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Genealogical Reference Guides



For a better understanding of county boundary changes, see our new section Virginia in Maps

The following is a list of our General Reference Guides:

1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER, vol. 1 Central Region (Includes the counties of Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Buckingham, Charles City, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, independent city of Petersburg, independent city of Richmond, Louisa, Nelson, New Kent, Nottoway, Powhatan, and Prince George.) abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 1997, vi, 239 pages, indices, maps.
In 1782 the General Assembly of Virginia enacted new tax laws which created within each county an enumeration of land and certain personal property. These early land tax laws required a tax commissioner in each district of a county to record a list of the names of persons owning land or town lots, the quantity of land owned and its value, and the amount of tax owed. By 1813, a brief geographic description (usually citing an adjacent stream, road, or other landmark) was required; in 1814, the distance and direction from the courthouse for each parcel was also added to the tax rolls.
The present work is an alphabetical listing of all 1815 landowners found in each county, as well as the accompanying description of the location of the said property. We have not included the number of acres, taxes assessed, or any transactions between landowners which may have been noted on the tax rolls; also, in many cases the geographic location was provided as "adjacent to John Smith", etc. and, while useful many times to a genealogist, was considered to be beyond the objectives of this project. The reader is encouraged to consider the information here-in as an "outline" of early landowners in Virginia rather than a "text" due to the year-to-year variation in information provided to the clerk (or recorded by the clerk), omissions, lack of "identifiers" to determine if "same name" was also "same person" within a district or across districts, marginal quality/clarity (in a few cases) of the microfilm copy, and, not least, errors on the part of either the original clerks or the current author while transcribing.
Some of the approaches to utilizing the 1815 landowner information include:

  1. observe distinct clusters of the same surname within a county in order to clarify the common surnames such as "Smith", "Anderson", etc;
  2. identify non-resident landowners and their county (or state) of residence (these people often being former residents of the current county);
  3. determine neighbors with different surnames (often being relatives);
  4. use the 1815 information as a "bridge" from the 18th and 19th century deed/will books to the 17th and 18th century land grants/patents in the county;
  5. evaluate the 1810 to 1840 census information which generally grouped neighbors;
  6. substitute this information for missing deed/will books in the "burned" counties; and, clarify/enhance vague deed/will information in the counties with more complete records.
FORMAT OF PRESENTATION: Each entry is listed as: Surname, name, personal identifiers (if any); location/place-name of land; miles/direction from the 1815 courthouse. If multiple owners are listed for a property, the listing is duplicated under each of the owner's surnames (i.e "Smith and Brown" is also listed as "Brown, --see Smith"); when multiple owners share a common surname, the property is only listed once. When a landowner had land at more than one location/place-name, the miles/direction listing for each parcel is in the same sequence as the location listing (i.e. James RV, Slate CK; 12N, 5SW.). In the few cases where a landowner had "many" parcels, the miles/direction notation is attached to the location listing (i.e. Sandy RV- 5NE, Willow CK-7S, etc.)

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[Vdl1] $32.00


1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER Vol. 2-South Central Region (Includes the counties of Bedford, Brunswick, Campbell, Charlotte, Franklin, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Southampton, and Sussex. abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 1997, vi, 234 pages, indices, maps. This work is the second volume in a continuing project to record all 1815 landowners found in each county, as well as the accompanying description of the location of the property.

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[Vdl2] $32.00


1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER Vol. 3-Eastern Region. Includes the counties of Accomack, Caroline, Elizabeth City, Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Nansemond, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, Princess Anne, Richmond, Surry, Warwick, Westmoreland, York, and the independent city of Norfolk. abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 1998, viii, 209 pages, indices, maps. The third volume in a continuing project to record all 1815 landowners found in each county, as well as the accompanying description of the location of the property.

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[Vdl3] $32.00


1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER Vol. 4-Northern Region. Includes the counties of Culpeper, Virginia, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Independent City of Alexandria, Independent City of Fredericksburg, Independent City of Winchester, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Prince William, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 1999, viii, 220 pages, indices, maps.

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[Vdl4] $32.00


1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER Vol. 5-Western Region.
Includes counties of: Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Giles, Grayson, Greenbrier ([W.]Va.), Independent City of Staunton, Lee, Monroe, Montgomery, Pendleton, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Washington, Wythe abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 2000, viii, 240 pages, indices, maps.

