Category Archives: What’s New in the Archives

- Why We Fight: History’s Raw Materials Saved, Conserved, and Shared.


The Smith family Bible pages were in pieces in 2009 and in dire need of conservation.

The first blog entry I wrote back in 2009 was about the shredded first pages of an old family Bible that were part of a Rockingham County  Chancery Cause. The sense of wonder and excitement I felt when I opened the letter marked “Exhibit A” filled with those fragments and tucked away in the court papers was not an unusual experience. Hardly a week went by for me during my nearly six years here at the Library of Virginia when I didn’t feel that way at least once, twice, or three times.

Today I leave the Library of Virginia and, hopefully, leave our state’s historic records in a little better shape than when I first came through the door. Like the archivists who worked here before me and those who will come after me, we try to save the building blocks of history, organize and preserve them, and make sure that they are accessible not only to visiting scholars but also to the citizens of this state and those who live around this country with roots deep in the soil of the commonwealth’s history.

I once heard a career counselor say that a job is what you do and the things you are passionate about become hobbies. I have been fortunate enough to do for nearly six years what most people could never dream of – … read more »

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- Accomack and Fluvanna Chancery Now Available Online!

Plat, 1780, Fluvanna Co. Chancery Cause 1812-007 William I. Stone vs. William Galt &c

 

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that the Accomack County chancery causes, 1727-1805, and Fluvanna County chancery causes, 1779-1882, are now available on the Chancery Records Index.  The Accomack County material consists of chancery suits recovered from court records found in the attic of the clerk’s office in 1996. Additional chancery from Accomack County will be added at a later date. The Fluvanna County chancery causes were separated from court records housed at the Library of Virginia. Additional Fluvanna County chancery records are available at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

A number of the Accomack County chancery causes for this date range concern the division of slaves. An example is Accomack County chancery cause 1799-019. This suit includes a report of a division of slaves (image # 7) among the heirs of William Taylor.  Accomack County chancery cause 1783-013 (image # 13) contains a September 1777 letter that references British losses at the Battle of Brandywine.  Accomack County chancery cause 1801-005 is a freedom suit filed by a slave named Mary claiming freedom on the basis of her mother’s Native American ancestry. She argues that her mother, Mall Cook, was “one of the native aboriginal Indians of this country” (image #2).

Transcript for Report of division read more »

- More Augusta County Images Are Here!

Dull Family Tree, Augusta Chancery Cause 1879-042 Heirs of Jacob Dull vs. Admr. of Jacob Dull &c

The latest images from the Augusta County Chancery Causes are now available on the Chancery Records Index. With this addition, one hundred boxes of Augusta County chancery covering the time period from 1867 to 1879 can be viewed online.

Following are a few suits of interest found in this latest addition. Augusta County Chancery Cause 1876-058 includes a letter (image# 252-253) written by one of the plaintiffs when he was a soldier in the 25th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. In Augusta County Chancery Cause 1876-072 (image# 20), a liquor manufacturer sued the city of Staunton claiming the city had no right to tax its liquor. Augusta County Chancery Cause 1877-029 (image #11-15) involves a dispute between a group of former slaves and the executor of the estate of their former master. A genealogical chart of the Dull family can be found in Augusta County Chancery Cause 1879-042 (image#1765).

Transcript of John J. Rusmisel letter to George Rusmisel

Transcript of Staunton City Treasurer letter to L. Bumgardner & Co.

Transcript of Sampson Pelter’s will

These cases are representative of the over ten thousand found in the Augusta County Chancery Causes collection that document the  rich heritage of Augusta County and western Virginia.  This project is made possible by a partnership between the LVA’s Circuit Court Records Preservation Program and Augusta County Circuit … read more »

- What’s New in the Archives

Interested in what’s new in the archives at the Library of Virginia? You can find out in two reports compiled quarterly by LVA staffers: The Library of Virginia Quarterly Report of Archival Accessions (April-June 2011) and Primary Sources: Quarterly Report of Newly Processed Collections (April-June 2011).

The Report of Archival Accessions lists the creator, title, size, brief description, and accession number of the local, map, private, and state archival collections described and/or received during the time period. Some of the local and state records collections listed may be closed for processing; check with Archives Research Services regarding availability for research use.

Primary Sources lists the latest collections processed, microfilmed, or digitized by the Library. Like its companion publication, Report of Archival Accessions, Primary Sources gives the creator, title, size, and accession number for each collection processed during the previous quarter. It also contains links to published finding aids for each collection.

Current reports are located on the Library of Virginia’s Web site under the ”News and Events” section (linked above). Older reports are located under Library Collection Releases.… read more »

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- Additional Prince Edward County Chancery Causes Added to CRI!

One of the county's historical markers. Image from hmdb.org and used courtesy of Craig Swain.

Additional Prince Edward County chancery causes are now available on the Chancery Records Index. These additions span the years 1754 through 1883. Combined with the previously released images for Prince Edward County, the locality’s chancery causes have been digitized for the years 1754 through 1913.

