Virginia Genealogical Society

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August 4, 2022 By: Teresa Kelley
Virginia Will Indexes
A variety of 𝗩𝗶𝗿𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗮 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗲𝘅𝗲𝘀 and other published sources exist to help locate your Virginia ancestor's will and other probate documents. Craig Scott discusses these indexes and sources and provides tips and tricks for locating your Virginia ancestor on his YouTube channel, Just Genealogy. Watch the video at
Be sure to subscribe to Just Genealogy and watch Craig's 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗩𝗶𝗿𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗮 𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗼𝘀 such as Virginia Public Claims, Revolutionary War Bounty Land, 1787 Tax Lists for Virginia, Genealogy and County Formation in Virginia, and many more.
Craig has generously provided VGS members with a 15% discount on all online orders placed through Heritage Books Log into the VGS website and click on Member Discounts to get the discount code.
June 13, 2022 By: Teresa Kelley
Reading the Magazine....
Reading the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy – Cover to Cover
By Teresa Kelley
The Magazine of Virginia Genealogy is a quarterly publication of the Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS) and contains transcriptions/abstractions of original unpublished manuscript material and county or state records that are not easily accessible focusing on material created prior to 1850. It also includes articles that demonstrate the use of unusual records, correct previously published genealogies, document migration into or out of Virginia, or present families from burned record counties using a variety of records as well as Bible and tombstone records and references to Virginians in other states.
What’s inside?
I'm always excited to see what valuable Virginia research tips and record sources the latest issue of the Magazine has in store for me. What new record source will I learn about? Will I discover an ancestor in the abstracted records?
Over the years I’ve developed a process for reading the Magazine from cover to cover. I start with the table of contents then move to the inside back cover which often contains interesting tidbits that researchers have stumbled across in various records. For example, the family bible of Peter Taylor (deceased) and his wife Elizabeth was recorded in a Norfolk County minute book on 21 October 1843.[1] Or, Susan Sparks, age 47, labeled a lunatic and languishing in the Washington County jail in 1837.[2] Sometimes references to Virginia residents are found in records of other states such as the will of Hugh Scott of Wilkes County, North Carolina, who names “Archabold Oston of the State of Virgina [sic] in Buckingham County” in his 1787 will.[3]
Then, it’s on to the Editor’s notes about the issue where Barbara Vines Little, CG®, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS, provides words of wisdom for researchers and a brief synopsis of the articles in the issue. Sometimes she also includes information about related records as well as tips for locating and searching those records. If you don’t read this section, you will miss a tremendous amount of valuable information! If you haven’t made it a habit to read this section in the past, I highly recommend pulling your back issues off the shelf and doing so immediately.
Next, I read the introduction to the articles that provide abstracts or transcriptions of records – not just skim them looking for my ancestral surnames. If the records are for a county that you’re not interested in, read the introduction anyway! Those same records may also be available for counties you are interested in, and when you find those records you’ll know something about them. For example, what were the requirements for naturalization in Virginia?[4] Or, what did the law say about tithables?[5] Do you know who George Harrison Sanford King was and what’s in his card file?[6]
Publication History
VGS, formed 7 October 1960, published several occasional bulletins between June 1961 and January 1963 when it began serial publication of the Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly Bulletin issued in January, April, July and October. This title ran for seven volumes. Volume 8 (1970) was renamed the Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly. A magazine format was adopted in 1971 and ran through Volume XVIII, followed by three volumes issued as The Quarterly of the Virginia Genealogical Society. The title, Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, and publication sequence (February, May, August, November) were adopted in February 1984 with volume 22. Since that date, the magazine has attained a printed page count of approximately 320 pages per volume, not counting its index.
Where can I find copies of the Magazine?
All issues of the Magazine are available in PDF on the VGS website in the members’ only section. The individual PDFs are searchable. The table of contents pages for all issues are available to everyone as a searchable PDF located on the VGS website. Go to the About VGS tab and click on Publications.
Volumes 1-40 of the Magazine are available to search on Ancestry under the catalog listing Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly. 
Volumes 1-50 were previously available on CD (currently out of print) from the VGS Store. VGS expects to issue volumes 1-55 on a USB planned for release in the spring of 2023.
VGS has a very limited supply of printed back issues (volumes 51, 52, 54, 55, and 57-59).  Please contact to the determine availability and price of a particular issue. Heritage Books has a limited supply of printed back issues for volumes 21 through 40. VGS members receive a 15% discount on orders placed through the Heritage Books website using the VGS discount code. To obtain the discount code, log into the VGS website, click on Member Login, and then Member Benefits.
Many libraries subscribe to the Magazine. So, check with the county, state, and university libraries near you.
Information in this blog post is current as of 13 June 2022.
[1] Sharon Rae Gable, “Bible Records in a County Minute Books: The Taylors of Norfolk County,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 59 (February 2021): ibc1.
[2] Teresa Kelley, “Washington County Lunatic,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 41 (August 2003): ibc2.
[3] Marty Hiatt, “A Buckingham County Connection,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 53 (November 2015): ibc4.
[4] Joicey Haw Lindsay, “Henrico County, Virginia, Naturalizations 1844-1858,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 22 (May 1984): 12.
[5] Robert Clay Young, “Amelia County, Virginia Tithables, 1737,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 34 (Fall 1996): 345.
[6] Susan Chiarello, “George Harrison Sanford King’s Card File,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 45 (February 2007): 5.