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[Vdl5] $32.00


1815 DIRECTORY OF VIRGINIA LANDOWNERS & GAZETTEER Vol. 6-Northwest Region. Includes the counties of Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Mason, Monongalia, Ohio, Pendleton, Randolph, Tyler, and Wood abstracted by Roger G. Ward. 2000, x, 232 pages, indices, maps.

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[Vdl6] $32.00


The Directory of Virginia Landowners is also available as county by county booklets

Click here>to go to individual booklets page.


Hamrick's LOOPY LEXICON
Charles and Virginia Hamrick, 2001. 54,707 Modern American Surnames, each used by 30 or more families in the United States today. Hereditary, or family, names present the most difficult element of language for Researchers to decipher when working with handwritten records or oral histories. This is primarily because human names are constructed of linguistic elements (or parts) which often are quite ancient... whose meanings are no longer familiar to us. Nor do they share contextual affinity with other elements of the text in which they appear. For that reason, a Lexicon of modern American Surnames arranged in a reverse alphabetical order will be a useful, if not essential, reference work for anyone attempting to read and transcribe handwritten public records or correctly interpret recorded Oral Histories. The usefulness of this Lexicon stems from the fact that names contain a limited variety of endings which, by long usage, have become quite familiar to us. These name endings are often the first part we recognize when confronted with a new and difficult name. This is true, although the first part may be quite strange to us. A listing of the possible choices of 'beginnings' with which these 'endings' may be 'connected' will aid greatly in deciphering the true name. But a single sample will exemplify this better than all the words in a dictionary. Take for example a document in which you can clearly see that a strange name ends in -----RICK; a look at page 111 shows that RICK is the first name in column 4 and the last name ending in RICK is WYRICK at the beginning of column 3 on page 112. That's more than 100 different choices. However after closer examination you determine the next letter is an "M" making you puzzle ---MRICK. Your choices have now narrowed to three choices HAMRICK,EMRICK and HENRICK. You may now concentrate on determining whether the first letter is an "H" or an "E" (here the length of the word should dictate the choice "H") and you are left with discriminating between "AM" an "EN." So, have at it and expect near perfect results.

"An independent researcher whose specialized area is 18th century American business records he is expert in reading and transcribing 18th century handwriting. His diligence and precision in working with such rare items result in providing a new level of accessibility for researchers in all appropriate fields. I only wish our collection included more material of this kind."
                        --Joyce A. McMullin, Branch Manager Lloyd House Library of Virginia History and Genealogy

[Llex]Temporarily out of print



CHART ON THE FORMATION OF VIRGINIA COUNTIES designed by John Vogt. 11x17, printed on 65# cover stock. This reference chart provides a complete guide to the organization of Virginia's county government structure since the colony's founding. For each new county, the chart shows all of the contributing parent counties in an easy-to-read fashion. The chart also includes the regions of West Virginia and Kentucky up to the time when they became separate states. (An enlarged version of this formation chart is currently in use by the Virginia State Library, Archives Division, in its Genealogical Research Room.)


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[Ctva]$3.00




ATLAS OF COUNTY BOUNDARY CHANGES IN VIRGINIA, 1634-1895 by Michael F. Doran. 1987, viii, 61 pages, 11"x17". Maps covering the growth of Virginia counties and their subdivisions for each decade beginning in 1634 and ending with the last county formed in West Virginia in 1895. Each map is accompanied with a discussion of the changes and a table listing each new county and its parent county(ies). With the Atlas a researcher can locate exactly what county an ancestor lived in during the colonial days by checking the maps for the appropriate time period. It is possible that the absence of any records on an individual might not necessarily denote his moving, but the shifting of the county boundary and recording of information in a different county.
All of the maps in the section
Virginia in Maps are include, along with accompanying textual descriptors.

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[Vaat]$29.95




FORERUNNERS: A HISTORY OR GENEALOGY OF THE STRICKLER FAMILIES, THEIR KITH AND KIN Strickler, Harry M., 1925. Reprinted by New Papyrus Publishing Co., 1998. Harry Strickler's classic work on the Stricklers of the Shenandoah Valley is back in print. Included in this early work is material on not only on the Stricklers, but also collaterial lines among the following families. Kauffmans, Stovers, Burners, Ruffners, Beavers, Shavers, Brumbachs, Zirkles, Blossers, Groves, Brubakers, Neffs, Rothgebs, and many other early families of Shenandoah, Rockingham, Frederick, Augusta and Page Counties, Virginia.

