Below is a selection of new digital collections recently added to Virginia Memory. Accessible through our digital asset management system, DigiTool, these collections are searchable by keywords, creator, and title. We also now have thumbnails, making these collections more browseable. We include born digital content, such as publications from state agencies, as well as photographic, art, manuscript, and print collections. We'd love to have your feedback on our new offerings and encourage you to come back often to see What's New!
In commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, librarians and archivists at the Library of Virginia make available digitally select items relevant to Virginia's and the nation's participation in "America's Second War for Independence." We've put together a combination of unique, rare, and fascinating items that highlight our wealth of resources, including maps, family letters, state government records, local militia and court records, prints and photographs, and newspapers.
Spanning nearly three decades, this collection includes candid images documenting the growth of an industrial city. This online collection is a small sample of the nearly 4000 negatives and photographs available for research at the Library of Virginia. The prints and photographs in this collection show union officers and proceedings, strikers in action, contract-signing ceremonies, parades and marching bands, racially segregated recreational activities, Labor Day festivities, earth-breaking ceremonies, and construction and completion of Hopewell's Union Hall. Negatives from Hercules Powder Company (ca. 1947--1957) make up the largest measure of this collection and include images of workplace accidents and safety efforts, staff photos, operations and machinery, social clubs, notable visitors, and special events.
The collection contains all Executive Order and Executive Directives from the Office of the Governor of Virginia, beginning with Mark Warner's administration.
This collection preserves the Web sites that document Virginia's 2010 Congressional elections (primary and general). All 11 members of Virginia's Congressional Delegation were up for election in 2010. Included are campaign Web sites for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, official sites for Virginia's Congressional delegation, the state Virginia Democratic and Republican Party Web sites, as well as Web sites for members of the Virginia General Assembly.
The records of the Board of Public Works are rich in the details of the development of Virginia's internal improvements during the nineteenth century. Few collections in other archival institutions are comparable. Over the years, researchers have used the records for many purposes. Maps, plans, and correspondence relating to canals have aided in the restoration of canal locks and other surviving canal features. Records relating to turnpikes and railroads assisted in resolving right-of-way questions. Field survey notes help identify changes in topography and aid in the location of archaeological sites. Surprising as it may seem, sketches made in the 1830s and 1850s of county boundaries are still consulted today.View images of drawings, maps, and plans online now!
An ongoing project to digitize the records found in the Lost Records Localities Database, this collection consists of copies of records from counties or incorporated cities that suffered significant record loss due to a variety of reasons. The collection is divided into subcollections related to the localties which suffered record loss. The "Source" of each item is listed, which tells the researcher the collection in which the original "lost" record was found. Record types include wills, deeds, marriage bonds, free negro registrations, and many others. Check back often for additions to the collection.
Governor Robert McDonnell's executive order on January 16, 2010, created the Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, which he charged with streamlining state government and making it more efficient. Previous Virginia governors have also explored government effectiveness and efficiency. In the late 1920s Governor Harry F. Byrd Sr. carried out changes that set the state's modern template for government. In 1990 Governor Gerald Baliles's Commission recommended ways to improve government operations, in 1994 George Allen's Blue Ribbon Strike Force investigated similar ground, and in 2002 former Governor L. Douglas Wilder's Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness outlined numerous suggestions for consolidation and improved efficiency to Governor Mark R. Warner.
The Carneal & Johnston digital collection consists of 215 images created from glass-plate negatives documenting some of the many designs created by the Richmond architectural firm, including interior and exterior views of various commercial buildings and private residences designed by the firm. William Leigh Carneal Jr. (1881-1958) and James Markam Ambler Johnston (1885-1974) began their firm about 1908 after spending a year working independently while sharing office space. The firm went on to become one of the most prolific and long-established architectural practices in the state and by 1950 had helped to mold the architectural environment of central Virginia, especially Richmond. Responsible for more than 1,300 buildings, Carneal and Johnston practiced in a wide range of project types, from the mundane to the monumental. Some of the most notable structures represented in the collection include First Virginia Regiment Armory (1913), the Richmond Dairy (1914), the Colonial Theater (1919-1920), the Virginia State Office Building (1922-1923), and various structures on the campuses of Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) and Virginia Military Institute. The collection, purchased at auction by the Library of Virginia Foundation in 2009, complements some of the Library's several Carneal & Johnston architectural drawings and plans related to state government buildings.
This project, initiated in cooperation with the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, is creating a digital archive of original sources of information about the Civil War in Virginia that still remain in private hands. Letters, diaries, and other material identified through this project will help put a human face on the period that transformed the United States. Citizens across the commonwealth will be invited to share their family treasures with the project so that their items will be available to future researchers. Images will be added to the project web site as they are scanned and described by Library of Virginia archivists.
A cohabitation register, or as it is properly titled, Register of Colored Persons…cohabiting together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, was the legal vehicle by which former slaves legitimized both their marriages and their children. The information about an individual person contained in a cohabitation register is literally priceless as it is often the first time that a former slave appeared officially in the public record and because of the extensive kinds of information that the register recorded. Though recorded at the local level, registers may not exist for every Virginia county. Images of certain cohabitation registers are available here, along with accompanying full-text searchable transcriptions (pdf) of each. The Library is pleased to make registers in our collection or those that we can borrow available for public use as soon as we are able to digitize and index them. Check back often for new additions. More information »
Cohabitation registers are among the most important genealogical resources for African-Americans attempting to connect their family lines back through the oftentimes murky past to their enslaved ancestors. The registers date from 1866 and provide a snapshot in time for the individuals recorded therein and a wealth of information that may otherwise be impossible, or at least very difficult, to uncover. The documents may offer clues for how to proceed with an individual's history that otherwise may have remained hidden even from the 1870 federal census takers four years later. Historians are also interested in the registers because of what the registers might say about a particular community of people at a time when great changes had come about as a result of the Civil War and the end of slavery.
A cohabitation register, or as it is properly titled, Register of Colored Persons…cohabiting together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, was the legal vehicle by which former slaves legitimized both their marriages and their children. The information about an individual person contained in a cohabitation register is literally priceless as it is often the first time that a former slave appeared officially in the public record and because of the extensive kinds of information that the register recorded.
Prior to the close of the Civil War, Virginia law provided no legal recognition for slave marriages. On 27 February 1866, the General Assembly enacted a law that entitled formerly enslaved people who had married during slavery to all of the rights and privileges as if they had been duly married by law and declared all of their children legitimate, whether born before or after the passage of this act. Additionally, the federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (commonly called the Freedmen's Bureau) directed the assistant superintendents of the states to order the county clerks to make a registry of such persons cohabiting. These registers were either deposited with the local clerks of court or were retained in the Freedmen's Bureau records, now found at the National Archives.
Beyond accomplishing the original goal of the cohabitation registration which was the formalizing of slave marriages, the kind of information recorded in the registers is invaluable today to genealogists and historians alike. The surviving Virginia cohabitation registers recorded the name of the husband, his age, place of birth, residence, occupation, last owner, last owner's city or county of residence, the name of the wife, her age, place of birth, residence, last owner, last owner's city or county of residence, name of children with the ages of each, and the date of commencement of cohabitation.
A second type of register is often grouped together with the cohabitation registers but provides solely for the legitimization of children whose parents are no longer living together. The official title of this document is Register of Children of Colored Persons…whose Parents had ceased to cohabit on 27th February 1866. These registers were maintained separately than those for still–married couples and far fewer of them are known to survive. The information recorded is nearly identical to that of the cohabitation registers with the exception of the notation whether the children's mother was at that time living or deceased.