Virginia Ancestry



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Research Guidelines:


Clients frequently ask "How many hours do I need to request?"  Each research situation will be different so it is difficult to accurately estimate the number of hours needed.  However, following are suggested guidelines:  

  • Proving a generation for an individual born after 1850 - 5 hours per generation.

  • Proving a generation for an individual born before 1850 (no indication of "Brick Wall" problems) - 10 hours per generation.

  • "Brick Wall" ancestors - 20 hours initially.

 Please remember to factor in copy, travel, library and parking fees.

Questions & Answers:

 Q: What information do I need to provide?

A:  Please provide the following on your "problem ancestor" or earliest known ancestor if available:

  • Vital statistics.

  • Information on spouses and his/her parents.

  • Names of children including their vital statistics and spouses.

  • Names of siblings.

  • Records of land ownership, census records, wills, court records, military service and family traditions of origin.

  • A listing of sources previously searched that you do not want duplicated for this project.

  • Research reports prepared by other researchers.

  • You do not need to include all information on the descendants, such as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  However, please indicate if there is a first or middle name that appears to be a family surname that has passed down through the generations.


Q:  Can I send the information in an electronic database or family tree file?

A:  Yes, in most cases, I will be able to access the information sent in a family file.

Q:  My problem ancestor was born in Virginia, but moved to another state. Should I research records in the other state first or begin research in Virginia?

A: In general, records of the other state should be searched prior to researching in Virginia, and it is important to determine the county in Virginia that your ancestor came from. Keep in mind that young people who moved out of Virginia often moved with their parents or other close family members, and the answers to parentage may be in the records of the other state. Virginia did not begin registering births until 1853 and even after that only about 25% of births were reported. Therefore, unless your ancestor had a very unusual surname, it will likely be unproductive to begin Virginia research until you have some idea of where your ancestor may have come from.

    Sources that may list an individual's birth place or prior residence in Virginia include marriage and death records of the individual and death records of his/her children, obituaries, local histories, family histories, social columns in newspapers, military pensions and bounty land records, court suits and occasionally deeds and tombstone records. If those records fail to provide clues, records of associates and collateral relatives may need to be studied since individuals often migrated with other family members and neighbors.