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[Fore] $32.00


OWEN FAMILY PROFILES: A Compilation of Historic Records by Billy Wayne Owen, 2010. 523 pp. A wide ranging study of those persons with the surname "Owen". The author has included not only genealogical connections, but historical interpretations and decriptive narrative to give life to the subjects discussed.

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[Owen] $46.95


THE BROWN CONNECTION: ROOTS ALONG THE GREAT KANAWHA AND THE JAMES RIVERS by Helen Brown Nichols, 2007. 207 pp. Included in this work is material on not only on the Browns, but also collaterial lines among the following families- Slaughter, Donnally, Roberts, Landcraft, Draper, Bowyer, and Nichols.

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[Brwn] $27.00


1790 U.S. Census

HEADS OF FAMILIES AT THE FIRST CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES TAKEN IN THE YEAR 1790 (bicentennial edition) A bicentennial edition of the United States Federal Census for 1790. Between 1906 and 1908 the Government printing office published the surviving records of the first federal census of 1790 in volumes for each state. Today, most of these records and even their reprints are out of print and inaccessible except through use in research libraries and archives. New Papyrus Publishing has arranged to utilize Bureau of the Census logos for the bicentennial of the census and produce a new edition of this most important work. To date, four states are available. These volumes are printed using the original G.P.O. texts on 8x11 inch acid-free vellum stock with a permanency of two centuries under normal usage.


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    [NC90] North Carolina $35.00


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    [Sc90] South Carolina $30.00


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    [Va90] Virginia $32.00


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    [Pa90] Pennsylvania $46.95


INDEX TO SERIES I OF AMERICAN LOYALISTS CLAIMS compiled by Clifford S. Dwyer 1989, iv, 147 pages. Following the American Revolution, the British government established commissions to receive the claims of American Loyalists who had suffered losses of real and personal property as a result of the war. The original records of Gt. Britain [Series I, AO 12, Exchequer & Audit Dept, American Loyalist claims, 1776-1831] include thirty microfilm reels of valuable family and business information of the claimants. In most cases, the state of residence of the claimant(s) is noted. All of these films may be borrowed on interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress by citing proper volume and reel number. This is an extremely valuable addition for research in the late eighteenth century.

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[Alc1] $16.00


THE REPORTS OF...RANDOLPH AND...BARRADALL ON DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL COURT OF VIRGINIA, 1728-1741 by R. T. Barton. 1909 (reprint 1996) 2 volumes, 370, 394 pages, with the addition of a new index by Roger Ward. These two volumes constitute vols. 1 and 2 of the classic "Virginia Colonial Decisions" which has been a landmark reference work for mid-eighteenth century Virginia since its first printing in 1909. The addition of a comprehensive index further enhances the work. Sold as a set only.

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[Vcdc] 2 volumes, paper $61.95


VIRGINIA POSTMASTERS AND POST OFFICES, 1789-1832 compiled by Edith F. Axelson. 248 pages, index. 1991. Working with record group 28 in the National Archives, the compiler has located the counties for the many post offices listed and has presented a marvelous panoply of the early postal system in Virginia. This volume has immense genealogical value for the Virginia researcher: it gives the names of over three thousand men and women who were postmasters and over one thousand towns and taverns, creeks and crossroads, streams and stores, all of which boasted a post office for at least a short period of time.

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[Post] $24.50


A GUIDE TO EPISCOPAL CHURCH RECORDS IN VIRGINIA Edith F. Axelson. 1988, vi, 136 pages. The disenfranchisement of the Church of England following the American Revolution, combined with the sale of church properties in the early nineteenth century and constantly changing parish and county boundaries, have all served to fragment the ecclesiastical records of the successor Protestant Episcopal denomination. A few of the older holdings and records of extinct parishes are in library repositories; others are held in diocesan collections and by the individual churches. Their baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records are of immense value to the genealogical researcher. This volume is the result of the author's exhaustive search to identify and describe existing church and parish records, and to correspond with the individual churches on how to obtain information from them. A Guide to Episcopal Records in Virginia is a major reference tool for every genealogical researcher who deals with the Church of England in the colonial period and the successor Protestant Episcopal Church.

