitlock; Wigfield; Wilborn; Willcox; Williams; Wilson; Wingo; Witt; Wizer; Wood; Woods; Wright;

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SELECTED DEATH RECORDS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIANS WHO DIED IN MISSOURI (OR WERE RELATED TO THOSE WHO DIED IN MISSOURI (with additions from Iowa and Sullivan County/East Tennessee) Researched by Thomas Jack Hockett; Abstracted & compiled by by Donald W. Helton. iv,220pp., every-name index (8.25" x 10.75" paperback). These deaths are taken from a variety of sources and methods employed, including "hunt and seek", census, on-line sources at Rootsweb, Ancestry, IGI, Family Genealogy Forums, censuses, etc. and the very valuable Missouri Death Certificates 1912-1958 which are generously available online. These deaths of mid and extreme SW VA people in MO during the subject time likely represent only a fraction of the deaths which could be ferreted out with difficulty employing 2-4 sources (in conjunction) in conjunction. The work represents considerable labor (not to mention eye-strain) and it is hoped it will bolster further the efforts to document the migration of SW VA persons”.

During the process of abstracting and compiling the death records listed herein, instances of conflict occurred between the certificate and additional information found on-line. The information is entered as found. Any such conflicts are left to the discretion of the reader to reconcile.
Table of contents
Missouri Deaths from
      Washington County       1
      Wythe Co., Va      43
      Russell Co., Va      56
      Grayson/Carroll Cos., VA       80
      Smyth Co., Va      85
      Tazewell Co., Va      101
      Lee Co., Va      118
      Scott Co., Va      138
      Dickenson Co., Va      151
      Buchanan Co., Va      154
      Miscellaneous Deaths from southwest Va.      181
      Iowa Deaths from Southwest Virginia      193
      Alphabetical Index      202
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VA LAW ORDER BOOK 2, 1792-1799 Abstracted by Michael A. Dye 2008, 8x10,iv, 156 pp., full name index. Law Order books consist of the corrected, transcribed clerk's notes of the court proceedings. As such, they give detailed information on individuals brought before the court, of jury decisions, and court justice's orders for county maintenance. The author has carefully abstracted the clerk's notes for this early Russell Orber Book.
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VA LAW ORDER BOOK 10, 1833-1838 Transcribed by Donald W. Helton 2007, 8x10,iv, 550 pp., surname index.Law Order books consist of the corrected, transcribed clerk's notes of the court proceedings. As such, they give detailed information on individuals brought before the court, of jury decisions, and court justice's orders for county maintenance. The author has meticulously transcribed the court law order book noted above, and it is a treasure trove of information for the genealogist with family in Russell county during the 1830s. More than seven hundred families are represented in the court proceedings, and they constitute thousands of individuals who appear as either defendants or plaintiffs.
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1880 CENSUS OF RUSSELL CO. VA Transcribed by Jack Hockett, 131 pages plus foreword and every-name index (8.25" x 10.75" paperback). The second census following the Civil War, this census presents significant and detailed information on every member of the household. A thorough and meticulous transcription taken from microfilms [Population Schedules of the Tenth Census of the United States].
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RUSSELL CO., VA DEED BOOK 1, 1787-1795 abstracted by Tom Colley. 1995, 101 pages, index, notes (8"x11" format). Russell County was formed in 1786 from the northern portion of Washington County. In 1792 Lee County was cut off from the western part of Russell. In 1800 a portion of Russell was taken to form part of Tazewell County, and again in 1807 and 1835 land was given to Tazewell County. Scott County's creation in 1814 removed another parcel of Russell territory. In 1856, 1858, and 1880 land was taken to form all or part of Wise, Buchanan, and Dickenson counties, respectively. In this and the following two titles, the author provides a valuable window on eighteenth-century Russell County at a time when it was the focus of a great migration movement through the area into the western lands. These will prove to be extremely valuable for Southwestern Virginia research.
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 2, 1795-1798 abstracted by Tom Colley. 1995, 117 pages, index, notes (8"x11 format). A continuation of the series above.
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 3, 1798-1806 abstracted by Tom Colley. 1995, 233 pages, index, notes (8"x11 format). A continuation of the series above.
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RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 4, 1806-1814 abstracted by Tom Colley. 1996, 302 pages, index, notes (8"x11 format). A continuation of the series above.
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IMPLIED MARRIAGES OF RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA : (Maiden names of wives mentioned in the wills and deeds of Russell County Prior to 1860, and in the earliest records of Lee and Scott counties, formed from Russell in 1793 and 1814 respectively) abstracted by Mary D. Fugate, C.G.R.S. vi, 112 pages, index. The author has drawn upon the early deed & will books and death register of Russell, as well as Lee County will books and Scott County Will Book I to present an integrated look at the possible marriages of southwest Virginia through marriages implied in the documentation. The book contains 1,003 marriage entries with references to their location in the documentation, and it also contains a full bride's maiden name listing, with cross-references to parents when known.
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Russell Co. 1815 Directory of Landowners by Roger G. Ward. 2005. 20 pages, map, 5 1/2X8 1/2.
For a full description of the 1815 LAND DIRECTORY Records and a listing of available counties, see:
Individual County Booklets, 1815 Directory of Virginia Landowners

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