September 16, 2018 By: Deborah Harvey
Learning to Research in Charlottesville
by Kathryn  Parker
Annually, the Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS) joins with a local society for a fall conference. On Friday and Saturday, 5 and 6 October of this year, VGS and the Central Virginia Genealogical Association (CVGA) are presenting their combined Fall Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. The conference includes guided research and consultations on Friday and lectures on Saturday.
Friday is free to the public at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library (hereafter referred to as the Small Library) on the University of Virginia (UVA) campus. Parking is limited on campus. All others can use the Central Grounds Parking Garage, 400 Emmet Street, behind the Small Library; the garage is convenient to Alderman Library. Accessible parking is available on McCormick Road in front of the Alderman Library. Note: This hourly parking garage does not accept credit cards. From 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., guided research through the Small Library will be offered. Library staff will be available to answer questions concerning the library's collections and their use. Simultaneously, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Byrd-Morris Room at the Small Library, experienced researchers will be available to answer questions, provide individual assistance to beginners, and offer strategies for difficult genealogical problems. Options for lunch are nearby in the Small Library.  Researchers may access the University of Virginia catalog at
On Saturday, registration begins at 9:00 a.m. at The Inn at Darden, University of Virginia, 100 Darden Boulevard. Coffee service will be available. The Darden is on the other side of campus from the libraries at the Friday conference location. University signs directing traffic are posted along the way. A parking garage is located next to The Darden. Parking for conference attendees is free on Saturday. Two tracks of lectures, Track 1, "Virginia Gems" by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, and Track 2, "German Settlers and Migration Routes," by Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg, Ph.D., and Ashley Abruzzo, CTA, will run from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Lunch at The Darden is a bountiful buffet, which is included with registration.
The following is a short biography of the speakers.
Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FCGS. Ms. Little is a professional genealogist whose primary interests are in Virginia research, brick wall problems, and complete genealogies. A member of the board of the Orange County Historical Society and a former president of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and VGS, she has served as coordinator and instructor for VIGR (Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research) Track II, 1996-2004, and for the Virginia track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University, 2007-2012.
Editor of the quarterly Magazine of Virginia Genealogy since 1996, she is the former editor of the bi-monthly Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter and MidAtlantic Germanic Society’s newsletter, Der Kurier. Winner of the NGS Quarterly Award of Excellence in 2001, she has written articles for several publications including the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the National Genealogical Society Newsletter, the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ newsletter, OnBoard, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. The current editor of the NGS’s Research in the States series, she is the author of the West Virginia volume and has published three volumes of Virginia court records and edited others for publication.
Ms. Little has lectured for the past twenty years at local, regional, state, and national conferences in thirty states on research methodology, Virginia, and West Virginia resources, and writing and publishing.
Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg, Ph.D., is professor of history, emerita, James Madison University. Her diverse research and writing interests include local history and genealogy. She is the author/editor of numerous books and articles on genealogy and has also served as president of the VGS.
Dr. Boyd-Bragg writes for Lot’s Wife Publishing, a local history publishing company based in Augusta, Virginia. She is part of the team that researches, writes, and publishes complete local history books.
She has written or edited the following publications:
  • 1902 voter registration, Rockingham County, Virginia
  • Conscience in the courtroom : history of the Mountain View Mennonite school system, Dayton, Virginia, 1968-2006, with E. Daniel Burkholder
  • Death notices from extant issues of the Rockingham register
  • Historical articles from Rockingham County
  • Marriage notices from extant issues of the “Rockingham Register,” Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1822-1870.
  • Nielson: Celebrating a Century of Excellence, The Legacy Continues (100th Anniversary 1908-2008)
  • Portals to Shenandoah Valley Folkways, with John L. Heatwole
  • Register of Free Blacks, Rockingham County, Virginia 1807-1859
  • Shenandoah Presbytery : a heritage of service
  • This heritage; the story of Lutheran beginnings in the lower Shenandoah Valley and of Grace Church, Winchester, by William Edward Eisenberg
Ashley Abruzzo, CTA (Certified Tourism Ambassador) is membership development manager at the Germanna Foundation in Locust Grove, Virginia, located between Fredericksburg and Culpeper. German settlers were brought to this area to establish Germanna Settlement. Two colonies were established by 1720. Ms. Abruzzo has experience working in many historic institutions, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and the C&O Canal National Historical Park. She has extensive experience working on genealogy, both personal and professional, building family trees, editing articles and interpretive panels for historic sites, and working with the public by leading tours and school programs.
Ms. Abruzzo is excited about what she does for several reasons. She has two academic degrees in history. She has traveled to the part of Germany from which Germanna colonists emigrated, and has researched genealogy extensively over the past ten years. Ashley Abruzzo is herself a Germanna descendant.
Be sure to get to the conference early to register.  Seating is limited for these knowledgeable speakers. Seats will fill up fast. The cost of the conference is $54 for VGS & CVGA members and $65 for non-members. Lunch will be provided on Saturday. Register online at and click "register on EventBrite." Cancellations will not be refunded. One-year VGS membership is $35 for individuals/$40 for families; one-year CVGA membership is $20 for individuals/$30 for each household membership. Vendors of books and other items of researchers’ interest will be available on Saturday. Door prizes coveted by genealogists will be awarded. For more information, connect to the Virginia Genealogical Society at
Speakers for this conference were provided by funds from the Richard Slatten Endowment for Virginia History of the Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia.
This conference promises to be highly informative and an event you won’t want to miss. Watch our website for interesting articles that will help researchers in their quest for their ancestors.