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Stewart's Index to Printed Genealogies (VA-NOTES)

One of the first large-scale index-guides prepared for Virginia biographical and family history researchers is Robert Armistead Stewart's Index to Printed Virginia Genealogies, first published in Richmond in 1930 and reprinted several times since.

Stewart completed a project that William G. Stanard and Rebecca Johnston of the Virginia Historical Society began of indexing genealogical references to Virginians and their families in the printed books and journals then available. The heart of the book is a surname index of nearly 6,000 entries keyed to specific citations to more than 800 printed titles covering a wide range of sources. Among the most useful sources are published family histories and genealogical records; printed parish registers and other primary source documents; biographical encyclopedias; historical journals such as the William and Mary Quarterly and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography; hundreds of volumes of county histories of Virginia and West Virginia (and a few local histories of Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee); the lineage books of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and genealogical columns and features from otherwise unindexed sources such as the Baltimore Sun, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the weekly Richmond Standard, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

It is wise to keep in mind when consulting the older printed sources that many of them contain no proper documentation for their evidence and assertions, and many of them have been superseded by more recent publications or should be used in conjunction with other or later works that may have benefitted from access to sources that were not available to the earlier compilers. Some of the older sources can in some cases no longer be verified from authentic records, so the careful researcher will exercise caution in the use of the material that they contain. Some of the older sources, though, are based to some extent on first-hand knowledge or on sources that are no longer available, so in some instances the older genealogical work that Stewart indexed are especially valuable.

An online series on Research in Virginia Documents. Prepared by Daphne Gentry, Publications and Education Services Division. Copyright by The Library of Virginia; this note may be reproduced in full if proper credit is given and no changes are made.