Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Do any of your family roots extend back to the Northern Neck area of the Old Dominion State? If they do, you may be interested in several new books concerning that region.

     One of the most recently published is LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA, MARRIAGES AFTER 1850: VOLUME II, 1881-1900 by Patricia B. Duncan and Elizabeth R. Frain. In order to make the material as comprehensive as possible, the compilers transcribed the marriage information from the Library of Virginia microfilm. Then they compared the data to the actual license and return (whenever possible) and to the marriage books in the Loudoun County Courthouse. By collating the information from the three sources, they discovered details not included on the microfilm and included them in this volume.

     Although licenses were supposed to be obtained in the county of the bride’s residence, the marriage could be conducted anywhere in the state. Interestingly, one license issued in Loudoun County shows that the ceremony actually took place in Maryland.

     Arranged alphabetically by the groom’s surname, a typical entry furnishes the names of the couple and the marriage officiant, date and place of marriage, race, previous marital status, place of birth and residence, occupation, date of license and return (if returned), and names of persons giving consent. Some recurring surnames are CROSEN, DONALDSON, EVERHART, ELLMORE, FLETCHER, GASKINS, GRAYSON, GREGG, HUTCHISON, LOWE, MCDANIEL, NEWMAN, RUSS, SCIPIO, TAVENNER, VALENTINE, VENEY, and WASHINGTON.

     Besides including details omitted from the microfilm records often used by researchers, the volume covers marriages occurring between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. Since some people may have been born and married within that twenty-year span, LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA, MARRIAGES AFTER 1850: VOLUME II, 1881-1900 may provide information that completes gaps in many family trees.

     The book has 292 pages, an introduction, an explanation of the order of the material and the abbreviations used, and a full-name index of the brides and other persons mentioned in the documents. It is priced at $28.00.

     Many of the individuals who married in Loudoun County in the late nineteenth century may have descended from families who lived in the area for centuries. If they resided there for several generations, you may find them involved in cases found in Patricia B. Duncan’s book, LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA, CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS, 1801-1853.

     As the author explains in her introduction, a criminal indictment is a written statement charging an individual with committing a crime or other offense. Drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and presented by a grand jury, it is a formal accusation that initiates a criminal case. Usually, it is required for felonies and other serious crimes.

     This volume is a full transcription of the Loudoun County criminal indictment book for the years 1801-1843. Entries generally furnish the date of the proceeding; details of the offense; names of the accused (and of the slave owner, if the accused is a slave), victim, justices, attorney, witnesses, and security; and the court’s ruling. A few recurring surnames are ADAMS, BALL, BINNS, BROOKES/BROOKS, CARR, COLEMAN, ELLZEY, GREGG, HOUGH, LEWIS, LUCKETT, MCCARTY, POWELL, SELDEN/SELDON, SMALLWOOD, and TAYLOR.

     Many family researchers refuse to look through criminal records because they fear they may discover an ancestor who was a defendant. However, they should realize their forebear may have been the plaintiff or a witness and his or her case may supply invaluable clues to relationships and lifestyle. LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA, CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS, 1801-1853 should not be overlooked as a genealogical resource.

     The 245-page volume has an introduction and a full-name index. It costs $25.50.

     Since many of the early settlers in the Northern Neck region were of Scottish or Scots-Irish ancestry, they were probably Presbyterians at some point. Regardless of which county or independent Virginia town they lived in, they shared common religious beliefs and customs which evolved over time. Hugh M. Van Horn focuses on one aspect of the church’s outlook in his book, A HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS IN FOUR CENTURIES AT THE OLD PRESBYTERIAN MEETING HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.

     During the past four centuries, the way the Presbyterian Church observed Christmas in America has changed dramatically. Van Horn explains how the transformation occurred through the perspective of Alexandria’s Old Presbyterian Meeting House. As the context for his scholarly narrative, he utilizes excerpts from various materials which relate alterations in each century’s living conditions. In this manner, the author shows that Presbyterians did not commemorate Christmas in public worship in the late eighteenth century. Although Santa Claus and Christmas trees had been introduced into popular American culture by the mid-nineteenth century, Presbyterians still thought it was inappropriate to celebrate the December event in public worship. However, Christmas services were being held at Alexandria’s Meeting House by the mid-twentieth century. By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, music and decorations had joined theology and education in prominent places in Presbyterian worship and in the celebration of Christmas.

     Although a small volume, A HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS IN FOUR CENTURIES AT THE OLD PRESBYTERIAN MEETING HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA furnishes insight into the religious holiday lifestyles of our ancestors and the history of the United States. Genealogists and historians alike will enjoy reading the interesting story.

     The 56-page volume has an attractive front cover and includes photographs, end notes, a bibliography, and an index. It is priced at $15.50.

     All three of these soft-cover books may be purchased by check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express from Heritage Books, Inc., 5810 Ruatan Street, Berwyn Heights, Maryland 20740. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-876-6103; fax 410-558-6574;; website To the price of each book, buyers should add the cost for shipping charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $7.00 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy.

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