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Subject: Virginia Historical Index - what it is
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 10:05:32 EST


I think there is still some confusion as to what the Virginia Historical
Index is and how it can assist in your research. The VHI is not an index of wills.
Hopefully this post will make it more clear to everyone what it is.

Here is what it says in the catalogue of the Genealogical Publishing Company:

VIRGINIA HISTORICAL INDEX. Two Volumes
E. G. Swem

"This landmark work, first published by the Virginia Historical Society in
two volumes in 1934 and 1936, is an index to all information relating to
Virginia and Virginians in the eight most important serial publications devoted to
Virginia genealogy and local history: 'The Virginia Magazine of History and
Biography'; 'William and Mary Quarterly'; 'Tyler's Quarterly Historical and
Genealogical Magazine'; 'William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine';
'Virginia Historical Register and Literary Advertiser'; 'Lower Norfolk County
Virginia Antiquary'; 'Hening's Statutes at Large'; and 'Calendar of Virginia
State Papers'."

"Tens of thousands of family and individual names are listed, as well as
references to a wide range of subjects, such as Bible records, tithables, court
cases, and college rosters. The book is easy to use because all entries are
referenced in the same way: volume number, abbreviation of publication title, and
page number. Names of individuals are printed in full, with life dates and
profession and title, if known. Many cross-references to subjects are included,
making the index even more comprehensive."

This is what it says in the Preface of the Virginia Historical Index itself:

"THE VIRGINIA HISTORICAL INDEX is an analysis of the information that relates
to Virginia and Virginians in the following books: The Virginia Magazine of
History and Biography, volumes 1-38, 1893-1930; the William and Mary College
Quarterly Historical Magazine, first series, edited by Dr. L. G. Tyler, volumes
1-27, 1892-1919; the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine,
second series, volumes 1-10, 1921-1930; Tyler's Quarterly Historical and
Genealogical Magazine, volumes 1-10, 1919-1929; Virginia Historical Register and
Literary Advertiser, volumes 1-6, 1848-1853; the Lower Norfolk County Virginia
Antiquary, volumes 1-5, 1895-1906; Hening's Statutes at Large, being a
collection of all the laws of Virginia, 1619-1792, volumes 1-13; Calendar of Virginia
State Papers and other manuscripts preserved in the Capitol at Richmond,
1652-1869, volumes 1-11. This analysis has been accomplished by means of specific
index entries, arranged alphabetically, with a generous number of "See also"
references from the general to the specific subjects."

Here is the author's explanation of the coded references and how to use them:

Method of Citation

"EACH OF THE EIGHT WORKS INDEXED has an abbreviation of a single letter.
Thus, the Virginia Magazine of History is always referred to as V. The citation of
23V181 means, therefore, twenty-third volume of Virginia Magazine of History,
page one hundred and eighty-one. 4W(1)32 means the fourth volume of the
William and Mary Quarterly, first series, page thirty-two. 6R29 means the sixth
volume of the Virginia Historical Register, page twenty-nine."

Abbreviations

C==Calendar of Virginia State Papers
H==Hening's Statutes of Virginia
N==Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary
R==Virginia Historical Register
T==Tyler's Historical and Genealogical Quarterly
V==Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
W(1)==William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, first series
W(2)==William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, second series

Here are the entries which appear on the first page from the beginning of the
book up to the surname Abbott.

