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The Commonwealth Of Virginia, USA

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The Commonwealth of Virginia was initially composed of only four shires. Each shire, and later each county was composed of one or more parishes because the Commonwealth was originally officially Anglican and tithes were collected via the central church of the parish. The original shires of the Commonwealth covered vast areas. Indeed, for a brief period of time Governor Spotswood's grant from King George III was actually for all lands from the Atlantic coast west to the Sierra Madres. Until Spotswood's famous Knights of The Golden Horseshoe went to survey his lands - it was believed that the Blue Ridge mountains were the other side of the Sierra Madres. Spotswood was under the impression that he would have issues with Spanish missionaries on his western boarder and King George III had intentionally worded the grant to irritate the Pope. A hundred cities and counties were divided from the original shires, as well as entire territories and states. In dealing with records from certain time periods, it can be confusing because a location for a birth for instance, might now be located in an entirely different modern jurisdiction. In most cases the parent jurisdiction retained the records - wills, deeds, court order books, etc - simply because they were all mixed together in the physical volume. The Commonwealth of Virginia is different from many other places, in that cities are independent from the counties in which they may be geographically contained. Towns can be incorporated separately, but are always part of the county in which they are physically located. In some cases, this means that a town which provides public utilities, such as sewer or water, may impose a local tax, in addition to the property taxes imposed by the county in which it is incorporated. Likewise, many towns have their own police force that is separate from the county. Certain highways in Virginia provide the wonderful possibility that you can actually receive a speeding citation from either a State Trooper, County Deputy, or town Policeman - or potentially all three simultaneously since the offence may have occurred in three separate jurisdictions concurrently and the citation provides a revenue stream for three separate layers of government. The local courthouse for a county will have the records for the county as a whole, as well as the towns within it. Cities have their own records at their courthouses. The only exceptions to this are situations where jurisdictions change over time. Towns with populations over 10,000 become cities, or - in some cases if the population declines - can revert back to towns or in one case, James City County - back to a county. On rare occasions, a city may annex portions of land from a surrounding county, thus changing lines of jurisdictions again to include citizens that may have lived for generations in the surrounding county. Additional confusion results from the counties which formed West Virginia and remained part of the United States when the rest of Virginia succeeded and joined the Confederacy during the unpleasant period of the Late War of Northern Aggression.

The documents associated with this project elaborate on the dates when a given jurisdiction was created and from what original jurisdiction it came from. People who lived during the period of time when these changes in jurisdiction occurred may have actually been born, raised and died in the same exact household, only the historic records can reasonably refer to three different counties for their birth, marriage, and death locations and be entirely accurate.

This project is a table of contents for all projects related to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please see the Related Projects for details.

Over To: (Official Web Site)

Native Americans in the Commonwealth

Over To: Virginia Tribes (Official Web Site)

Native American Tribes-VA

Civil War

Military Units



Light Artillery

Local Defense


  1. Down To: Mount Nebo Luthern Church)
  1. Down To: (Alexander Chapel)
  1. Down To: (Bethany Baptist Church)
  2. Down To: (Craigs Baptist Church)
  3. Down To: (Goshen Baptist Church)
  4. Down To: (Holiness Association)
  5. Down To: (Massaponax Baptist Church)
  6. Down To: (Mount Hermon Baptist Church)
  7. Down To: (Salem Baptist Church)
  8. Down To: (Seventh Day Adventist Screamersville Camp)
  9. Down To: (Shady Grove Methodist Church)
  10. Down To: (Wallers Baptist Church)
  11. Down To: (Wilderness Baptist Church)
  12. Down To: (Zion United Methodist Church)


  1. Down To: (Oak Hill Cemetery)
  1. Down To: Propect Hill Cemetery
  1. Down To: (Confederate Cemetery)




  1. Down To: (Arlington Station)

Point Of Contact For This Page: Donald Colvin