Published between 1938 and 1949, the original thirty-four paperback volumes of Virginia Colonial Abstracts brought together a wealth of data from the records of Tidewater Virginia–vital records of birth, marriage, and death; tax lists; court orders; militia lists; wills; and deeds. The result of extensive research in county courthouses, municipal and state archives, and private collections, most of the abstracts were based on the earliest records known to exist–in the case of Accomack County, for instance, the oldest continuous records of English-speaking America; in the case of King and Queen County, which suffered the loss of its records in 1864, a unique collection of eighteenth-century materials still in private hands.
As important as this work proved, however, it was not without certain flaws. Records of some counties were published in fragments and scattered among various volumes, while the inferior quality of the printing aggravated the problem even further. What is more, as each of the thirty-four volumes was separately indexed, searching for names was needlessly protracted.
To rectify these deficiencies, the contents of Virginia Colonial Abstracts have been rearranged, re-typed, and consolidated in three paperback volumes, each with its own master index. Thus resurrected, Virginia Colonial Abstracts is now the major genealogical resource it always promised to be.