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The Library of Virginia's Collections

Please note: The Library of Virginia's Collections cannot be fully detailed due to it's enormity and therefore any questions about materials not listed please contact the library directly. The Library of Virginia also participates in the Inter Library Loan program giving it's patrons access to the collections of other Virginia libraries.

  1. Does the library have copies of old city directories?
  2. Does the library have copies of old newspapers?
  3. How can I find a copy of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (or other historic documents)?
  4. Can I get a copy of a map of my county in 1870?
  5. How can I get information about a Virginia place name?
  6. How do I start tracing my Virginia ancestors?
  7. Do you have county abstracts and histories?
  8. What are your Census microfilm holdings?
  9. Can you send me a copy of my grandmother’s birth certificate?
  10. Do you have an index to all the obituaries across the state? Is there an index to the 1850 newspapers in my locality?
  11. Do you have bible records of Virginia families?
  12. Can I get a copy of my ancestor’s will?

1Does the library have copies of old city directories?

The Library of Virginia owns copies of many historical and current Virginia city directories. These can be found by performing a subject search in the Online Catalog using the term City name, Va. – Directories (for example, Richmond, Va. – Directories).

2Does the library have copies of old newspapers?

Read about Newspapers on the Library of Virginia Web site. To find our holdings, search the Online Catalog or the Archives & Manuscripts.

3How can I find a copy of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (or other historic documents)?

Links to facsimiles and transcriptions of many historic Virginia documents can be found on the Library of Virginia Web site: Historic Virginia Documents.

4Can I get a copy of a map of my county in 1870?

Read Using the Map Collection in the Archives at the Library of Virginia.

5How can I get information about a Virginia place name?

See Researching Virginia Place Names for a list of the best available sources of information on Virginia place names.

6How do I start tracing my Virginia ancestors?

See Genealogy – How to Begin.

7Do you have county abstracts and histories?

The Library of Virginia maintains a collection of published materials about Virginia localities, including histories and abstracts of county records. Please check our online catalog by performing a subject search using the terms County Name, Va.—history or County Name, Va.—genealogy. For example a subject search, Augusta County Va.—Genealogy, will produce the records for a variety of genealogical abstracts about Augusta County.

8What are your Census microfilm holdings?

See Library of Virginia - Census Records for our holdings of U.S. Census records.

9Can you send me a copy of my grandmother’s birth certificate?

The staff of the Library of Virginia does not search or copy the Vital Statistics records; however, some of these records can circulate through Interlibrary Loan. For a listing of vital statistics records available on microfilm, visit the Library of Virginia’s web page, Vital Statistics Records on Microfilm.
For those records unavailable at our library, you may contact the Virginia Office of Vital Records.

10Do you have an index to all the obituaries across the state? Is there an index to the 1850 newspapers in my locality?

There is not a statewide index to newspaper obituaries. There are numerous printed indexes to newspaper articles including obituaries from different Virginia localities. A bibliography of these can be found on a guide to newspaper indexes available at the Library of Virginia, Selected Indexing of Virginia Newspapers (pdf). This bibliography is arranged by county and city and includes links to online resources for additional newspaper indexing.
There may not be a published newspaper or extant issues for the locality and time period of interest to you. To check the Library of Virginia’s newspaper holdings visit the Web page Virginia Newspapers or check the Online Catalog.

11Do you have bible records of Virginia families?

The Library of Virginia Archives maintains a collection of bible records. In the Library of Virginia’s online catalog, one can search for family bible records. Digitized images of these bible records can be downloaded. There is also a printed two-volume resource: A Guide to Bible Records in the Library of Virginia, Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1999.

12Can I get a copy of my ancestor’s will?

With the exception of localities that suffered record losses, the Library of Virginia generally has wills on microfilm from the time period of a county’s or city’s inception to the Civil War era or to the late 1800s. To see if the Library of Virginia has wills for the locality and the time period of your ancestor’s death check the Web page Guide to Virginia Local Court Records on Microfilm. With this information it is possible to have your local library to request the microfilm on interlibrary loan. For wills prior to 1800, there is also a searchable database, Index to wills and Administrations. Also you may order from the Archival Research Services Branch a photocopy of the will.