Kinsearching September 26, 2010




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

     People who have researched in seventeenth-century documents know it is often difficult to read the old-style handwriting. They also realize they need to be familiar with the meaning of terms used during the colonial era. As a result, many genealogists will appreciate the hard work John A. Brayton faced in compiling his new book, TRANSCRIPTION OF LOWER NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA RECORDS, VOLUME TWO: RECORD BOOK C, 1651-1656.

     Brayton’s informative and sometimes humorous introduction discusses the wide-ranging topics found in Lower Norfolk County Record Book C, which covers the time frame between January 1651 and October 1656. In addition, the author provides a section that explains writing peculiarities of the colonial period (the letter “y”, for example, stood for “th”), supplies the definition of some abbreviations and terms (“southward,” for instance, almost always meant south of the Virginia border, inferring to the area that became North Carolina), and furnishes a list of the most common abbreviations appearing in the records.

     Subjects in Brayton’s verbatim transcription encompass court minutes, court orders, deeds, depositions, and wills. The material often sheds light on tales of acts of defiance, couples living together without benefit of marriage, cruelty, drunkenness, escape attempts by servants, and voyages to other parts of the world. Examples of recurring surnames are BANKS/BANCK/BANCKS, BOWMAN, BRIDGE/BRIDGES, CONQUEST, DAYNES/DAINES/DAINS/DEANES, EDMUNDS/EDMONDS, EMPEROR, GOODRICH/GUTTRIDGE/GOODRIDGE, LLOYD/LOYD, OVERZEE, PHILLIPS, STERNELL/STARNELL/STURNEL, and WILLOUGHBY.

     Lower Norfolk was established in 1637 and later became the parent county of Norfolk and Princess Anne. (Today these two counties have been superseded by the metropolises Chesapeake City and Virginia Beach.) Since Lower Norfolk was one of the colony’s oldest counties, many Americans with early Virginia roots descend from its residents. Therefore, TRANSCRIPTION OF LOWER NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA RECORDS, VOLUME TWO: RECORD BOOK C, 1651-1656 will make a worthy addition to all genealogical collections concerning the Old Dominion State.

     The 566-page paperback contains two indexes. The main one provides names of approximately 5,000 individuals mentioned in the documents. The second furnishes the names of slaves, ships, and locations (including European countries and cities; Virginian cities, towns, counties, parishes, creeks, rivers, and bridges; and other American colonies and places). In addition, the smaller index supplies the names of people who left a will mentioned in the county records, names of individuals whose ages are revealed in depositions, and the first mention of persons who died intestate (without a will).

     To the book's price of $65.00, 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 number 9710) 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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