Looking for your family in Surry County, Virginia?
First you may need to determine that the individuals for
whom you are searching actually lived in Surry County,
Virginia. (There is also a Surry County in North Carolina.)
Here are some publications and links that can be helpful.
Virginia land patent abstracts, with seven volumes
published so far, begin with Nell Marion Nugent, Cavaliers
and Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants
1623-1666, Vol. 1 (Baltimore, 1969) and continue through
Volume Eight: 1779-1782, ed. Dennis Ray Hudgins
(Richmond, 2005). A serchable Database for Virginia Land Patents and Grants is now
on line at the Library of Virginia. From the Database, you
can go to an image of the patent book page and read the
Clayton Torrence, Virginia Wills and Administrations
1632-1800 (Baltimore, 1972) lists names and counties
where their wills or administrations were found. This list is
now on line at the Library of Virginia! Index to Wills and Administrations at
Heads of Families at the First Census of the United
States Taken in the Year 1790 Records of the State
Enumerations: 1782 to 1785 Virginia (Baltimore, 1986)
Augusta B. Fothergill and John Mark Naugle, Virginia
Tax Payers 1782-87 Other Than Those Published by the United
States Census Bureau (Baltimore, 1986)
Steve & Bunny Binns's WONDERFUL web
site with digital images of Virginia County and City
Tax Lists for 1790, 1799 and 1800 has returned to the web!
Scroll down and click on your County or City of interest.
Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Index to the 1810 Census of
Virginia (Baltimore, 1980)
Because Virginia's history stretches back 400 years, under
different governments and through several wars, the records you
seek may no longer exist. Many still do, however, so you need
to understand the different types of records that are still
available and which ones can give you the information you
During the Colonial period vital records were kept at the
Anglican Parishes in Parish Registers. Some of these still
exist, but many do not. For Surry and Sussex Counties, there is
the Albemarle Parish Register. As other Protestant
denominations arose, they kept their own records of baptisms,
marriages, and burials. There was no state law requiring the
government to keep vital records until 1853. Many records were
lost during the Civil War.
Surry County's court records begin in 1652. Before that
time, the area was part of James City County. If your family
was in the Surry area before 1652, you need to search for them
in James City County records.
Surry County's court records are well preserved. Microfilm
copies of the originals are available at the Library of
Virginia. They can be borrowed by interlibrary loan
through your local library.
If you don't feel confident
trying to read early hand written records, there are excellent
published transcriptions of the records from 1652 through 1718
and 1741 through 1753 by Waynette Parks Haun.