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A Few Suggestions to Help Find Difficult Ancestors
If you are tracing a difficult lineage (which most people are), then you must exhaust all of the records. I mean all possible records of that era! Begin by reading every will and estate in the county where your ancestor resided, as well as the Minutes of the Court, Inferior Court Records, deeds and tax digests. When you visit a cemetery, do you write down all of the inscriptions? That work can be narrowed down by locating the old section and entering the names of friends and neighbors. When you are finished, you should have a better understanding of the ancestor and his extended family.
Next, learn the detailed history of the times from your research. Do this by following the trail of the officers who led your ancestors into battle, and find the muster rolls and pensions, noting who presented affidavits because those persons were friends of your ancestor and probably appeared on earlier and later records as well. This information helps to confirm that you have the correct John Smith, so to speak. Note the name of the officers who signed the land grant, and learn about their battles (because that is where your ancestor was also).
When you are finished, you should be able to tell the story of the exciting career of your ancestor and the importance of each battle. List of Traced Virginia Families on this website
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Everyday Life in Colonial Days
Before the Revolutionary War, people were not allowed to be outside after dark. It was the night watchman's job to make sure that no one broke this rule.
The colonists were required to attend church service or be punished. If a man stayed away from church for a month without a good excuse, he might be put in the stocks or into a wooden cage. No word could be spoken with im[Pg 128]punity against the church or the rulers. He who used his tongue too freely was placed in the pillory or stocks, or was fined, and in some extreme cases he lost his ears. Additionally, tithing was mandatory, and Virginians furnished his local glebe with pds. of tobacco (used as currency). The local parish houses were primitive, first constructed with logs and oiled paper used for windows. Since there was no stove inside, women often carried foot-stoves, which, by definition were small sheet-iron boxes containing a few hot coals. The sermons lasted two hours or more and upon the pulpit stood an hour-glass, which a deacon would reverse when the sands of the hour had fallen through. Pews were hard, and sleeping was considered a serious offense. The minister, or a watchful tithingman, held a long stick prod which reached into the pews to awake people.
Daniel Hooe is Enriched by his Timely Investment in the Orange and Alexandria Roadroad
On May 28, 1848, the O & A Railroad was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly to connect from Alexandria to Gordonsville and finally to the Virginia Central Railroad in Orange County. As soon as the stock was issued to charter the company, prominent politicians in the Arlington area invested their money. One, David F. Hooe, purchased Virginia State Stock, $29,,887.29 ($50 per share); 88 shares of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad ($15 per share), and a huge investment in the Stock Corporation of Alexandria, $20,000. The transactions were headed " District of Columbia, Washington County." The inventory of the Hooe estate was filed 1872 in Arlington, Virginia and may be viewed on this website. In 1854, it moved further southward from Charlesville to Lynchburg, with connections to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the South Side Railroad. Finally, it connected with the Manassas Gap Railroad to the Shenandoah Valley, which made this railroad just about perfect to help move troops and supplies during the War Between the States. However, in the beginning it was designed to cheaply ship produce and goods while transporting passengers from Washington to Lynchburg. During 1861, barricades were erected on Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, to protect this railroad from the Confederate cavalry. In 1861 when the Union Army attempted to gain control of Manassas Junction from Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, this maneuver led to the first Battle of Bull Run.
Questions Must be Answered
In Colonial Virginia landowners were in the necessary business of developing plantations as well as participating in civic affairs.
Court Minutes reflect tons of interesting details. As all males over 21 years of age were required to do road work, notes are found concerning land marks and names of adjoining neighbors. Tithing was also required (tobacco) and participation in road improvements throughout the parish. Parish registers may not always locate a birth or marriage; yet it contains minute details surrounding the church grounds. For example, one can read the details of land "processioning" and, along with county tax records, figure out the location of family plantations. The tax digests will provide such information as rivers, timbers, and acreage, and the names of adjoining neighbors. If you are able to travel there and walk the land, real time visualization finds unopened doors to the past. There are many things to see in the landscape. Not only old dilapidated churches, but sinking graves, sunken tombstones, but the cause of death. Communities suffered epidemics of yellow fever, whooping cough, measles, etc., all reflected on the tombstones. In other words, a keen observation of the landscape and its almost unnoticeable lifestyles spread before your eyes, prompts questions. And questions must be answered.
Arlington County Genealogy, Wills and Estates
Arlington County was originally part of Fairfax County . One of the original land grants was awarded to Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron . The name of Arlington comes from Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington whose name had been applied to a plantation along the Potomac River which was acquired (in 1802) by George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of First Lady Martha Washington. The estate was eventually passed down to Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of General Robert E. Lee became Arlington National Cemetery during the War Between the States when the U. S. Government confiscated the property of Robert E. Lee. The Commonwealth of Virginia passed the land to the United States Government with the Residence Act of 1790, approving a new capital city to be located on the Potomac River. The site was selected by President George Washington.
Arlington County Probate Records available to members of Virginia Pioneers
Indexes to Wills and Estates
Wills 1800 to 1954 : A-E | F-L | Lee-Rankin | Ross-Z
- Will Book 9, 1868 to 1878
Images of Wills and Estates, Book 9, 1858 to 1878
Bacon, Ebenezer | Baggott, John | Ball, Horatio | Bartlett, John | Birch, William | Blow, William D. | Boothe, William J. | Boston, Richard C. | Bowden, Alexander | Brooks, John | Buckingham, William
Carlin, Moseley | Callendar, Margaret | Cartwright, Rachael | Cavenove, Louis | Chapman, George | Close, James T. | Close, S. J. | Constable, Mary | Cook, Henry | Corkett, Virgil | Crocker, F. P. | Crocker, S. W. | Cross, R. Y. | Cross, Sarah W.
Daingerfield, Reverly Johnson | Daingerfield, Henry | Dorsey, H. Carter
Fawcett, Joseph | Febrey, Nicholas | Fineacy, James | Flann, orphans | Fowle, Eliza F. | Fowle, William H.
Gardner, Eliza | Green, Mary | Gregory, Charles | Griffith, Sally W. | Grigg, Joseph | Grimes, Frank E. | Grimes, Thomas E.
Hagan, John C. | Hamilton, Nannie | Harrison, Robert | Hart, Frederick William | Haus, J. M. | Herbert, Betsy | Herbert, Betsy and Kitty | Hilton, James | Hooe, Daniel F. | Hunter, Alexander
Jamieson, Maria | Janney, Phineas | Johnson, Charles F. M. | Johnson, John T.
Lackey, Lula | Leadbeater, Mary | Lewis, John A. | Lloyd, Frederick | Lloyd, John J. | Lloyd, Richard
Manderville, Mary | Massie, Mary | McEwen, Thomas | Millburn, Benedict | Milburn, orphans | Millburn, orphans | Mills, William | Moore, Julius
Pearce, Allan | Peverill, George | Phillips, James B. | Presstman, Stephen Wilson
Quisenberry, Edith | Quisenbury, William
Ramsay, Eliza | Reid, James H. | Richards, William B. | Rigg, Townly | Roberts, Edward | Rotchford, Philip | Russell, Moses
Sackey, Seila | Samour, John W. | Smith, Alfred A. | Smith, Hugh C. | Smith, Robert | Smoot, Charles C. | Smoot, George H. | Southern, Richard | Stone, Charles S. | Swann, Mary M.
Westman, Frank F. | Wheat, Robert W. | Whiting, Louisa | Whittesay, S. | Wibirt, Isaac | Willis, Michael | Wood, John | Wrenn, Philip