A Guide to the Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913 Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913 Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-001-1913-087

A Guide to the Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-001-1913-087


Library of Virginia

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© 2009 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Field processors

The Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index
Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-001-1913-087
Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913
Physical Characteristics
Digital images
Fairfax County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Patrons are to use digital images of Fairfax County Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.

Preferred Citation

Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913. (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local government records collection, Fairfax County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Digital images were generated by PTFS through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program.

Historical Information

Chancery causes are cases of equity. According to Black's Law Dictionary they are "administered according to fairness as contrasted with the strictly formulated rules of common law." A judge, not a jury, determines the outcome of the case.

Fairfax County was named for Thomas Fairfax, sixth baron Fairfax of Cameron, proprietor of the Northern Neck. It was formed from Prince William County in 1742. Part of Loudoun County was added in 1798.

Original wills and deeds as well as many other loose papers were destroyed during the Civil War; deed books for twenty-six of the fifty-six years between 1763 and 1819 are missing. Numerous pre-Civil War minute books are missing as well.

Scope and Content

Fairfax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1803-1913, are indexed into the Chancery Records Index. Cases are identified by style of suit consisting of plaintiff and defendant names. Surnames of others involved in a suit, including secondary plaintiffs and defendants, witnesses, deponents and affiants, and family members with surnames different from the plaintiff or defendant are indexed. Chancery causes often involved the following: divisions of estates or land, disputes over wills, divorces, debt, and business disputes. Predominant documents found in chancery causes include bills (plaintiff's complaint), answers (defendant's response), decrees (court's decision), depositions, affidavits, correspondence, lists of heirs, deeds, wills, slave records, business records or vital statistics, among other items. Plats, if present, are noted, as are wills from localities with an incomplete record of wills or localities other than the one being indexed.

Chancery causes are useful when researching local history, genealogical information, and land or estate divisions. They are a valuable source of local, state, social, and legal history and serve as a primary source for understanding a locality's history.


Organized by case, of which each is assigned a unique index number comprised of the latest year found in case and a sequentially increasing 3-digit number assigned by the processor as cases for that year are found. Arranged chronologically.

Related Material

Additional Fairfax County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm

See the Lost Records Localities Digital Collection available at Virginia Memory.

For more information and a listing of lost records localities see Lost Records research note.

See The Chancery Records Index to find the chancery records of additional Virginia localities.

Separated Material

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Fairfax County (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--History.
  • Business enterprises--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Debt--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Divorce suits--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Equity--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Estates (Law)--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Land subdivision--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Fairfax County (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Fairfax County (Va.)--History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Chancery causes--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Deeds--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Judicial records--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Land records--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Plats--Virginia--Fairfax County.
  • Wills--Virginia--Fairfax County.

Selected Suits of Interest

1846-033: George Kephart vs. Joseph Bruin:

Bruin and Kephart were slave traders in Alexandria. Kephart sued to recover money owed to him by Bruin for selling slaves for Bruin. Numerous accounts and receipts related to slave sales. Includes name of slave and purchaser. Over 100 slave names found in suit about half of which have surnames.

1859-050: Joseph Bruin vs. Samuel Wren:

Bruin was a notorious slave trader in Alexandria, VA. Bruin accused Wren of knowingly selling him an ill slave named Matilda Washington for over 700 dollars. She had a breathing disorder: menses or asthma. Deponent in the case was a physician named Benjamin Rose who provided medical care for Wren's slaves. At time of deposition, Rose lived in Texas.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Fairfax County (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Fairfax County (Va.)--History.