Kinsearching March 31, 2013




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

     An independent city located near the geographic center of Virginia, Lynchburg is the largest town in the state’s upper James River Valley. Surrounded by such counties as Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell, it has long been both a commercial and cultural center in the region. As a result, the town’s papers served residents in a large area. Vital data gleaned from extant early issues resulted in the publication, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS FROM LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA, NEWSPAPERS, 1794-1836 by Lucy Harrison Miller Baber, Louise Ann Blunt, and Marion Armistead Lewis Collins.

     Originally planned to be published as two volumes—one for marriages and the other for deaths--the Lynchburg newspaper data for the years 1794-1836 were combined into one book with two separate sections. Documentation for each entry consists of the title of the newspaper, the date of the issue, and the page and column numbers.

     As expected, the amount of details varies from entry to entry. Besides the names of the couple and the date and place of marriage, most of the marriage notices furnish the name of the officiating minister or public official. Other facts may include the names of parents, place of residence (which may be in another state), and occupation. Additional interesting information may also appear, as in the case of the marriage of Mark ROBERTS and Sarah WIGGIN, who married in 1833 in Stratham, New Hampshire. The account states: ‘On this occassion (sic) the grandmother was present being in her 100th year. Nobody could recollect in the town of Stratham her 2nd marriage which took place over 75 years ago.’

     Besides the name of the deceased and the date and place of death, many death notices provide the individual’s age. Even if the names of survivors are not listed, the number of descendants may be indicated. When Paul HOWELL died in his 96th year in 1828, for example, he left behind “11 children living; over 80 grandchildren; 165 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.” Additional details may pertain to place of residence (if different from place of death), cause of death, name of spouse or parent, place of birth, occupation, or civil or military service. More than seventy entries refer to participation in the Revolutionary War.

     Names of approximately 6,000 people appear in the work. Since the volume contains information about some inhabitants in other parts of Virginia or in other states, family researchers may be able to trace migration patterns of their forebears. Since the newspapers concern data about many residents of nearby counties, genealogists may be able to replace records destroyed in such places as Buckingham County. Some recurring surnames are BURD, CABELL, DUVAL, GARLAND, LEFTWICH, MITCHELL, NORVELL, PENN, POWELL, SHELTON, TINSLEY, and WARD.

     Although first published in 1980, the material in MARRIAGES AND DEATHS FROM LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA, NEWSPAPERS, 1794-1836 will always remain relevant for genealogical research. Individuals tracing their family tree, especially any with roots in the Old Dominion State, may discover valuable information about their ancestors in this compilation.

     The 266-page soft-cover book has a preface and an introduction by eminent genealogist, John Frederick Dorman. Names are arranged alphabetically and are cross-referenced. To the book's price of $26.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 210) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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