Monday, February 28, 2011

Will: William Davis

Prince William County Will Book H, pg. 250
7 Jan 1797; proved 5 Feb 1798

In the name of God amen I WILLIAM DAVIS of Prince William County & state of Virginia late of Charles in Maryland (having my proper reason and memory) do constitute this my last will and testament, disallowing all other wills & testaments by me heretofore made & First.

I recommend my soul to God who have it, and my body to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named.

I give unto my son JOSEPH five shillings and no more of my estate he having had a full share.

Item I give unto my son ISAAC five shillings and no more of my estate he having had a full share.

Item I give unto my grand son ROGER one heifer two years old.

Item I give unto my grand daughter ELIZABETH one heifer two years old.

Item my will and desire is that my son WILLIAM be sent to school three years at the expense of my estate.

Item my will is that the rest of my estate should be kept together until my son WILLIAM arrives to the age of twenty one years and then to be equally divided among my five youngest children namely ELIZABETH, ALLIN, SARAH, NANCY, and WILLIAM, and I do appoint my friend DAVID WILSON SCOTT & my son ALLIN my Executors of this my last will and testament.  Signed sealed and pronounced this 7th day of January Anno Domini one thousand and ninety seven.

WILLIAM [his mark] DAVIS   {seal}


At a court held for Prince William County the 5th Day of February 1798

The last will and testament of WILLIAM DAVIS deceased was presented to the court and being proved by the oaths of JOHN KINCHELOE, JOHN FERGUSON and JAMES FERGUSON ordered to be recorded. 

N.B. ALLEN DAVIS qualified as an Excr. The 6th Day of February 1798.



Cl Cur

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alexandria Gazette

When looking for newspaper articles about your ancestors, don't forget to check publications in neighboring cities.  The Alexandria Gazette, for instance, often published news and society snippits from Prince William county.  Searchable copies of the Alexandria Gazette from 1834-1974 can be found online at Chronicling America.

For example:

Alexandria Gazette - January 6, 1900 - PARALYZED.  Mrs. Thomas N. Conrad, wife of Professor Conrad, was paralyzed yesterday at her home at Neabsco Mills, Prince William County.  She was formally Miss Emma Ball, of King George county, and has a large circle of friends and relatives throughout the State.  The attack was severe, and the lady’s life is despaired of.

Alexandria Gazette – April 16, 1900 - FIRE IN PRINCE WILLIAM – The dwelling of Col. Thomas H. Leachman, of Folly Hall, Prince William county, was destroyed by fire early yesterday morning and very little of the contents of the dwelling were saved.  The houlse was an old Virginia mansion, well known in that section.  Miss Leachman, the daughter of Col. Leachman, is in Alexandria, a guest of Mrs. James E. Alexander, having come from home to attend the conference in Washington.  Col. Leachman is the father of the sheriff of Prince William county.  Mr. S. H. Lunt, of this city, has tendered Col. Leachman’s family a dwelling on his farm near Wellington, in Prince William county.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Death Index of Virginia, 1853-1896

The Library of Virginia's Death Records Indexing Project is an index of microfilmed versions of local registers as part of a long-term, state-wide project to provide better access to local death records.  Each index entry provides the name of the deceased, the date of death, information about slaves and slave owners if present, and the year and page number of the register where the death is recorded.

The online database is fully keyword searchable and currently contains over 46,000 entries.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Do you know about HeritageQuestIt's a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources — rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids.

The collection includes, among other things:

  • U.S. Federal Censuses featuring original images of every extant federal census in the United States, from 1790 through 1930, with name indexes for many decades. In total the collection covers more than 140 million names.
  • Revolutionary War records containing original images from pension and bounty land warrant application files help to identify more than 80,000 American Army, Navy, and Marine officers and enlisted men from the Revolutionary War era.
  • Freedman’s Bank Records, with more than 480,000 names of bank applicants, their dependents, and heirs from 1865–1874, offers valuable data that can provide important clues to tracing African American ancestors prior to and immediately after the Civil War.
  • LexisNexis U.S. Serial Set records the memorials, petitions, private relief actions made to the U.S. Congress back to 1789, with a total of more than 480,000 pages of information.

