I overheard a conversation at the next computer at the library–comments on how complicated the Virginia State Archives website was and how difficult to find something useful.
WOW! I am not a tech by any stretch of the imagination. And I simply go to the Library of Virginia site map. Select the record category I need. Click on it. Read the introduction. And type the ancestor’s name or locality in the search screen. And click on search.
Let me share a few of my favorite sources on that website: Library of Virginia: http://www.lva.lib.va.us/
Address: 11th Street @ Capitol Square, Richmond, VA 23219-3491.
Catalog ~ 8700 new records since 1980
Bible Records ~ 4700 Bibles, full-text images
Virginia Colonial Records Project ~ 14,700 survey reports, with 500,000 entry Index by Personal name and Ship name
War of 1812 Pay and Muster Rolls ~ with Index of 40,000 vets
Wills, Administrations, Estates ~ Index to Documents to 1800, (50 counties and cities)
Maps ~ 900 maps and surveys for public improvements, 1816-1903
Newspapers ~ over 5,000 titles, with depository location
Gordon Aronhime Papers, record notations on cards for East Tennessee families
Rev War Records: Bounty warrants, state pensions, rejected claims, including Dunmore’s War, 1775
Virginia Military Dead Database, French & Indian Wars to Iraq
Legislative Petitions: 25,000 petitions 1776-1865
Religious Petitions: 423 petitions 1774-1802, with images
Land Office Records: Land Patents before 1779, Grants after 1779; Northern Neck Grants 1692-1862, Northern Neck Surveys, 1786-1874
WPA Life Histories: 1,350 including slave interviews
Other Online Resources I Use:
Virginia Genealogy http:// www.wp.com/genealogy/
Virginia Historical Society: http://www.vahistorical.org
Address: 428 North Boulevard, P.O. Box 7311, Richmond, VA 23221-0311
Card Index to Virginia Marriages and Obituaries from Virginia Newspapers
Genealogies and notes of researchers, family Bibles, charts, family papers, plantation records–detailed finding aids available
Stay tuned–there are many more which I will share with you. Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com
PS I will be teaching two advanced sessions on Virginia Research at the Family History Expo, South Town Expo Center, Salt Lake City UT–28-29 August 2009. Register at http://www.fhexpos.com
The site map is fine, but the site, overall, is still more complicated than it was before they did the redesign. If they want people to use the Site Map then they need to get rid of every other link on the front page and just put a big SITE MAP link in the middle of the page. That whole front page is just a BIG WALL OF TEXT as it is now (ie., a turn off). My biggest hassle is that I can no longer figure out how to browse names (to search for alternate spellings). I figured it out once, but it was one of things where I actually had to look on the help page (egads!). I’ve been on the internet since 1994 and if a site gives me trouble then I know many others will have trouble.