Genealogical Research

Do you enjoy listening to and telling stories?  Solving mysteries or making discoveries?  Then you'll enjoy genealogical research. The documents you're likely to encounter in your searches include birth, marriage, and death records; census records; legal and financial records; historic maps; immigration records; military records; church records; historic newspapers; and personal items like letters, diaries, photographs, and family bibles. Consider conducting interviews too - to capture the stories of your living family members and how their story is part of yours.

Historical Societies/Museums

Charles City Archives - among the best online resources from local archives
Chesterfield County
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
King and Queen County
King William County
(Historic) Petersburg Fndtn
Powhatan County
Prince George County
Virginia Historical Society

Decipher Virginia Historic Documents as a Volunteer!
Do you like decoding handwriting from decades or even centuries ago? Consider volunteering to transcribe records digitized for the Library of Virginia's "Making History - Transcribe" project.  See Ms. DeGroat for contact information.


Studying Frederick Douglass, Slavery, and Slave Narratives

Ads for Runaway Slaves - browse, detailed search, full-text search


Douglass Obituaries: American Missionary, the New York Times, and the Richmond Planet 


Unknown No Longer - browse by doc by type - view Commonplace book entry for Sambo, certificate for Peggy Jones. Note: You may wish to download image from pop-up and then zoom in/out using photo viewing application.
Key Databases

Family Search (by LDS) - before creating an account or uploading family artifacts, please read their privacy policy and consult with a parent/guardian

Heritage Quest - accessible with a public library card number from Heritage (Charles City and New Kent), Henrico, Pamunkey  (Hanover, Goochland, King and Queen, and King William), or Powhatan.

Ancestry.com - Appomattox (incl. Hopewell and Prince George), Chesterfield, Heritage, Pamunkey, and Petersburg patrons have access from inside their local library branch(es).

Chronicling America (newspapers) - see Topic List for ideas

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) - requires school login off-campus

State/Regional Resources

1940 Virginia Census - in April 2012, VA was 6th state to finish indexing its 1940 census records
Chancery Records (LVA) - docs from disputes about land, inheritance, debt, etc. See FAQ's for abbreviations. There's also a list of what's been digitized.
VA Freedmen's Bureau (1865-72)
Library of Virginia - digital collections by topic
Unknown No Longer - (VHS) database of VA slave names 
VA Gen Web (volunteer-run)
Virginia Genealogy (UVA)

National/Global Resources

1940 U.S. Census - find ancestor's enumeration district to browse images; not searchable by name
Genealogy Tips and Forms


US Census historical notes - release dates, info on 1890 census, American Indians in census, etc.

Address instead of a name? You'll need to identify the corresponding Enumeration District for that census year. This tips page for 1940 census can get you started.

Ethnic Heritage Research tips from the National Archives
Family Search video tutorials
Free search guides (includes guides for ethnic heritages and specific states).  Here are a few:
Video intro to Unknown No Longer

Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami

Historical Newspapers 

Chronicling America (newspapers) - see Topic List for ideas
Daily Dispatch (1860-1865) - archive at U of R
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) - requires school login off-campus

Oral History Archives

National Visionary Leadership Project - African American focus
Story Corps story archive
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Wendy DeGroat,
May 23, 2012, 7:13 AM
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