Nansemond County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages, Indexes to Probate Records, Tax DigestsPictured is the site of 404 Kingsale Road, Holland, (now Suffolk, Virginia) (left) and the site of 504 Kingsale Road, Holland, (now Suffolk, Virginia). In 1634, the King of England directed the formation of eight shires (or counties) in the colony of Virginia. One of these was Elizabeth City Shire, which included land area on both sides of Hampton Roads. New Norfolk County was formed in 1636 from Elizabeth City Shire. It included all the area in South Hampton Roads. In 1637, New Norfolk County was divided into Upper Norfolk County and Lower Norfolk County and Upper Norfolk County became Nansemond County in 1646. Now an extinct county, Nansemond is part of the City of Suffolk, where the records are now located.
Note: All of the probate records burned during the Civil War. Nansemond County is no longer in existence. The records were sent to Suffolk, Virginia.
Abstracts of Clerk's Fee Book 1770-1800(lawsuits, wills)
Miscellaneous Accounts in Feebooks
Digital Images of Old Wills Recovered, 1676 to 1824 (re-filed in Will Book 1909 to 1919)
Digital Images of Wills 1866-1872
Boundary Changes Gave some of Nansemond County to North CarolinaRichard Parker patented 314 acres of land in Surry County on Blackwater Creek in 1670 and 100 acres in Nansemond County at Hood's Neck in 1676. In 1681, the three sons of Richard, viz: Thomas, Richard, and Francis, were granted 1420 acres of land on the South branch of the Nansemond River at Parker's Creek left them by their father. Another, John Gordon received a land grant in 1701 for 330 acres on Orapeak Swamp in Upper Parish of Nansemond County. In 1728 the North Carolina boundary line was re-surveyed and a strip 15 miles deep was added to North Carolina. That made landfall in North Carolina, and Gates County is where the genealogist will discover the site of former homes of early colonists to Nansemond County.
Digital Images of Wills 1909 to 1919Testators:
The Town AnamnesisGenealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
Occasionally one can locate an old church record in the countryside. Very few of such records were microfilmed and placed in a library or archives somewhere, however, there is no need to give up the search. Local people residing in or near old farming towns collect some interesting stuff about the old folks. There is usually a "town historian" lurking in the shadows and most everyone seems to know the identity of that person. It is always worth a visit because these historians will remember you later and even send you information! Once, when I was in Holland, Virginia (Suffolk), I introduced myself to a distant relative who worked at the post office. He gave me tons of family information which I later included in the Holland book (now online at Georgia Pioneers). Several years later when I returned and was walking down the street, he yelled "There's Jeannette Austin!" Hearing my named called in the little town made me feel that this little town was also my home. And it is, because my ancestors acquired it through extensive land grants dating from about 1660.
The Destruction of Home and Hearth after the WarsGenealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
During the Revolutionary War tombstones in local cemeteries were vandalized. This is why it is virtually impossible to locate the graves of colonial days. In Virginia, St. John's Episcopal Church in the village of Chuckatuck was thoroughly vandalized after the war, and tombstones of Loyalists removed! The church has stood for some 375 years and served as one of three parish houses in old Nansemond County. Englishmen were required to attend church, pay tithing (in tobacco), work on roads, and perform other church services. Virginians were industrious sorts, more interested in their tobacco crops than community worship service. In fact, they spent more money on the out buildings and crops than they did the actual manor house. This could provide one reason for the vandalizing, plus the cruelties imposed by the British and dire economic effects during British occupation. Whatever the reason much is lost. But so much more worse than the war as being a reason to vandalize, are the hateful groups of protesters today who know nothing of the past and destroy the monumental records of former generations.
When County Records BurnA trip into the area was worth a sack of gold! Nansemond County records burned, leaving nothing until about 1863. There was a lot going on in that region during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 when the British were known to have burned records in Washington, D. C. The only records before 1863 are the Fee Books, which are tax records. There was a lot of ink bleed-through in these books, however, they are worth the effort. The entries contain some helpful data. Here is an example: " Henry Holland the elder" and Henry Holland the junior". That separates the families and the generations. I was able to clarify much of my genealogy in this county by studying the fee books, then comparing them with the vestry records of the local church. The original land grants of course provide vague information. However, a trip to the area was worth a sack of gold. Using these three resources (plus using the local roads and viewing the actual setting and how the old homes were situated, I could follow the vestry records and determine property lines. Finally, I made a list of each person's acreage and followed them down through the years. When certain tracts were listed under another person with the same surname, it was obvious that was the heir! John Holland, a son of Gabriel Holland, the immigrant to Jamestown received a number of land patents in old Nansemond County. Of course, there is no longer a county, as it is part of Suffolk, Virginia. Yet, the rather large town of Holland, Virginia continues to thrive with the Holland descendants. The land grants stretched from Chuckatuck, Virginia to the North Carolina line. After examining the tax records and comparing those entries with the records of the parish church, it was easy to trace the various properties. The old dirt roads still existed when I visited there (now a peanut capitol) and land boundaries were rather prominent. Actual seeing the land visualizing the remains of old family homes and structures played heavily in the identification process. The land which once flourished with tobacco crops, was depleted before the American Revolution. Today, the loamy fine sand is ideal for growing peanut crops. As the lucrative tobacco crops disappeared, families moved on in search of more fertile soil.
Digital Images of Fiduciary Settlements(Orphans) Book O, 1863 to 1865
Names of Orphans
Indexes to Probate Records
Miscellaneous Wills and Estates; Nansemond County Estates; Upper Parish Deeds
Traced genealogies and family histories of Nansemond County available to Members !