Sunday, February 28, 2016

PW County Historic Records Released to the Public!

Several years ago, the Prince William County County Clerk's Office began the daunting task of digitizing historic papers in the courthouse archives, including (but not limited to) Deed Books, Will Books, and loose documents.   As part of the project, volunteers have been working diligently to index every single document scanned.

In October 2015, the County released the first set of Prince William County Clerk's Loose Papers via an online portal.  This first release of digitized copies of original documents has over 100,000 images covering a wide range of subjects, including slavery, criminal and civil cases, letters, notes, attachments, and prisoner lists.

In January 2016, PWCo Deeds prior to 1918 were added to the database.

I am very excited to announce that the website is now live and presently free to the public at the following URL:


NOTE:  For best results, the website should be accessed using Internet Explorer with the Silverlight add-on.

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The launch of this online archive is exciting news for historians and genealogist alike!

Literally within five minutes of searching the index of Loose Papers, I had the answer to one of my personal brick wall questions -- when did my great-grandmother Martha Lynn pass away?  All I knew was that it was somewhere between the birth of her son in 1891 and the death of her mother in 1900.  And suddenly, there was the answer among the online Loose Papers in a suit against the physician who attended her!

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I would like to thank the Prince William County Clerk's Office for launching this project and making these priceless resources available to the pubic.

But I am especially grateful to Ron Turner and all of the other volunteers who have been working (and continue to work!) so hard to create the master index!  (You folks totally rock!)

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting the link as I also found information on the death of my 2nd great grandmother!! Is this in beta as I could not find where to register & can not find it on the County Clerk's web site? How to cite the source appears to be a problem as I do not see the book number of the deed etc on many of the historic records.

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  2. Thank you for your comment! I delighted to here if another successful find. Congratulations! The site is currently in beta testing, which is why it is presently free to the public. In future, I believe the plan is to make it a paid subscription service.

    For the deed records, the deed book and the page number are part of the file name when you do the index search. The loose papers are not part of any particular book.

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    1. Guess I will spend a bit more time searching before the fee is imposed. My find was for Susan J (Susanna J) ___ Radcliffe Murphy who, I now know, died in 1851. Her daughter Susan Radcliffe married Alexander Cole son of Matthisa Cole and Elizabeth Lynn.

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  3. Michelle PendletonMarch 11, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    I cannot get this to work at all. Is there some sort of trick to it?

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    1. Several people have reported problems accessing the site. For the best results, use Internet Explorer as your browser and be certain that it has both Silverlight and Adobe (or another pdf reader) as add-ons.

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  4. Michelle PendletonMarch 28, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Thank you for your help, but I can't even get it to load on Internet Explorer at all. I normally use Firefox and I was able to get the Silverlight application to load just fine, but it won't load on IE. On Firefox browser I see everything, but any search I do comes up with NO results. So frustrating!

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