Oldest Virginia County Records

By Jeannette Holland Austin

If you have not found anything on your ancestor, you may be skipping over records simply because of the title. For instance, Virginia’s earliest counties often combined all the county records in one book. Such as deeds, wills, estates, inventories, vouchers, etc. The oldest deed books contain valuable genealogical information. As the new settlers acquired lands from the English Crown, they recorded their deeds. As time passed, lands were passed down to the sons, starting with the home place to the eldest. As smaller tracts went into the hands of younger sons, they moved on, in search of fertile soil. This is what happened during the early 18th century when settlement was encouraged in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia. If this is where you found your ancestor, the next step is to examine old Virginia Counties, North Carolina and even Philadelphia immigrants. Since the early deed books also contained wills and estates, it is wise to examine them. To address this issue, Virginia Pioneers.net is digitizing and placing these old images online. We all know that the earliest of records were written in the beautiful Colonial Script, however, digitization has made the faded areas more visible, and one can take their time reading them at home on the computer! This month we are working in Goochland County and scanning records from the earliest surviving county records. As new scans appear on the website each month, there will be more opportunities to find elusive undiscovered ancestors!