Posted By:Judith Troy
Subject:Re: Research in Amelia Co.
Post Date:February 18, 2010 at 18:24:21
Message URL:
Forum:Amelia County, VA Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:

The County Clerks office is very small. You need to have a good idea of what records you are looking for before you get there. The first time I visited, I focused on Wills and marriages. They have an index and can make you copies of any pages in the will book. (You are not allowed to make your own copies, a clerk has to do it for you. I don't remember how much it is per page, but it's around 25 cents a page - I spend a small fortune every time I go).

The Clerks office also has marriage records. They have an index and they have original documents on file. My great-grandmother's marriage license was on file from 1900 - they made me a copy - and the favor I did for someone else on this forum, I found handwritten statements from the groom and the brides father from even earlier.

I am African-American and I was interested in slave records. When I asked the clerk about Manumission records (slaves who were freed) they did not know anything about them. I learned later that everything is filed in the Deed Books. When a slave is freed, it was called a "Deed of Emancipation"...slaves were property, right??!!

So the next time I visited, I looked in the Deed books. The Deed books go back to the late 1700's through about the 1940's, I think. You need to have a name to look up. There are two indexes. One is for the Grantees and one is for the Grantors. You need to look for your family name in both indexes - different items come up.

My family name is Harrison. I looked at every listing for a Harrison and copied down the ones that I was sure were related to me. I looked up as many as I could, but I wasn't able to look for them all. I chose the ones that I thought would give me the most information. (There are other names, of course and I did get a chance to look up some of them also. Wingo is one of the names in my extended family.)

I found the Emancipation record, when my ancestor was given her freedom. The index specifically indicated that the grantee was "slave" and the subject of the transaction was "emancipation". The Grantor was my Harrison ancestor. At the time, she had two children and they were freed at the same time, so I got more information.

There was another listing that was for a bond. One of my ancestors was appointed Constable for Giles county and a bond had to be posted. Several other relatives are identified.

I don't want to bore you, I'm just trying to make the point that you should at least preview each record through the index because you never know what information you can find about your family. In one record, an Aunt is leaving stuff to her niece and she identifies both of her parents, names I needed to help fill in my family tree!!!

I did not have the opportunity to go to the Historical Society...poor timing. You should check the dates and times that they are open. It was a limited schedule and it closed earlier than I had thought. They may have additional information.

There are two books that my family purchased on one of our trips to Amelia. One lists people buried in the cemetaries in Amelia. I think the book is simply called "Cemetaries in Amelia County Virginia." There is also a History of Amelia County that was prepared by the historical society and is also a very good reference book for Amelia.

Hope this information is helpful and that you have a successful research trip.