Virginia Burned Record Counties

 

Several Virginia counties, most of them in the eastern part of the state, have suffered tremendous loss of their early county/court records usually as the result of intense military activity that occurred during the Civil War, and others lost records in fires. At some point, almost everyone conducting genealogical or historical research will face the problem of finding information from a so-called "Burned Record County." Burned record counties might be grouped into three basic categories: “most records lost”, “many records lost”, and “some records lost” Included in the “most records lost” category are James City, New Kent, Buckingham, Nansemond, Dinwiddie (before 1782), Appomattox, Buchanan, King and Queen,  King William, Warwick, and Henrico (before 1677). “Many records lost” would include Hanover, Prince George, Elizabeth City, and Gloucester. “Some records lost” counties are Caroline, Charles City, Mathews, Prince William, Stafford, Rockingham, and Nottoway.   Those counties underlined represent counties where Yanceys are known to have resided at some point in the period 1700-1865.

 

Just because county records may heave been lost or destroyed one should not assume that all references to a family in a given county have somehow disappeared into a “black hole”. Though much may have been permanently lost, one can often still find references to a particular family on items such as the following:

 

 

Some researchers over the years have given the loss of Virginia County records as the reason that no Yancey records have been found documenting Yanceys living in America prior to 1704 back to 1642 when supposedly the Yancey/Nannney brothers came to America.  However the discussion above demonstrates how there are numerous records to supplement those lost.  Surely, if an immigrant family arrived in 1642 – SOME sort of record of any type would be found during the 60 years that followed . . .  BUT the absence of such records is a very strong evidence that the Yanceys were never here for most (or any?) of the 1600’s.  

 

Note that This animated county formation map is very useful in understanding county formation.  Note there are 22 “burned counties” of what are today 95 counties and 38 independent cities.  Here is a page you can refer to for further information about Virginia counties.

 

 


 

Buckingham County Records

County creation:   1758 - Buckingham County was created 14 September 1758 from Albemarle County. 

For additional details: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Buckingham_County,_Virginia

Records lost: County court records were destroyed by fire in 1869. Only one plat book survived the fire and some lost wills and deeds were rerecorded later.  Federal Census schedules for 1790 & 1800 were lost.

Record Availability: Birth (1853+), Marriage (1854+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1869+), Probate (1869+)

Yanceys who lived in this county:
Major Charles Yancey – was probably one of the most prominent men in the entire county in the early 1800’s.  

Examples of extant Yancey records:

 

Examples of lost Yancey records

Major Charles Yancey was one of the wealthiest citizens of Buckingham County. His probate record must surely have been upon Buckingham County records that were destroyed in the 1869 fire as well as other court records.

Other Resources:

            Google Search

 


 

Hanover County Records

County creation: 1720--Hanover County was created 2 November 1720 from New Kent County.

For additional details: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Hanover_County,_Virginia

Record Availability: Birth (1853+), Marriage (1863+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1783+), Probate (1785+)

Records lost: Many county court records were destroyed in 1865 in the Civil War.

Yanceys who lived in this county:

Charles Yancey II (often recorded with wife Mary Bartlett) lived in Hanover County and had numerous children by whom many Yanceys today descend.

Examples of extant Yancey records:

·         Church vestry records

·         Land records

·         Store Account records

           

Examples of lost Yancey records

One wonders if the probate records of the earliest Yanceys of America (Charles I & Charles II) may have been recorded on court records.  Though it seems quite possible various Yanceys of early Virginia were buried in Hanover county – we know of no marked grave sites.

Other Resources:

Google Search

 


 

Elizabeth City Records

County creation: 1634--Elizabeth City County was created in 1634 as an original shire or county. Elizabeth City was absorbed by Hampton in July 1952.
For additional details: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Hanover_County,_Virginia

Record Availability: Birth (1853+), Marriage (1865+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1634+), Probate (1634+)

 

Records lost: Confederate troops burned the courthouse during the Civil War. Also lost censuses include 1790 and 1800.
Yanceys who lived in this county:

            Archelaus Yancey Jr

            Nathan Yancey

Examples of extant Yancey records

            Probate Records of Archelaus and Nathan Yancey

Examples of lost Yancey records:

            One wonders if Yancey marriages were recorded on those county records lost.

Other Resources:
           
Google Search

 

 


 

CarolineCountyMDcourthouse.JPG

Caroline County Records

County creation: 1727--Caroline County was organized in 1728 on the basis of a legislative act of 1727. The county was formed from Essex, King and Queen, and King William Counties.

For additional details: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Caroline_County,_Virginia

Record availability:

Birth (1853+), Marriage (1787+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1836+), Probate (1814+)

Records lost: Many county records were destroyed during the Civil War

Yanceys who lived in this county:
Philemon Yancey Jr lived in Caroline County for a while in the early 1800’s
A Frances J Yancey (female?) died in Caroline County about 1816
Examples of extant Yancey records:

Census Records

One probate record (Frances Yancey)

Examples of lost Yancey records: It seems reasonable to think that Yanceys were probably recorded on probate and land records that were destroyed for this county.  

Other Resources:
           
Google Search

 


 

King William Court House

King William County Records

For additional details: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Caroline_County,_Virginia

County creation: 1700--King William County was created 5 December 1700 from King and Queen County.

Records lost: A fire in 1885 burned most of the county records

Record availability

Birth (1853+), Marriage (1853+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1885+), Probate (1885+)

Yanceys who lived in this county:
The earliest documented Yancey anywhere in the US is one Charles Yancey living in King William County Virginia in 1704.  It seems however shortly after this with subsequent county divisions few Yanceys ever lived within this county boundaries.

Examples of extant Yancey records:
            1704 Quit Rent Rolls

Examples of lost Yancey records:

There are no extant land/deed or other court records for the Charles Yancey of 1704 – how long he lived in this county is uncertain. Note hat the county was later divided up.

Other Resources:
           
Google Search

 


 

Courthouse Photo

Rockingham County Records

County creation: Rockingham County was created 20 October 1777 from Augusta County.
Records lost: Some wills and other records burned in 1864. 1790 and 1800 censuses were also lost.

Record availability:
Birth (1853+), Marriage (1778+), Death (1853+), Census (1810+), Land (1778+), Probate (1778+)

Yanceys who lived in this county:
Many of the desendants of William Layton Yancey lived in Rockingham County Virginia across many decades

Examples of extant Yancey records:

            Cemetery Records

            Bible Records

            Census Records

            Probate Records

Examples of lost Yancey records:

Other Resources:
           
Google Search