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How to Find Your Family in Surry County, Virginia

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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. It is important to join the Surry Mailing List and place your queries there and on the Surry Query Board. This is an excellent way to connect with others who are working on Surry projects. They can help you. You may find cousins. Reading the history notes for Surry County will help you figure out what records you want to find. And don't forget to ask for Lookups. All of these links are on the Main page.

Virginia Vital Records

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 want.

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.

For a more thorough explanation of how Virginia Birth, Marriage and Death records were created, and which ones may be available now, please read the excellent explanation at the Library of Virginia, Using Vital Statistics Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia (Research Notes Number 2).

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 Weynette Parks Haun, available at Waynette Parks Haun

For other published sources, see Anne Gwaltney's Surry County Bibliography and the List of References. For more helpful links, visit the Surry County Historical Society web site.

Sussex County was formed in 1753 from the part of Surry County that was south of the Blackwater River.

There are other sources of Surry information at this web site. Don't forget to explore them all before following links to other places. And remember the "Back" button on your browser.
Surry County Historical Society
Surry County VAGenWeb
Page updated 28 December 2013. © Eve S. Gregory