HeritageQuest is free through many libraries across the country.  Patrons of the Prince William County Library system can sign in using their library card number/barcode.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Website: Historical Marker Database

A little off the beaten path, the Historical Marker Database can sometimes provide information on a family and their location.  

Take the marker for the CHINN family, for instance, one of "Prince William County’s early African-American families."  The marker names several CHINNs as well as their association with the region.

Incidentally, the CHINN name pops up quite a bit in PWCo.  The Chinn Park Regional Library was named after Mary Jane Chinn, stating on their website that she "was born in 1827 and died in 1907. She is buried in the cemetery of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, still located on Telegraph Road in Woodbridge. Mary Jane and Tom Chinn were slaves who, after emancipation, purchased several hundred acres along what was formerly Davis Ford and Telegraph Roads in Woodbridge. They had eight sons."

The Chinn family is also associated with the Ben Lomond Historical Site, which will be one of the focal points of this year's 150th commemoration of the start of the Civil War.  Ben Lomond (also known as the PRINGLE house) was built in 1832 by Benjamin Tasker Chinn and Edmonia Carter Chinn and was used as a Confederate hospital during and after the Battle of First Manassas in July 1861.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  The First Battle of Manassas (or Bull Run, depending on what side you were on) took place on July 21, 1861 and was the first major land battle of the war.

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, formed by Prince William County and the City of Manassas, have scheduled a number of events throughout the year, especially in July.

For those researching their Civil War ancestors, I highly recommend the Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System.  This site is easy to use, free, and includes the ability to search a CW soldier or sailor by name, state, regiment, etc.  There is also a resource to search for prisoners of Andersonville and Fort McHenry.

To learn more about the Sesquicentennial events in 2011 in Prince William County, information can be found at,,, and

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will: Philip DAWE

Prince William County Will Book I, pg. 415
21 Dec 1808; proved 02 Jan 1809

I PHILIP DAWE of the Town of Dumfries do declare this to be my last will and testament.

1st my will and desire is that all my just debts be first paid.  2ndly I give and bequeath to my dear wife during her natural life as follows the house & lot on which I now reside including the corner house on Water Street & the ground attached to it the tract of land about a mile and a half from Dumfries called Cabbin Branch Farm & negroes CATY, FRANK, & ROBERT.  I further give unto my dear wife one hundred dollars cash.  3rdly I give unto my brother WILLIAM DAWE of London one hundred pounds to him and his heirs forever.  4th I give unto my son WILLIAM DAWE my shop & all my tools belonging to the watch & silver smiths business.  5th The residue of my estate both real and personal I desire may be divided into six equal parts by valuation and that four of my six children viz. BETSY JOHNSTON, NANCY DAWE, PHILIP DEVEREX DAWE & WILLIAM DAWE each receive to themselves & their heirs forever one sixth part of said division & that the other two sixth parts I give & bequeath to my two sons PHILIP DEVEREX DAWE & WILLIAM DAWE in trust for my daughters JANEY WILLIAMS & POLLY HEDGES during their lives & then to their children viz. the profits arising from the one sixth in trust for my daughter JANEY WILLIAMS to be applied to her use & the other sixth in the same manner to POLLY HEDGES in both cases as my trustees may think proper.  Lastly I constitute and appoint my two sons PHILIP DEVEREX DAWE & WILLIAM DAWE Executors of this my last will and testament.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 21st day of December eighteen hundred & eight.


Signed sealed and acknowledged in presence of

At a Court held for Prince William County January 2nd 1809

This last will and testament of PHILIP DAWE decd was presented in Court and being proved by the oaths of WILLIAM SMITH and THOMAS CHAPMAN is ordered to be recorded and the Executors therein named made oath to the same according to the law and having taken the oath of Exors. And performed what is usual in such cases certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Virginia Historical Society

If you're in Richmond, I highly recommend a visit to the Virginia Historical Society at 428 North Boulevard. 

In addition to special exhibits, the Society's collections "consist of a wide range of objects, including books and bound serials, Confederate imprints, sheet music, broadsides, newspapers, family and personal papers, business and organizational records, genealogical materials, maps, paintings, prints, postcards, weapons, militaria, glass plate negatives, and 19th - 21st century photographs."

