A Guide to the Accomack County (Va.) Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863 Accomack County (Va.) Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863 Accomack County (Va.) Reels 316, 326

A Guide to the Accomack County (Va.) Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Microfilm reels Accomack County (Va.) Reels 316, 326


Library of Virginia

© 2006 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Microfilm reels
Accomack County (Va.) Reels 316, 326
Accomack County (Va.) Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863
Physical Characteristics
2 microfilm reels
Accomack County (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Use microfilm copy, Accomack County (Va.) Reels 316, 326.

Preferred Citation

Accomack County (Va.) Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863, Accomack County (Va.) Reels 316, 326. Local government records collection, Accomack County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

This microfilm was created by the Virginia State Library's (now the Library of Virginia) Archives Division from the original court records found in the Accomack County (Va.) Circuit Court Clerk's Office. The microfilm copy of these records was generated by The Library of Virginia's Imaging Services Branch on 23 August 1979.

Historical Information

Accomack County was named for the Accomac Indians, who lived on the Eastern Shore at the time of the first English settlement in Virginia. The word means "on-the-other-side-of-water place" or "across the water." It was one of the original eight shires, or counties, first enumerated in 1634 and spelled Accomac without the k. The county's name was changed to Northampton County in 1643. The present county was formed from Northampton about 1663. In October 1670, the General Assembly temporarily reunited Accomack and Northampton Counties as Northampton County. In November 1673, Accomack County was again separated from Northampton. In early records, the county's name was spelled many ways. In 1940 the General Assembly adopted the present spelling, Accomack. The county gained a small part of the southern end of Smith's Island from Somerset County, Maryland, in 1879, after the United States had approved boundary changes between Virginia and Maryland that had been agreed to in 1877. The county seat is Accomac.

An act passed by the Virginia legislature in 1803 required every free negro or mulatto to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the county clerk.

A significant number of loose records from the 1700s suffered extreme water and pest damage. Volumes that record deeds, court orders, and wills exist.

Scope and Content

Register of Free Negroes, 1785-1863, of Accomack County records the registration number, age/when born, name, color, stature, marks or scars, and in what court the person was emancipated or whether the person was born free. A column was added in the early 1800s to indicate whether or not the registered free person had permission to remain in the state or not. A notation by the clerk at the end of the volume orders that this column be added to the register. Some clerks recorded additional information not required by law. There is no index.


Chronological by registration date.

Related Material

Additional Accomack County Free Negro and Slave Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia. Consult A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm .

Accomack County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Accomack County Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Collection at the Library of Virginia. Search 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 .

Index Terms

Adjunct Descriptive Data

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

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