Surry County, Virginia, was created from James City County in 1652. It is the parent county of Sussex County. Surry County’s extant tithable lists, running from 1668 to 1703, with a few years missing, constitute a span of population schedules unique for any colonial Virginia county. Long buried in court orders, deeds, and wills, they were rescued from oblivion by the esteemed Virginia genealogists Edgar MacDonald and the late Richard Slatten, who transcribed and published the various lists in a series of articles that first appeared in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. We have reprinted the installments in their original sequence and have added a comprehensive name index to the entire series–an index bordering on 20,000 entries.
The tithables (taxables) lists usually give the name of the assessor or compiler, his parish, date compiled, name of the individual taxpayers, and a numerical representation of the assessment. The continuity of the Surry lists over a 35-year span allows the researcher to make a study of new arrivals, migrations, or deaths of colonial Surry countians. A number of the installments (chapters) begin with an erudite explanation of factors operating during the years under investigation, such as changes in tax laws, unique historical incidents (e.g. Bacon’s Rebellion), annexations of other parishes, and more.
In addition to co-authoring this book, Dr. Slatten, who was an authority on colonial Virginia land records, also wrote an article for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in September 1987 entitled, “Interpreting Headrights in Colonial-Virginia Patents: Uses and Abuses.” Since this cautionary tale is must reading for anyone who hopes to build a case for an immigrant ancestor from a headright list, we have added it to the beginning of our Surry County reprint as a bonus feature.