Genealogy at a Glance: Virginia Genealogy Research. Updated Edition


Author: McGinnis,Carol
Publication Date: 2020
Pages: 4 pp., folded


Virginia was the first as well as the largest of the original 13 colonies, and its inhabitants left an abundance of genealogical records. As anyone knows who has ever attempted Virginia research, the challenge is to reduce this body of records to manageable proportions, a feat skillfully handled here by Virginia expert Carol McGinnis, author of the highly respected book Virginia Genealogy: Sources & Resources.

Published in the now familiar laminated folder, and updated to provide the most current information on how to access resources, this guide is designed to cover the basic elements of Virginia research in just four pages, giving you as much useful information in the space allotted as you’ll ever need. It boils the subject down to its essence and allows you to grasp the basics of research at a glance, guiding you with confidence through this complex body of records to your ultimate goal of tracing your ancestry.

McGinnis starts with a description of the settlement of Tidewater Virginia and the movement west to the Blue Ridge Mountains and into the Valley of Virginia, and from there into surrounding counties and states from where tens of thousands of Americans trace their ancestry back to Virginia. Pinpointing the origins of the early settlers, she reveals a key fact–that many of the records of interest to genealogists are kept at the county level; and using this as an organizing principle, she discusses the background, the location, and the use of the most critical records: vital records, church records, cemetery records, land records, probate records, and military records.

Then, after an illuminating passage on census records, she gives us an overview of supplementary sources: Bible records and family histories, periodicals and indexes, record repositories and online resources. Along the way she seeds the text with research tips and references to key publications, providing overall the best four pages you’ll ever read on Virginia genealogy.

An older edition of this guide is available as an eBook at

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