Chancery cases are especially useful when researching local history, genealogical information, and land or estate divisions.  They are a valuable source of local, state, social, and legal history and serve as a primary source for understanding a locality’s history. Chancery causes often contain correspondence; property lists, including slaves; lists of heirs; and vital statistics, along with many other records.  Some of the more common types of chancery causes involve divisions of the estate of a person who died intestate (without a will); divorces; settlements of dissolved business partnerships; and resolutions of land disputes.

Here are a few of the cases you will find in the newly updated Prince Edward County chancery collection. To see more suits, go to the EAD guide and choose “Selected Suits of Interest” on the menu at the left.

 1755-001- Bridget Braithwaite by etc. v. Edward Braithwaite.  The wife sued for separate maintenance. Her husband abandoned her and was cohabiting with Joanna Sinclair, “a woman of ill fame and reputation” in the same parish and county. Bridget Braithwaite and her small children “are likely to … read more »

- “Multiple Exposure” and “Out of the Box” voted LVA’s top two blogs!

VCC_008027

Once the new blog “Multiple Exposure” came online we knew we were going to have to share the digital spotlight with our friends from Special Collections. We love it when we find interesting images in the archive we can share with you at “Out of the Box” but at “Multiple Exposure” interesting images are its stock-in-trade! See the weekly offering of family albums, postcards, mixed ephemera, bookplates, postcards, photographic prints, etc. Many of these images you will see nowhere else. Take a look today and consider registering for e-mail updates.

-Dale Dulaney, Local Records Archival Assistant… read more »

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- New Bedford County Database Available for Genealogists at LVA!

Apple Orchard Mountain, the highest point in Bedford County. Image courtesy Wikimedia.

There is a new database for researchers interested in Bedford County, Virginia. Filed as Accession 45528, the Donald E. Hill Collection: A genealogy database of over 80,000 families of Bedford County, is now available to researchers at The Library of Virginia. The database in RootsMagic4 is housed in the Manuscript Room and may be accessed by library patrons during regular hours of operation.

The long-time project of Mr. Hill, the database contains over 200,000 entries and includes birth, marriage, and death records when available, as well as a variety of relationships. The software allows searches by name and creates displays by pedigree, descendant lists, and/or immediate family group sheets. The user can shift between display formats and can pursue the ancestry by following red arrows indicating additional information.

It is also possible to create reports in numerous formats – Ahnentafel, Box Chart, Descendant list, Family Group Sheet, Individual summary, Narrative, Pedigree chart, Source list, and Wall Chart. These may be printed for a fee and some include an index.

We are excited to have this resource for Bedford County researchers. The compiler, Don Hill, is continuing to extract information from records and will periodically send updates to The Library of Virginia. They will be entered upon receipt and available to researchers.

We invite you to come by the library and try out this new database.… read more »

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- FIRST AUGUSTA COUNTY IMAGES ARE HERE!

The Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton. Image by Taber Andrew Bain/Courtesy Wikimedia. 

The first images from the Augusta County chancery scanning project have been posted to the Library’s Chancery Records Index (CRI).  This initial posting represents the first 35 scanned boxes and includes over 550 case files ranging from 1867-001 to 1874-039. The cases can be viewed by accessing the CRI, selecting “Augusta” from the drop down menu and entering “1867” and “1874” into the two “Year of Case” fields.

The scanning portion of this 2-year project began in February 2011 with grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

All scanned documents undergo a vigorous review process to ensure image quality and that proper file-naming conventions are followed. The Library’s Imaging Services Section, a part of the Local Records Services Branch,  completes a variety of quality control processes prior to the images being posted.

This will be the first of many announcements of Augusta images being posted to the CRI – we will continue to keep you informed as we add new content. In the meantime,  please post a message and let us know what you think so far!

-Carl Childs Local Records Director… read more »

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- Follow LVA on Twitter!

The Library of Virginia is now on Twitter, so there’s yet another way you can keep in touch with what’s happening at the library. We’ll use Twitter to post news about events, services, new resources, and everything else. Look for us to highlight some of our more interesting collections and resources. And, we will even answer your questions if you send us a Tweet. To follow us, simply visit our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/#!/LibraryofVA and click FOLLOW.  

-Bari Helms, Local Records Archivist… read more »

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- Library of Virginia Receives $155,071 NEH Grant to Scan Petersburg Chancery Records

The Library of Virginia has received a grant of $155,071 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the scanning of the City of Petersburg chancery records, a significant collection for researchers interested in the African American experience, women’s history, and southern labor and business history in the antebellum and post–Civil War periods. The Library of Virginia is one of only 33 institutions to receive a grant in the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources category and one of only two state archives awarded an NEH grant.

 The Petersburg chancery causes are comprised of case files from the City of Petersburg Court of Chancery, 1803 to 1912, and consist of 150 cubic feet and include bills of complaint, affidavits, wills, business records, correspondence, and photographs. Prior to 1860 Petersburg had the largest population of freedmen in the Mid-Atlantic states. The records offer social, demographic, and economic details that affected state, regional, and national politics; legal decisions; and institutions. The evolution of Petersburg’s economy from one based on tobacco to one centered on milling and manufacturing can be explored through the chancery records. The importance of Petersburg as a prosperous and diverse city—the state’s largest market town and center of economic activity—is seen in the chancery causes. As a commercial and industrial center as well as a transportation hub Petersburg attracted an unusually large number of … read more »