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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)

DNA projects in the Commonwealth

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)


Over the past four centuries, Counties have come into existence, become extinct, and been formed from other counties. Because these boundaries change over time, it is useful to have the following list that shows how and when the counties were formed.

  • Accomack Original Shire formed in 1634
  • Albemarle formed from Goochland in 1744
  • Alleghany formed from Bath, Botetourt, Monroe, WV in 1822
  • Amelia formed from Prince George and Brunswick in 1735
  • Amherst formed from Albemarle in 1761
  • Appomattox from Buckingham, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Campbell in1845
  • Arlington County formed from Fairfax in 1847
  • Augusta formed from Orange in 1745
  • Bath formed from Augusta, Botetourt, Greenbrier, WV in 1791
  • Bedford formed from Lunenburg, Albemarle in 1754
  • Bland formed from Giles, Wythe, Tazewell in 1861
  • Botetourt formed from Augusta, Rockbridge in1770
  • Brunswick formed from Prince George, Surry, Isle Of Wight in 1732
  • Buchanan formed from Tazewell, Russell in 1858
  • Buckingham formed in 1761 from the southeastern portion of Albemarle County
  • Campbell formed from Bedford in 1782
  • Caroline formed from Essex, King and Queen, King William in 1728
  • Carroll formed from Grayson in 1842
  • Charles City County Original Shire established in 1634
  • Charlotte formed from Lunenburg in 1765
  • Chesterfield formed from Henrico in 1749
  • Clarke formed from Frederick in 1836
  • Craig formed from Botetourt, Giles, Roanoke, Monroe WV in 1851
  • Culpeper formed from Orange in 1749
  • Cumberland formed from Goochland in 1749
  • Dickenson formed from Russell, Wise, Buchanan in 1880
  • Dinwiddie formed from Prince George in 1752
  • Essex formed from Rappahannock (old) in 1692
  • Fairfax formed from Prince William in 1742
  • Fauquier formed from Prince William in 1759
  • Floyd formed from Montgomery in 1831
  • Fluvanna formed from Albemarle in 1777
  • Franklin formed from Bedford, Henry in 1786
  • Frederick formed from Orange in 1743
  • Giles formed from Montgomery, Tazewell, Monroe (WV) in 1806
  • Glouchester formed from York in 1651
  • Goochland formed from Henrico in 1728
  • Grayson formed from Wythe in 1793
  • Greene formed from Orange in 1838
  • Greensville formed from Brunswick in 1781
  • Halifax formed from Lunenburg in 1752
  • Hanover formed from New Kent in 1721
  • Henrico Original Shire established in 1634
  • Henry formed from Pittsylvania in 1777
  • Highland formed from Bath, Pendleton WV in 1847
  • Isle Of Wight Original Shire - Warronsquyoake - established in 1634
  • James City Original Shire established in 1634
  • King And Queen formed from New Kent in 1691
  • King George formed from Richmond in 1721
  • King William formed from King And Queen in 1702
  • Lancaster formed from Northumberland, York in 1651
  • Lee formed from Russell in 1793
  • Loudon formed from Fairfax in 1757
  • Louisa formed from Hanover in 1742
  • Lunenburg formed from Brunswick in 1746
  • Down To: (Madison) from Culpeper in 1793
  • Mathews formed from Glouchester in 1791
  • Mechlenburg formed from Lunenburg in 1765
  • Middlesex formed from Lancaster in 1673
  • Montgomery formed from Fincastle (extinct) in 1777
  • Nasemond formed from Upper Norfolk (extinct) in 1642
  • Nelson formed from Amherst in 1808
  • New Kent formed from York in 1654
  • Norfolk formed from Lower Norfolk (extinct) in 1642
  • Northampton formed from Accawsaok (extinct) in 1642
  • Northumberland formed from Indian district Chickacoan in 1648
  • Nottoway formed from Amelia in 1789
  • Orange formed from Spotsylvania in 1734
  • Page formed from Rockingham, Shenandoah in 1831
  • Patrick formed from Henry in 1791
  • Pittsylvania formed from Halifax in 1767
  • Powhatan formed from Cumberland in 1777
  • Prince Edward formed from Amelia in 1754
  • Prince George formed from Charles City in 1703
  • Prince William formed from Stafford, King George in 1731
  • Princess Anne formed from Lower Norfolk (extinct) in 1691
  • Pulaski formed from Montgomery, Wythe in 1839
  • Rappahannock formed from Culpeper in 1833
  • Richmond formed from Rappahanock (old) in 1692
  • Roanoke formed from Botetourt in 1838
  • Rockbridge formed from Augusta, Botetourt in 1778
  • Rockingham formed from Augusta in 1778
  • Russell formed from Washington in 1786
  • Scott formed from Lee, Russell, Washington in 1814
  • Sheandoah formed from Frederick which was originally named Dunmore in 1772
  • Smith formed from Washington, Wythe in 1832
  • Southhampton formed from Isle Of Wight in1749
  • Spotsylvania formed from Essex, King William, King And Queen in 1721
  • Stafford formed from Westmorland in 1664
  • Surry formed from James City in 1652
  • Sussex formed from Surry in 1754
  • Tazewell formed from Wythe, Russell in 1800
  • Warren fromed from Shenandoah, Frederick in1836
  • Washington formed from now extinct Fincastle in 1777
  • Westmorland formed from Northumberland in 1653
  • Wise formed from Lee, Scott, Russell in 1856
  • Wythe formed from Montgomery in 1790
  • York Original Shire named Charles River formed in 1634

Point Of Contact For This Page: Donald Colvin