Name Lists for the Virginia Frontier

More than 4,273 pages of name lists (with some description and explanation of their significance and how to interpret them) await you. The past few days I have been researching the Southwestern portion of the Virginia frontier, in 6 volumes that are not new. They are classics of their time and their contents. Let me introduce these genealogy treasures:

  1. Kegley. F.B. Virginia Frontier: The Beginning of the Southwest, the Roanoke of Colonial Days, 1740-1783. Roanoke VA: Southwest Virginia Historical Society, 1938. Also available on microfilm, FHL #1421867.
  2. Kegley, Mary B., and F.B. Kegley. Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days, 1745-1800. Volume I–Montgomery County; Volume II: Pulaski County. Mary B. Kegley wrote volumes 3-5 (1995-1998), much of which covers later periods of time. They too are valuable.
  3. Summers, Lewis Preston. Annals of Southwestern Virginia, 1760-1800. 2 vols. Abingdon VA: Lewis Preston Summers, 1929.  Also available on microfilm, FHL  Vol I, #0547211; Vol 2, #0873832.
  4. ________. History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. Richmond VA: J.L. Hill Printing Co., 1903. Reprinted, 1968 and 1971. Also available on microfilm, FHL #0162046.

“…the thesis of this work is that the original records–whether military or civil, wills or deeds, surveys or grants–will reveal the history of the people, if we ‘let the records speak for themselves.'” Mary B. Kegley.

Ms Kegley goes on to say, “An Intensive and extensive search for records pertaining to the period and territory has been made, many original documents have been found, some of which are here reproduced. Many facts, somewhat at variance with impressions now held, have been discovered and are here set down. The locations of many places hitherto unknown have been determined by following the surveyors from the beginning, and are here plainly marked. The names of the men who came into the settlement and the entries they made have been unearthed and are here recorded. The civic and military movements of the people have been minutely followed and their courses here described. The participants in the border conflicts have been sought out and their service records are here preserved.”

While her comments were written to describe the Kegley work, they apply equally well to the work of Lewis Preston Summers upon which she draws.

I am compiling a Genealogy Resource Checklist for Southwestern Virginia based upon the numerous records and sources included in these volumes. Until I get that finished, I encourage you to search the name lists in these classics. For they include persons on their way to Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and down through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and into Missouri. Even people who end up in Michigan and Wisconsin.

These western Virginia counties appointed surveyors to locate and plat property received by warrant through cabin rights, tomahawk rights, meritorious service rights, military rights, importation rights, treasury rights, corn rights, and royal awards. For a long time, we just read about surveyors’ books. And drew upon the surveys reproduced in considerable detail in these volumes.

Here is a sample of some entries that interested me:

Jeremiah Doaty, 280 acres Cedar Branch of Reed Creek, November 13, 1768

Jeremiah Doaty, 110 New River, April 14, 1769

David Doaty, 24 acres, April 14, 1769

Source: William Preston Surveys for Loyal Company on New River, Preston Family of Virginia Papers, Library of Congress, noted as Memoranda of Surveys, Item #581. Printed in Kegley, Volume I, pp. 41-42.

Mary B. Kegley, true to her vision for Early Adventurers, includes records from archives and libraries not usually identified. How could I know that the Doaty entries were recorded in William Preston’s Papers?

Now, many of these valuable records, which may record the first instance of your ancestor’s appearance on the frontier, are also available on microfilm through the Family History Library and the Virginia Library. Some have even been extracted and indexed–Albemarle county by Chester R. Johnson and Buckingham County by Eric G. Grundset. Most of the originals are still found in the county courthouses or their archives.

Check the Family History Library Catalog online, Keyword search: Surveyors Books for both original and printed versions currently available. Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle.

PS Remember this strategy to begin a bibliography of specific records to search–check the FHL Catalog online for titles, authors, microfilm publications and their availability. Then check Google and World Cat databases for versions online and the format nearest your home.

PPS Genealogy Resource Checklist of Southwestern Virginia coming soon. Stay connected to this blog. If it is too long for the blog, I’ll circulate it as a FREE Report. Watch for my announcement soon.

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