A., R., 1R23
A. B. C. tables, 12H579
A. Doria (ship) 13V88
A la Guerre, Guillaume, 13W(1)68
Aalet, Lieutenant, 9V148
Aaranne, ships from, 9C329
Aarau, Lord of, 24V2
Aaron, Abraham, 6V280
--, Catharine, 6W(1)221; 20W(1)144
--, F. B., 3W(1)53
--, Michael, 24W(1)45
--, Peter, 24W(1)45
--, William, 29V433
Aaron's creek, 6H252, 506
Aaron's quarter, 2V279
Aary, Elizabeth Shipplett, 28V264
--, George, 28V264
Abatements, 3H90, 130, 191, 234, 250; 4H324, 358; 5H138, 416, 478, 497, 498,
510; 6H170, 194, 206, 220, 226, 336; 8H101, 102; 9H409; 10H515; 12H350, 465,
544, 745; 13H461, 464
Abatis, 1C469
Abbadie, Jacques, Verite de religion (book), 15W(1)278
Abbay, Thomas, 6V217
Abberbury, Agnes, 2W(1)242
--, Anne, 2W(1)242; 4W(1)128
--, Sir Richard, 2W(1)242; 4W(1)128
--, family, arms of, 4W(1)128
See also Aberbury
Abberdeen, Eliza Cunningham, 10W(2)132
--, Henry, 10W(2)132
Abberlyn, Richard, 5V214
Abberville, Mecklenburg county, 3W(2)269
Abbes, Edward, 14V442; 23V281; 18V80
--, Sarah, 14V442; 18V80
--, Thomas, 18V80
Abbess (book) 5W(2)135
Abbet, James, 5C537
--, Joseph, 5C536
Abbett, James, 6C424
--, Samuel, 4V82
Abbeville district, S. C., 7W(2)57
Abbeville volunteer infantry, C. S. A., 20W(1)75
Abbey, Edwin A., 34V196
Abbington, Mr., 27V292
--, Laurence, 8T227, 229, 234, 235; 9T220, 221
--, Lydia Brooks, 8T227, 234; 9T220
--, Mary, 8T234
--, William, 8T234
--, family, 9T221
See also Abingdon, Abington
Abbitt, Francis, 31V153
--, Randol, 1V204
Abbot, Agnes, 25V205
--, Anne, 2N120
--, Elizabeth, 21W(1)146
--, Frederick, 1C185
--, George, 6C383; 2H158; 23V313
--, George, Archbishop of Canterbury, 4V344, 347; 7V272; 14V316
--, James, 6C384
--, Nathan, 21W(1)146
--, Samuel, 3V187; 11W(1)89
--, Thomas, 5W(1)248
Abbot's creek, N. C., 9T50; 1V14
Abbot's landing, 3H471
Abbots Leigh, Somerset, England, 23V159; 3W(1)221

Looking back at the Method of Citation above and the abbreviations used for
each of the books indexed I'm going to illustrate what each of the codes above
means in different types of entries. Notice that the book doesn't just index
names. It indexes places or titles of other books, military units, subjects as
seemingly insignificant as "A. B. C. tables" (obviously ones used by
Virginians - maybe in the school system?) or even places outside of Virginia (Abbot's
Creek, North Carolina; Abbots Leigh, Somerset, England) as well as places
within the state of Virginia: Abbot's Landing; Abberville, Mecklenburg County,
Virginia; Aaron's Creek).

Let's take those coded references which have a "C" in them for an example of
what the codes mean and where you will find the information. The "C" refers to
the Calendar of Virginia State Papers and other manuscripts preserved in the
Capitol at Richmond, 1652-1869, volumes 1-11.

On the first page of the index the following entries in the Calendar of
Virginia State Papers are indexed:

Aaranne, ships from, 9C329
Abatis, 1C469
Abbet, James, 5C537
Abbet, Joseph, 5C536
Abbett, James, 6C424
Abbot, Frederick, 1C185
Abbot, George, 6C383
Abbot, James, 6C384

9C329 means that in the ninth volume of the Calendar of Virginia State Papers
on page 329 you will find a reference to ships from Aaranne. 1C469 means that
in the first volume of the Virginia State Papers on page 469 you will find a
reference to Abatis. 5C537 means that in the fifth volume of the Virginia
State Papers on page 537 you will find a reference to James Abbet. 5C536 means
that in the fifth volume of the Virginia State Papers on page 536 you will find a
reference to Joseph Abbet. I would say that it is a safe bet that these two
are related because they share the same surname and they are only one page
apart in the Calendar of Virginia State Papers. 6C424 means that in the sixth
volume of the Virginia State Papers on page 424 you will find a reference to James
Abbett - maybe the same guy from volume 5? 1C185 means that in the first
volume of the Virginia State Papers on page 185 you will find a reference to
Frederick Abbot. 6C383 means that in the sixth volume of the Virginia State Papers
on page 383 you will find a reference to George Abbot. 6C384 means that in the
sixth volume of the Virginia State Papers on page 684 you will find a
reference to James Abbot. Wonder if this James Abbot might be the same as the James
Abbet and James Abbett from the fifth volume and a different page in the sixth
volume.

The Preface of the Virginia Historical Index gives a more detailed breakdown
of all of the volumes of the sources indexed. These are the corresponding
volumes and dates of the Calendar of Virginia State Papers:

Calendar of Virginia state papers and other manuscripts, 1652-1781. Arranged
and edited by William P. Palmer, M. D., under authority of the legislature of
Virginia. Volume I. Richmond. [4] (title page), lxxi (preface and
introduction), 613, 14 (index) pages. 1875. 27 cm.
Volume 2, April 1, 1781-December 31, 1781
Volume 3, January 1, 1782-December 31, 1784
Volume 4, January 1, 1785-July 2, 1789
Volume 5, July 2, 1789-August 11, 1792
Volume 6, August 11, 1792-December 31, 1793
Volume 7, January 1, 1794-May 16, 1795
Volume 8, May 16, 1795-December 31, 1798
Volume 9, January 1, 1799-December 31, 1807
Volume 10, January 1, 1808-December 31, 1835
Volume 11, January 1, 1836-April 15, 1869

