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About the Index to Wills and Administrations

About the Database | Counties and Cities Indexed | Search Tips | Index to Wills and Administrations

About the Database

The Will Books and Order Books for 53 Virginia cities and counties have been examined by Library of Virginia staff members for administrations, inventories, wills, and other recorded documents relating to the estates of individuals. The database indexes those documents for the period generally to 1800. The entries for Cumberland, Hanover, Lee, Nottoway, Surry, and York Counties and the city of Richmond extend beyond 1800. Please note that the documents referenced in the database entries are not available online.

The database entries reflect the earlier work of Clayton Torrence (1884-1953), especially his Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632-1800: An Index of Wills Recorded in Local Courts of Virginia, first published in 1931. The database also supplements Torrence's Virginia Wills and Administrations by providing the location of the documents and by correcting errors where found.

There are also entries for wills not originally listed by Torrence. These documents are not located in county records, but rather are found in other sources and include wills from a number of Virginia counties for which official records no longer exist.

Each database record includes the name of the deceased, the county or city, the type of document, the date the document was recorded, and references to the source in which the recorded document can be found. For most records, the Library of Virginia's microfilm reel number for each document is also indicated. There is a separate record for each source.

Note on Chesterfield County: Entries contain references to the recorded probate record in the Will Books. If there are references to the Order Books, this is also indicated on the record. The actual references to the Order Books concerning probate not found in the Will Books are on separate records. 

Counties and Cities Indexed  

Accomack County (1663-1800) 
Albemarle County (1748-1800) 
Amelia County (1734-1800) 
Amherst County (1761-1800) 
Bath County (1791-1800) 
Bedford County (1754-1800) 
Botetourt County (1770-1800) 
Brunswick County (1732-1800) 
Campbell County (1782-1800) 
Caroline County (1742-1800) 
Charlotte County (1765-1800) 
Chesterfield County 
Culpeper County (1749-1800) 
Cumberland County (1749-1810) 
Elizabeth City County (1689-1800) 
Essex County (1692-1800) 
Fluvanna County (1777-1800) 
Franklin County (1786-1800) 
Fredericksburg (1789-1800) 
Goochland County (1728-1800) 
Grayson County (1796-1800) 
Greensville County (1781-1800) 
Halifax County (1753-1800) 
Hanover County (1724-1898) 
Henrico County (1662-1800) 
Henry County (1777-1800) 
Isle of Wight County (1628-1800) 
Lancaster County (1652-1800) 
Lee County (1794-1832) 
Madison County (1793-1800) 
Middlesex County (1673-1800) (forthcoming) 
Montgomery County (1773-1800) 
Norfolk City (1784-1800) 
Northampton County (1632-1800) 
Nottoway County (1789-1809) 
Orange County (1735-1800) 
Patrick County (1791-1800) 
Petersburg (1784-1800) 
Pittsylvania County (being indexed) 
Powhatan County (1777-1800) 
Prince Edward County (1754-1800) 
Prince George County (1713-1800) 
Prince William County (1734-1744) (1778-1800) 
Princess Anne County (1691-1800) 
Richmond City (1782-1810) 
Richmond County (1692-1800) 
Southampton County (1749-1800) 
Spotsylvania County (1722-1800) 
Surry County (1652-1850) 
Sussex County (1754-1800) 
Washington County (1770-1800) 
Wythe County (1790-1800) 
York County (1633-1811) 

Search Tips

Punctuation and capitalization are disregarded. Entries in this database are arranged in letter-by-letter alphabetical order. In addition to the regular searches, you may click on any highlighted element of a database record (such as a name) to initiate a search on that element. 

Each record in the Wills and Administrations database consists of:

Names  

Personal names in the database are in the form of last name followed by first name. A Browse search in the Name index retrieves records in an alphabetical listing by name, beginning with the word or words used in the search. Use the scroll buttons to move up and down through the list of names.

Example: A Browse search on the name "smith, aaron" retrieves an alphabetical listing beginning with the names:

A Basic (keyword) search retrieves only the records that contain the exact word or words specified in the search argument.

Also check first names represented by initials and abbreviated spellings. 

Dates

Each record indicates the date the will or other document was recorded. The date is searchable as a Basic (keyword) search using "Words Anywhere." 

Sources

Each record contains the source in which the recorded document can be found. All of the information in Sources is keyword searchable using "Words Anywhere."  

Example: Keyword searches:

Subject Headings

Subject headings are either the name of the city or county where the document was recorded (place in record) or the particular type of document (document in record) such as wills, inventories, or estate administration records.

Important Limitations  

At this time there is a display limit of 1,000 records. Any search which retrieves more than 1,000 records will display only the first 1,000. Some counties used as subject headings and all document types exceed this limit. It is, therefore, sometimes necessary to combine subjects (places and document types) with other words to narrow the search.

For more detailed help with searching, click on the "Help" link on the main search screen and scroll down to "Search Functions" and "Search Tips."