Library of Virginia worth a visit

The Library of Virginia in downtown Richmond is that state’s archives, with a rich collection of books, manuscripts and microfilm of records useful to genealogists and historians.

The library contains published books on Virginia counties, and there is a special collections room where you can see books in the closed stacks. There is an archives research room where you can view original manuscripts, including Chancery Court cases not yet online.

Check for the list of cases and the surnames included. If digitized, you can review the original material online. Also, check the website to find other manuscript materials of interest. They have other databases, including some Virginia newspapers.

The microfilm collection contains extant Virginia county records as well as state records. This material also is available on interlibrary loan via your local public library.

The archives contains various land and military records, and all sorts of resources useful to genealogists — indexes to many of which are in print — but seeing the original or the more complete record is important.

They also publish a series of pamphlets explaining various records; see Using the Collections on the website.

There is so much there that you should be prepared. Before you go, you can research in printed sources, including books as well as Virginia genealogy journals, here in Georgia (such as at the Smyrna, Marietta, Macon or Georgia Archives library collections). That way you can make the best use of your time in Richmond.

The Library of Virginia is located at 800 E. Broad St., Richmond, with parking underneath. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. There is a cafe in the building and other restaurants are nearby.

Virginia records

Virginia records are similar to those in Georgia and other Southern states with some exceptions. When researching an estate, be sure to use the order books, a term not used in Georgia. Many published Virginia probate records refer to wills, but include data from the order books — yet much is left out. Always check the original order books on microfilm, especially for a division of an estate.

Label flash drives

Your flash drive needs to be labeled in case you leave it behind at an archives or library, as many have done. Try using an address label, or saving a file on it with your contact information.