Richmond County, Virginia Deed Book 15, 1779-1788. Craig M. Kilby. 2015.
From the Introduction:
People Move—Land Doesn’t
Land records are an often under-utilized group of records by genealogists. I suppose the reason is that people generally do not understand them, or think they are boring and could not possibly contain any useful information. But people have to live somewhere. And while people move, land is in a permanently fixed place. When one considers that deeds often serve in lieu of wills, and often recite generations of family history that cannot be found elsewhere, the importance of using and understanding land records becomes obvious.
Richmond County Deed Book 15 covers an interesting period of time in both Virginia and American history. It begins while the Revolutionary War is raging, and takes us through the period of the Confederation and into the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Those things by themselves do not mean much in terms of land ownership, but they mean a lot in terms of where people were living and the value of money.
The Northern Neck of Virginia was in a major stage of transition during this period. Once a bedrock of the Tidewater aristocracy, it was quickly ushered into a period of major out-migration and chronic stagnation. Still, the land did not move, and people still owned it and people still lived on it. This of course includes tenant farmers, slaves and free blacks. In addition to deeds and leases, this book also contains records of other types, such as apprenticeships, bonds, bills of sale, deeds of gift and tithable lists. There is a letter from Havannah informing the owners of the schooner Rappahannock that it had been salvaged and could be returned in good condition if they wanted to pay the cost. In another case, one young woman makes a public apology to another young woman for saying unkind things about her.
...There are five major components to this book:
First, a general index to grantors and grantees, to enable the reader to quickly find a specific deed if one of the parties is already known or suspected.
Second, the main body of the deed book itself. If mentioned in the deed, previous conveyances from other record books, either by deed or by will, have usually been noted and often annotated.
Third, a comprehensive index to names.
Fourth, an index of plantations, streams, places, warehouses, roads and waterways.
Last is a listing of names and residences of people during this period who were not living in Richmond County at all.