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Virginia Genealogy

Some records for Virginia genealogy will go back to the 1800s but the official state collection of vital registrations starts in mid-1912 for births and deaths. You can typically get marriage records back to 1853.

Virginia Vital Records

The privacy restrictions in Virginia can be a problem when you are looking to get copies of birth, death and marriage records (aka vital records). Birth registrations have to be 100 years old before they are open to the public, though death and marriage records will become public in only 50 years.

During these times, the only people who can request any records are children, parents, spouses, siblings and grandparents. Other relations are not permitted.

If you are in that group, you can make a request by paying the search fee and submitting the completed forms. The state Department of Health's website has the forms for you to download and print, and they will list all the current requirements in case something has recently changed. Currently, the fee is $12 to get a copy of any vital record. You can pay in cash if you are going directly to their office in Richmond but should pay with a check or money order if sending by mail. Have it made out to the State Health Department.

Along with the form and the fee, you need to supply a copy of your own photo ID, your contact information (name, address, phone) as well as necessary proof to establish your relationship to the person on the record.

At their counter you will get your papers back right away. Mailed in applications will take up to a month to get your files. If they can't find the records you want, you'll get a notice to that effect (but no refund).

Library of Virginia

For all vital records that have passed into public domain, as well as a large collection of other Virginia genealogy material, you can visit the State Archives at the Library of Virginia.

You can find newspaper archives, military records, city directories, county government records, tax records, old maps and architectural plans, published biographies, local genealogy books, and a lot more. Their facility is in Richmond, and they are open 6 days a week (closed on Sundays) for typical business hours.

Virginia Genealogy Groups

To do more in-depth research, you can often get access to unique reference material through genealogy groups. The Virginian Genealogy Society and the Virginia Historical Society are the two main state-wide groups.

Beyond them, there are smaller groups for just about every county in Virginia if you need to focus more closely on a particular region.

Not all groups are going to be free to join, but even just getting in touch with them can lead you to new places to search for records. Joining usually means you will get access to private references as well as regular newsletters or even journals regarding new research into Virginia genealogy.

State Resources Sites 

  • A Guide to Virginia Genealogy  Look ups, societies, publications available from societies and individuals, lost female ancestors queries, and related links for genealogy research in Virginia. 

Census Records

Death Records and Obituaries


  • Jamestown Passenger List   List of the first passengers to the Jamestown settlement.
  • Jamestown Rediscovery   Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project is investigating the remains of 1607 Jamestown on the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities' property on Jamestown Island, Virginia.
  • The Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia    was incorporated December 2, 1794. The organizational meeting was held in December of 1795 and policies began to be written in March 1796. The complete collection of policies of the Society from 1796 to 1867 (over 30,000) are now in the possession of the Virginia State Library. These policies are available to researchers on twenty-three reels of microfilm, Accession number 30177. The Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission created a paper index for these policies. In 1993, the Center for Historic Preservation at Mary Washington College, completed computerizing this index
  • New River Notes   Collection of documents pertaining to Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes County, North Carolina; Grayson, Carroll, Smyth, Wythe, Washington, and other parts of Southwest Virginia 




Other Virginia Genealogy Resources


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