One of my 2019 blogging goals is to finish resource pages for all fifty U.S. states. The project is moving along and will be finished by 31 December. However, in reviewing pages I already have posted, I realized that Virginia’s page is sadly lacking. That is because when I started creating static resource pages, I planned to add to them as I found new resources, which I have done. That method doesn’t do justice to Virginia, though, so here is a much more robust list of online links.
Those early Virginians who didn’t originally settle in the colony came from the northeast colonies, eventually spread into today’s West Virginia and headed southerly to the Carolinas and westerly to Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond.
Virginia is a state that is actively digitizing its long history and there are some fabulous resources, in spite of the fact that there are a lot of burned counties in the state – places where some or all of its early records have been lost.
There are too many counties in Virginia to provide resource links to them, but don’t let that stop you from searching on your own for local and county resources where your family might have lived. However, I have listed some local library links – those are websites which have links to statewide Virginia records, too.
Here are links at the state level, which in turn often include county links to follow:
FamilySearch – As always, a great place to begin is the FamilySearch Virginia Wiki, which provides a wealth of historical information as well as places to go to further your research.
FamilySearch Virginia Wiki Home Page
One of the Virginia wiki choices is to Virginia Online Genealogy Records, which includes both free and paid subscription access. DO NOT skip over this page, as it has, by far, the most extensive set of Virginia genealogy links of any online resource.
It’s kind of a one-stop shopping page to begin checking out Virginia records. Of course, don’t neglect to use the FamilySearch catalog for links to actual records, books and other Virginia resources.
Next stop should be the Library of Virginia, which is what the state has named its state archives. Virginia has worked really hard to continually increase the number of Virginia historical records available to the public.
All serious Virginia researchers must take the time to explore the Library website. Virginia Memory houses its digital collections:
Another absolutely phenomenal option is the Virginia Chancery Court Records, which is part of Virginia Memory:
This record set is one of my all-time favorites because it is so easy to search and chancery records fill in so much of the day to day lives of our ancestors.
The Library of Virginia also has a page dedicated to all the local, regional and county level genealogical and historical societies in the state.
Lastly, don’t overlook Virginia Chronicle, which is the digital newspaper collection.
I don’t often include paid access links in my state resources, other than mentioning that they exist. However, the Virginia Genealogical Society offers so many benefits, not the least of which is a subscription to the Magazine of Virginia, which ranks at a top notch scholarly genealogical publication.
The Virginia Genealogical Society offers memberships – well worth the annual cost of $40 (or $75 for 2 years), given all the benefits:
There are lots of other resources behind the member wall.
VAGenWeb – a free, volunteer-run website, organized by counties. It began in the 1990s. The amount of material found on each county link varies widely, depending on what submitters have shared and the hosts have contributed. However, it is well worth a visit as there are true gems to be found here.
Virginia Museum of History and Culture – links to genealogy and historical resources. This is the home site of the Virginia Historical Society. There are also extensive links to Virginia’s Civil War history.
Williamsburg Regional Library – genealogy links
Danville Public Library – Genealogy
Research at George Washington’s Mount Vernon – some online databases
African-American Genealogy Resources at the University of Virginia Library
Virginia Genealogy Records – Rootweb – Some of the links here no longer work since Ancestry hasn’t maintained/updated them, but the page is worth a visit.
This is just a sampling of the many Virginia resources available online today. If I have missed a major collection, please let me know. I am very aware that this is far from a complete list, but it is enough to get researchers started.