King William County, Virginia Records, 1702-1806: Record Books 1-5 including surviving fragments


King William County, Virginia Records, 1702-1806: Record Books 1-5 including surviving fragments.

Beverly R. Conolly. 2006.  

On the morning of 17 January 1885 a devastating fire swept through the clerk’s office in King William County, Virginia. When it was through, that county joined the ranks of “Virginia’s Burned Counties” and a treasure of genealogical information was lost to researchers. The earliest five Record Books, which cover the period of the county’s formation to the beginning of the nineteenth century, exist only in a fragmentary state, with huge gaps within the series. But they still provide a rich source of genealogical information. These were primarily deed books, filled with family references and relinquishments of dower, and an occasional odd marriage contract or prenuptial agreement. Occasionally, reference give information aside from the dry forms of protocol. Such was the case with William C. Pemberton, who signed over his property in 1805 in a deed of trust to Samuel and James Edwards because...

"being sensible of the great propensity which he has to gambling and being sensible also that by indulging this propensity he may involve himself, his wife and children in inextricable difficulties, if not total ruin, two tracts of land, one of 230 acres and the other of 275 acres together with household furniture, horses, stock, etc." (Record Book 3, pg. 310.)

The current compilation contains over seven thousand references to individuals in this burned county. It should become a valuable reference for researchers in eighteenth century Tidewater Virginia genealogy. Oftentimes, land purchases were made by individuals outside King William itself, and there are numerous references to relatives from Kentucky, North Carolina, and purchasers in the new nation’s capital transferring title in this county. Anyone with early landowning colonial family in the region will welcome this study.