From this list we see that volumes 5 and 6 were composed of Virginia State
Papers from July 2, 1789 to August 11, 1792 and from August 11, 1792 to December
31, 1793. James, Joseph, Frederick and George likely lived during those
years and seemed to have been important enough to warrant some mention in the
official papers of the state of Virginia. So if you have these people possibly in
your lines you might want to contact a library in Virginia or historical or
genealogical society and see if somebody has access to these particular volumes
and those specific pages of the volumes and see what it says about James,
Joseph, Frederick and George. Likewise the ninth volume of the Virginia State
Papers deals with the period from January 1, 1799 to December 31, 1807. On page
329 of that volume (which by the way consists of a total of 679 pages) is a
reference to "ships from Aaranne" - whatever that means. But if you had access to
that page and that volume of the Virginia State Papers you could find out.

So that's one example of the Virginia Historical Index and coded references
and how to use them.

So far, I've only found two of these sources online. They are:

H==Hening's Statutes of Virginia (only volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 are available
so far but it is a work in progress)
W(1)==William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, first series
(all volumes are available online)

So I'm going to do some research for everyone to show you what you will find
when you use the coded references and look at the information available.

Here are the entries above which can be found online in Hening's Statutes of
Virgina, Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4:

Abatements, 3H90, 130, 191, 234, 250; 4H324, 358
Abbot, George, 2H158
Abbot's landing, 3H471

Hening's Statutes of Virginia is a compilation of all of the laws of Virginia
from 1619 to 1792. More than likely abatement is some kind of legal term;
George Abbot is mentioned probably either as leaving a will, or is an heir or
sold land or something of that nature or maybe he committed a crime or was some
kind of public official (all of that was recorded in the laws); Abbot's landing
is obviously a place mentioned in the law somewhere. Maybe it was a landmark
to identify a land deed or when they built a bridge or something of that
nature.

I looked up "abatement" in the dictionary and found several definitions and
two which are most likely the ones used in reference to the laws of Virginia

abatement
6. In law, the entry of a stranger into a freehold after the death of the
last possessor, before the heir or the devisee.
7. In heraldry, a mark of dishonor in a coat of arms, by which its dignity is
debased for some stain on the character of the wearer.

I would probably go with definition #6 and guess that it has to do with wills
and estates. I'm going to look up all of the references mentioned and report
back to the list exactly what it says in Hening's about these subjects.

Here are the entries which can be found online in the William and Mary
College Quarterly Historical Magazine, first series, all volumes are available to
view online (1-27):

A la Guerre, Guillaume, 13W(1)68
Aaron, Catharine, 6W(1)221; 20W(1)144
Aaron, F. B., 3W(1)53
Aaron, Michael, 24W(1)45
Aaron, Peter, 24W(1)45
Abbadie, Jacques, Verite de religion (book), 15W(1)278
Abberbury, Agnes, 2W(1)242
Abberbury, Anne, 2W(1)242; 4W(1)128
Abberbury, Sir Richard, 2W(1)242; 4W(1)128
Abberbury, family, arms of, 4W(1)128
Abbeville volunteer infantry, C. S. A., 20W(1)75
Abbot, Elizabeth, 21W(1)146
Abbot, Nathan, 21W(1)146
Abbot, Samuel, 11W(1)89
Abbot, Thomas, 5W(1)248
Abbots Leigh, Somerset, England, 3W(1)221

Most of these are names so I'm guessing that alot of what is in the William
and Mary College Quarterly are biographical and historical articles. The
reference to the book is possibly a review of that book. A place in England is
mentioned in an article. Possibly it was an original home for a family discussed in
one of the biographical articles in the magazine.

Likewise, I'm going to research all of these entries and print word-for-word
what is in the William and Mary College Quarterly, first series so that
everyone can see what you will find there as well and how the coded references work
and what to do with them.

I'll post all of that in another message to the group. I'm sorry there is
still some confusion about the Virginia Historical Index and hopefully I will
explain it better by using examples so everyone can see what it means. I try to
think of it this way. Most books have an index in the back which pertains
usually only to that book. The Virginia Historical Index is almost the same thing.
It's like a huge index in the back of all of the books mentioned in that long
list above. But, like I said, hopefully if I give some examples from above
then maybe it will be clearer to everyone.

Again - sorry for any confusion I've cause by not explaining it more clearly.

Barry Jernigan





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