This website is intended to share with others my research on families and individuals, not all of them in my own family tree. Most of the "Family Files" on the left include several detailed research papers, complete with footnoted references, for families of the southern colonies and states. Altogether there are nearly 2,000 printed pages on the site, including several downloadable e-books.
The purpose of this site is to make information available to others. I have been helped enormously over the years by many gracious researchers who shared their information with me, so it only seems fair to do the same myself. Feel free to use whatever you find for your personal genealogy efforts. However, please do not publish anything you find here without permission. Please see About This Website for more information. And see About Bob for more about me.
Interpreting Colonial Records: Legal and Other Helpful Hints
(For Genealogists Researching Virginia and the Southern Colonies)
Some Basic Topics
- Introduction: Common Law, Equity, & Statutes - a brief summary of the law of our ancestors
- Legal Age - the age at which persons could legally perform various actions
- Orphans & Guardians - the responsibilities and selection of guardians
- Women's Rights - how to tell if a woman was single or married by the legal actions she performed.
- Colonial Legal Terminology - some terms found in old records, many of which differ from their modern meanings.
- A Short History of Deeds - methods of land transfer used in the Colonies.
Wills, Probate, Succession, and Inheritance
- Wills, Intestates & Probate
- Succession & Primogeniture - Laws of succession and inheritance
- Entail - A common practice in the southern colonies often ignored by family researchers.
- Adoption & Inheritance - Inheritance by orphans and illegitimate children
- Understanding Headrights - More than you really wanted to know
- An Analysis of Surry County Headrights 1673-1692 - Including lag time between importation and patents
- An Analysis of Lower Norfolk County Headrights 1637-1652
Taxes & Tithables
Names & Naming Practices
- Comments on the use of Senior and Junior
- Naming Patterns of Children - in the 17th and 18th century southern colonies
- The Rise of Middle Names - how and when your ancestors acquired middle names