Friday, April 17, 2009

Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records

A distant cousin of mine, Gail Vass, pointed out a resource that I had never seen before. It is called the Lost Records Localities Database and it is housed at the Libray of Virginia. Per their description...

"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. Please check periodically as this is an ongoing project."

In short, any record that they find from a "burned" county gets added to this collection. For example, say someone bought land in Hanover County and later sold it to someone in Mecklenburg County. The purchaser in Mecklenburg may have been involved in a court case where the Hanover deed was presented and copied. That copy still exists and is therefore added to the Lost Records database. It is search-able online but the actual records have to be viewed at the Library.

In case your were wondering, the burned counties in question are:
  • Albemarle
  • Appomattox
  • Buckingham
  • Caroline
  • Charles City
  • Culpeper
  • Dinwiddie
  • Elizabeth City
  • Gloucester
  • Hanover
  • Henrico
  • Henrico / City of Richmond
  • James City County / Williamsburg
  • King and Queen
  • King George
  • King William
  • Mathews
  • Nansemond
  • New Kent
  • Nottoway
  • Prince George
  • Prince William
  • Richmond City
  • Richmond County
  • Rockingham
  • Stafford
  • Warwick
For example, I checked for Brock documents in Hanover County and found the following:

LocalityNamesRecord TypeDates
Hanover CountyKing, Mary, etc. to John P. BrockDeed1799
Hanover CountyPriddy, Robert and wife Nancy to John C. BrockDeed1823

I am very interested in the King-Brock deed as John P. Brock is my ancestor and his wife was rumored to be a King. This might be the proof that I need to make that connection. I plan on making a trip to the archives tomorrow so I will look up the actual document and let you know what I learn about the collection.

You can check out the online database here: Lost Records Localities Database

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