Search Them All, Search Them All, Search Them All…

Dewey B. Lillard compiled Land Grants of Madison County, 1722-1865 [Virginia] in 2000.  The book and its accompanying Map of Land Grants were, however, over 30 years in the making.  As he says in his Preface: 

When I first started I knew nothing about the families or name places scattered about the county, let alone the forgotten past of settlements spanning 275 years, more or less!  Of course, I began in the usual way:  searching for my family roots here in the county and looking for their lands, homes, and graves, and any other information about them.  Since both parents are from Madison County, and their lineages were long established in this area, I soon found out that nearly every family here since the early settlements were intermarried, and some families were related before they arrived!  

…I was not exposed to any grandparents on either side, and missed out on the stories and tales they could recant about past history.  I feel certain that this is the reason why I am so interested in history.

So began the search that has led me to today; root ties to nearly every Madison County settler and the fantastic interrelationships that it entails!  Only within the last 50 years has new blood come into this county at any rate to make a difference in the overall population.  It’s as if we are a county to ourselves, the locals call all newcomers “foreigners” and there may be some truth in that!  For the past 275 years the residents of this county married each other, simply a matter of travel and geography.

Some of the special features of this work reflect what is happening in genealogy and family history today.  And you and I can both benefit from these features–we just need to consider them before we search the data.

  1. Multiple Indexes.  There is a personal name index.  A General Index.  An Errata Index [misnomer–the entries are not errors and index value is high].  For example, Chain Carriers are listed separately from the personal name index.  CC are usually age 21 or younger, sometimes named on tax rolls, often just an increase in tithables by number on the list.  They also represent a substantial portion of the militia strength of the county.  An separate list of Importees is also included–those who came before the court and declared those they brought into Virginia for whom they claimed their bounty of 50 acres per person.  So watch for more than one index.
  2. Adjoining Counties.  The importance of adjoining counties is demonstrated in this volume:  especially those from which the county is formed and those created out of county territory.  MADISON county was created in 1793.  The chain is ESSEX (1692), SPOTSYLVANIA (1721), ORANGE (1734), CULPEPER (1749), MADISON (1793), GREENE ( 1838), and NEW RAPPANNOCK ( 1833).  As Lillard excerpts entries from  previously compiled land summaries in Cavaliers and Pioneers and Northern Neck Land Grants  and Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys,etc., he includes those persons whose claims ended up in Madison county.  He has done much of the leg work for you in searching the surrounding counties for ties to Madison County.  And he has made it easy to determine what happened to settlers in Culpeper or Spotsylvania who suddenly disappear from the records.  This kind of reference book summary is becoming quite common in genealogy–watch for it in the counties of your interest.
  3. Name and Migration Patterns.  Two names important to north-western South Carolina popped out to me from the Personal Name Index–Bobo and Buford (cross-referenced to Blewford, Blooford, Bluefourd, etc.).  A careful search of indexes in feeder-states like Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware will often reveal potential migration patterns for less common surnames and for unusual given names like Cyriacus/Seriacus and Seriah.
  4. Translations of Surnames.  Where translations of German surnames occur in the records, Lillard includes these variants in the index:  Carpenter and Zimmerman. Care and Kjarr.
  5. Name Changes.  Thomas Phillips now Roots, Henry Downs now Roots and son George Roots are three examples.  What is not included is the family tradition behind the name change. 

Virginia counties have suffered enough records loss, that the admonition Search Them All is a recommendation that you will want to consider for each Virginia ancestor.  And volumes and maps like those produced by Dewey Lillard will help you determine what kind of success you can expect to have.   Contact Lillard RR1 Box 82A, Madison VA 22727.  Your  favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Keep watch–I will share an example where the public records may not mention your ancestor at all, even though he resided in the same county for a good portion of his life.  How to Resolve this ancestor problem coming up.

PPS  We are getting ready to roll-out a new Home Page format which we think will be more user friendly and easier to navigate to find all the great stuff and the NEW original content on my website.  So pardon our dust as we make the changes.

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