You can search the catalog of the Society's collections by keyword(s) here.  Library materials can only be examined in the Society's reading room. An appointment or prior notification is not needed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Outdated Medical Terminology

How many of us have encountered a confusing "cause of death" in their research? 

What is apoplexy?  In modern terminology, it means "stroke."

Ever heard of jail fever?  Possibly not, but I'm betting you have heard of typhus.

Here's a resource that comes in handy when reading those terms and others in old obituaries and death certificates:  Outdated Medical Terminology.

While you're at it, why not check out the Surgeon General's Family Health History Initiative, a national public health campaign "to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

PWCo. Chancery Records Online

For online digital collections, I highly recommend the Library of Virginia.  If you can't get to Richmond, LVA's Virginia Memory site is the next best thing to being there.  Here you can find links to records and scanned images of Revolutionary War Bounty Warrents, Confederate pension rolls, and more.

One link that I never tire of visiting is the Chancery Records Index.

What is a chancery cause?  To quote the LVA FAQ, "a chancery case was one that could not be readily decided by existing written laws. A judge, not a jury, determines the outcome of the case. These types of court documents are useful when researching genealogical information and land or estate divisions and may contain correspondence, lists of heirs, or vital statistics, among other items. Cases in chancery often address estate and business disputes, debt, the resolution of land disputes, and divorce."

The Chancery records for Prince William County in the collection cover the years 1804 to 1954 with scanned images available online.  It is searchable by surname or date range.

Searching the index and viewing the images is free.

Will: Langhorne DADE

Prince William County Will Book K, pg. 126
24 May 1811; 4 Nov 1811

I LANGHORNE DADE hereby give and bequeath to my wife SARAH DADE and to her heirs forever all my right title and interest in and to all the property which I have conveyed to MAJOR GERARD ALEXANDER in trust for the payment and security of certain debts on the said deed mentioned.  I also give bequeath & devise unto her & her heirs all other estate of whatsoever description of which I am seised & possessed.  Witness my hand & seal this twenty fourth day of May in the year 1811.


Signed sealed published & declared in presence of


At a Court of Quarterly Sessions held for Prince William County November 4th 1811.

This last will and testament of LANGHORNE DADE decd. was presented to the Court and being proved by the oaths of G. HITH and WM. A. G. DADE is ordered to be recorded.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Surname: Calvert

One of the things I hope to do with this blog is spotlight surnames in PWCo with documents, transcripts, and links.  Some of the surnames will be ones I'm personally researching (like Cole and Lynn), while others will have no relation whatsoever. 

Today's surname is CALVERT.  Why?  Because I happened across a website devoted to the CALVERT family of Neabsco Creek.  It doesn't appear to have been updated recently but there may be some information there that will help folks researching the family.

Calvert Family Genealogy

Do you have a name in the county that you're especially interested in?  Comment and let me know!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Website: Find A Grave

There are a number of cemetery transcription resources online, including Ron Turner's PWCVirginia.  One of my absolute favorites is Find A Grave.  Made up of volunteers, this site has been around for a while and has steadily grown in to one of the best sites for finding the final resting place of family, friends, and 'famous' individuals.

Find A Grave memorials can contain rich content including photos, biographies and dates.  Visitors can request a photo of a headstone from a specific cemetery and can leave 'virtual flowers' on the memorials they visit.

Find A Grave's stated purpose is to serve as a graves registration website and memorialization/remembrance site.  Anyone can register to be a Find A Grave volunteer.

For Prince William County specific cemeteries on the site, follow the link:  Findagrave PWCo cemeteries.

ETA:  I should probably add that Find A Grave is a FREE website.  You do not need to be registered to search the site or view the memorials.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Website: PWCo Virginia by Ronald Ray Turner

Anyone who's done research in Prince William County over the past 10+ years will easily recognize the name Ron Turner. It almost seems as if half of the books on the PWCo shelf in RELIC were authored by him.  Ron was transcribing, annotating, and sharing census and vital records with the public long before the Internet genealogy boom.

Ron now makes most of his publications available on his website at PWCVirginia, but there's so much more to explore!  You'll find links to his work documenting and transcribing the county cemeteries as well as businesses, structures, and miscellaneous papers and news articles. 

If you're researching a PWCo family or surname, Ron Turner's website is a great place to start.