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[Gerv] $16.00


BURNED COUNTY DATA, 1809-1848 (AS FOUND IN THE VIRGINIA CONTESTED ELECTION FILES) by Benjamin B. Weisiger,III, 1986. 100 pages, index. The author has examined a previously unexplored source of information for valuable genealogical information regarding "burned counties." The bulk of the data consists of depositions regarding qualifications of the voter (e.g., land ownership, age, length of residence in the county, etc.) as well as data gleaned from a number of attached wills, deeds, and even a Bible register. The following counties and elections are included in the current volume: Hanover (1825); Buckingham (1809, 1840, 1848); Charles City (1821, 1838); Gloucester (1827); New Kent (1838); James City (1845); and Caroline (1843).

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[Burn] $17.00


SOME WILLS FROM THE BURNED COUNTIES OF VIRGINIA compiled by William Lindsay Hopkins. 6x9 format. Wills from circa 1670-1830. Brunswick, Buckingham, Caroline, Charles City, Dinwiddie, Elizabeth City, Glouster, Hanover, Henrico, James City, King George, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, Nansemond, New Kent, Prince George, Prince William, Stafford, and Warwick Counties, Va.

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[Swbc] $32.00


A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ABSTRACTS AND COMPILATIONS OF VIRGINIA CITY AND COUNTY RECORDS compiled by Robert Vernon. 1993, vi, 107 pages. This book contains a list of published abstracts of Virginia city and county records that are available at the Virginia State Library, in Richmond, Virginia. Although most of the books listed are abstracts of primary sources, that is, county wills, deeds, court orders, censuses, etc., the list does contain a few family genealogies. Please note, however, that no attempt was made to collect compiled genealogies.

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[Acre] $24.00


MARRIAGE RECORDS IN THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY: A RESEARCHER'S GUIDE (2d EDITION-1988) John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr. 2d edition 1988 [iv], 246 [2] pages, map. This book indexes and annotates more than 1,500 marriage records collections on microfilm, photostat, and in printed form currently in the Virginia State Library at Richmond. It also notes how to secure the assistance of archival staff in answering specific questions on your genealogy, and how to borrow original microfilm copies by interlibrary loan. A new format has been adopted for the second edition which includes a listing of all original manuscript and photostat materials held by the archives, as well as the microfilm and published holdings which were in the first edition. At least two hundred titles acquired by the library in the past five years have been added to the listing, as well as a summary of published materials for the West Virginia counties. Finally, a full and thorough treatment of each county's origins and boundary changes has been included.

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[Gtmr] $24.50


WILL AND ESTATE RECORDS IN THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY: A RESEARCHER'S GUIDE John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr. 1987, [iv], 186 pages, introduction, map. The authors begin by summarizing the intricacies of estate law as it developed in Virginia during the colonial period, and they illustrate the types of valuable family data which may be derived from such records. The volume includes a listing of 2,136 microfilmed will, estate, and related records. In addition, several hundred published works which contain source materials are included. [Note: West Virginia materials are not included in this volume].

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[Vwer] $22.00


TIMESAVING AID TO VIRGINIA-WEST VIRGINIA ANCESTORS (A Genealogical Index of Surnames from Published Sources)P.G. Wardell, 1990, iv, 429 pp. The author addresses the problem confronting every genealogist--how to conduct original research in the archives and still find the time to examine the important published literature, especially older works with inadequate indices. The author has carefully chosen books which have major genealogical significance, but carry no indices. From these volumes he has extracted surname entries and compiled them in a listing with the appropriate references to the original books which may be borrowed through library interlibrary loan. The guide to the reference book listed here is currently used in notecard form as a major reference source by the Lloyd House of the Alexandria, Virginia library system. As noted in the title, it includes references also to West Virginia counties and families. Each entry has been carefully checked and all references to a particular surname have been integrated into a single entry. This volume indexes a total of 802 volumes of Virginia family histories and research sources. It is a labor which required years of careful, patient, page-by-page, examination of these books. This book will prove to be a classic research tool for Virginia and West Virginia genealogical investigation.

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[Tavc] $38.00


TIMESAVING AID TO VIRGINIA-WEST VIRGINIA ANCESTORS vol. 5 Patrick G. Wardell, 1998, 8"x11" format, 174 pp. A supplement to the combined edition of volumes 1 - 4, described above. There are about 16,000 family names listed. The importance of this volume is that it covers the index for much hidden information on birth, death and marriage extracted from the 2,670 reels of microfilm of the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land records at the National Archives.

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[Tav5] $26.95





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