Are You a Genealogist Peering in on Your Virginia Ancestors: Why Can’t I Find Her?

Why Stay Stuck? New indexes, newly discovered sources, new research strategies can be at your fingertips. Certainly as close as your computer screen–register to receive each and every Genealogy News Sheet. Click on “subscribe to blog” in menu at right. Frequently, this FREE News Sheet will highlight new Virginia resources for your genealogy.

Or, as close as your bookshelf–just reach up and open my Virginia Scrapbooks. Return to Home Page, click on “Catalog” in menu on left. Arrow down to Arlene Eakle’s Virginia Research Scrapbooks. Each and every volume is crammed with the aids I use myself. These aids produce my 96% success rate. When you do as I suggest, you can have a 96% success rate too.

96% successwhat does that mean? Is it possible that not every ancestor can be found? Be proven? Be linked into your pedigree lineage? What it means to you (and to me)–proof may not appear in the first set of records we check. We may need time to locate the right set of records. Or, we must await a new index to a massive set of records impossible to search without an index. So for a time, we both have ancestors not linked yet. Then, voila! New index, new search, and there she is–exactly where you suspected she would be.

New Virginia Genealogy Research Aids:
__new State-Wide Index to Virginia marriages: 1853-1940 available at Bull Run Regional Library, 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas VA 20109. 703-792-4540. They also have a state-wide birth index, 1853-96. These two indexes are compiled from state registration.

__For a partial and growing list of available online death records and indexes, including funeral homes and newspapers, check this website often–

Virginia Migration Patterns and Ethnic Groups:
settlers clustered together in separate settlements and usually did not intermarry with the Scots-Irish–

1. Norfolk County, on the Eastern branch of Elizabeth River, 1680. (See D. Mac Dougall, Scots and Scots’ Descendants in America, New York: Caledonian Publishing Company, 1917. On microfilm, FHL #1035900 it. 9).
2. The Carolina Company of Scots, formed 1682 to plant a Scottish Colony in Stuarts Town, South Carolina (south of Beaufort), did not succeed. A20 bundle of 25 documents in the Bute Archives, Dumfries House includes a list of Proposed Undertakers–men who pledged specific sums of money to support the enterprise. Several of these Scots later supported migrations into NJ, NC, and the Alexandria area in Virginia. (See Linda G. Fryer, “Documents Relating to the Formation of the Carolina Company of Scotland, 1682,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 99 (Apr 1998) 110-34.
3. By 1625, some 30,000 Scots families had located in Poland from whence they migrated into Lithuania. The Scots carried on an active trade as pedlars throughout central and eastern Europe. The German word for pedlar was schotte and in Lithuania they were called szatas. (See Mac Dougal cited above, p. 18.)
4. Scottish families and their retainers and servants in Virginia are identified in Virginia Historical Society, (Richmond) Mss I, P 4686–Lee Family Papers and Peyton Family Papers. And in Virginia Library, Manuscripts Division (Richmond) Acc 13 Ms 19894-19921, 22174–William Allason Papers, John Hook Papers. (See Alan L. Karras, Sojourners in the Sun: Scottish Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740-1800. (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1992).

5. The Buchanans of Glasgow, Greenock, and London had almost a monopoly on the tobacco trade between the American colonies and Scotland before the American Revolution. Their enterprises included the West Indies, New York City, Snow Hill Maryland, and several towns in Virginia. (See Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author, describes this powerful Scottish family and documents their American interests. See also William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 40 (Jan 1983) for the genealogy of this family and its kinship networks in Virginia–Dumfries, Albemarle, Petersburg, Richmond. One of their large Scottish estates was named Mount Vernon.

Polish settlers to Virginia are often ignored in descriptions of the population which made up Colonial Virginia. The settlement of Jamestown, 1607-1619, included “Polonians” and “Polackers” who were skilled in making pitch, tarr, and soapash. The Sandusky family of VA and KY and after whom, Fort Sandusky OH was named, originated in Galicia, then part of the ancient Kingdom of Poland. The Polish name was Zamoyski. (See Arthur L. Waldo, True Heroes of Jamestown. Miami FL: American Institute of Polish Culture, 1977. Waldo included lists of Englishmen who settled in Poland in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s and lists of Poles who settled in England. From here they emigrated to Virginia and other parts of North America. (See also, Miecislaus Haiman, Polish Pioneers of Virginia and Kentucky, with “Notes on the Genealogy of the Sadowski Family” by A. Clay Sandusky. Chicago: Polish Roman Catholic Union, 1937.)

Your Sockson, Cock, Knapp, Dawson, Clavering, or Selbie family could be Polish or English-Polish in origins. Check these references out for their genealogies and lists of documented names–especially if you are having difficulty finding origins in England for your Virginia families.

By 2001, out of 104 original Virginia settlers, only 5 had proven and documented origins in England, and 1 family–the Lees–had a corrected lineage.

Remember that I am preparing 2 new volumes of Virginia Research Scrapbooks–Vol. 10, little-known and little-used Virginia jurisdictions and their records, and Vol. 11 Virginia genealogy collections and their whereabouts.  If you are interested, let me know and I’ll put you on the pre-publication list–at a substantial discount.

Thank you for your warm responses to this Genealogy News Sheet--I am so excited with your responses.  Beginning in November, I will share some of your comments each episode.   So let me know where your interests lie and I will be sure to include items that you need for your research.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene

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