Add to your Autumn reading and study list for Virginia:
Jean Pickett Hall, “The Ten Thousand Name Petition,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 35 (Spring 1997) 101-07; (Summer 1997) 191-95. A series of petitions from Baptists in Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Buckingham, Caroline, Henry, Lunenberg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Prince William, and Sussex counties 1770-1772 requesting equal treatment under the Toleration Act, were pasted into a continuous roll for presentation to the House of Burgesses. Although proposed by the Baptists, the petitions were signed by persons of all faiths. See also William Henry Foote, Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical (Richmond VA: John Knox Press, 1966. Reprint, originally published 1850.) Foote describes attempts to rid the Virginia constitution of the rigid practice of Anglican (Church of England) legalities and make it reflect more tolerance.
Remember, only Church of England marriages were legal and recognized in Virginia until the new constitution went into effect in the 1780′s. See especially pp. 319-48 where Foote reproduces the various memorials to the House of Burgesses from the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptists seeking religious freedom and the right to perform their marriages according to their own format and doctrines.
Chatty biographies describe the person’s life and times, with the customs, traditions, and laws upon which those times were based. Then as you read, you can understand the life more fully and learn about the times that shaped the life experience. As a Genealogist you need more biographical details, not just the begats.
Have you encountered the Deed Data Pool?
Deeds are posted in a pool that can be imported into Deed Mapper and viewed or edited. They can also be used as an overlay on topographical maps showing exactly where they lie on the ground and in respect to each other. Check it out:
Deeds are listed for many counties of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky along with other states. Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Virginia is a research challenge because of considerable record-loss. Take advantage of the extensive evidence of relationships and origins available in non-traditional sources. If you don’t have Deed Mapper software yourself, visit your public library, nearest legal/law library, university library, or even your personal attorney.