Kinsearching October 26, 2008




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

     A knowledge of the religious denominations to which our forebears belonged is useful in family research. Genealogists, however, may not know which church their ancestors attended. Since travel was neither quick nor easy in past eras, families usually went to a church located near their residence. Lizabeth Ward Papageorgiou helps many researchers seeking information about Anglican buildings in the Old Dominion in her new book, THE COLONIAL CHURCHES OF ST. THOMAS' PARISH, ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA, WITH NOTES ON SITES IN ORANGE, GREENE, AND MADISON COUNTIES.

     Created from St. Mark's Parish in 1740, St. Thomas' Parish encompassed the present-day Virginia counties of Orange, Greene, and southern Madison. Based on data gathered from several area histories and compiled deeds, wills, vestry records, and court minutes, Papageorgiou attempts to furnish the first accurate description of St. Thomas' Parish, its member churches, its ministers, and the historians who played an important role in its colonial story.

     Because neither the vestry books nor a reliable map of the parish exists, the author extracts material pertaining to St. Thomas' from the extant vestry books of neighboring St. Mark's and St. George's parishes. The mainstay of her information, however, is the road orders for Spotsylvania and Orange counties since parishes and counties usually had the same boundaries. Recorded in county court minutes, the road orders for the construction and maintenance of roads (actually dirt-packed paths) provide evidence for the existence of churches and chapels throughout the parish. In addition, they give the names of the overseers and work crews assigned to maintain the roads and any bridges on them. Utilizing information from the road orders, Papageorgiou pinpoints the time period and location of these places of worship: Germanna Church, Southwest Mountain Chapel, Southwest Mountain Church, Upper Chapel, the formation of St. Thomas' Parish, Upper Church, Middle (Brick) Church, Pine Stake Church, and New (Orange) Church. Although the author mentions in her preface several places to find maps of the area, some type of a map of the parish and its churches in the book itself would be invaluable to researchers. Overall, THE COLONIAL CHURCHES OF ST. THOMAS' PARISH, ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA, WITH NOTES ON SITES IN ORANGE, GREENE, AND MADISON COUNTIES is an excellent example of documented historical reconstruction that will be indispensable to genealogical and historical researchers alike.

     The 134-page paperback contains a preface, a detailed introduction about the Anglican church and roads in colonial Virginia as well as the pedigree of St. Thomas' Parish, a list of abbreviations of sources, two appendices, documentation notes, and a bibliography. Since the full-name and place index pertains primarily to the main text, it does not list names appearing in the road orders in the appendix; an every-name index would be beneficial to genealogists who do not have access to the published road orders.

     To the book's price of $19.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.00 for one book or the first volume of a set and $2.50 for each additional copy or each additional volume of a set; for UPS, the cost is $7.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9936) may be purchased by check, 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

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about the wife and descendants of Lonnie F. FERGUSON, born in 1907 in Arkansas and died in 1967, place unknown. He is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston, Harris Co., TX.

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