Northumberland County, Virginia Registers of Free Blacks


This book covers the Northumberland County, Virginia, register of free blacks, 1803–1858. Northumberland County lies in the eastern section of the Northern Neck of Virginia, which is the peninsula of land bordered by the Potomac River on the north, the Chesapeake Bay on the east, and the Rappahannock River on the south. Originally, this region was part of Lord Fairfax’s Northern Neck Proprietary, which extended from today’s Northern Neck all the way to the Allegheny Mountains. At its height, the Northern Neck Proprietary included the following counties: Prince George, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Richmond, Lancaster, Stafford, Prince William, Culpeper, Fauquier, Warren and Frederick, and parts of Loudoun, Fairfax, Clarke and Shenandoah. The author had divided the book into two chapters.

Chapter One gives the reader the history of the free Negro, including statistics on the number of free Negroes in Northumberland County compared with other Virginia counties.

Chapter Two is the Northumberland County register itself. In 1793, Virginia’s General Assembly passed a law requiring all free blacks and mulattos to go to their local courthouse to have their presence in the county registered, and to be given a number. The County Clerk recorded all registrations in ledger books in his office.

This book is a transcription of the surviving lists for Northumberland County. Where available the author gives the reader the registration number, first and last name, color, age, stature, any identifying marks or scars, the dates of registration and certification, and whether the person was born free or emancipated. A bibliography and full-name plus subject index is included.


Karen E. Sutton, MA


1999, 8½x11, paper, index, 136 pp.

ISBN: 9780788411328