A Guide to the James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills, 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930) James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills, 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930) 1153851-1153855

A Guide to the James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills, 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930)

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcodes numbers 1153851-1153855


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
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Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
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Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2007 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930)
Physical Characteristics
5 cu. ft. (5 boxes)
James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Circuit Court
State Records Center - Archives Annex, Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills, 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930). Local Government Records Collection, James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23291.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments fo court papers from James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.)

Historical Information

James City County was named for James I. It was one of the eight shires established in 1634. Parts of New Kent and York Counties were added later.

The City of Williamsburg, in James City and York Counties, was established by the General Assembly as Middle Plantation in 1633. After the capitol building at Jamestown burned in 1698, the assembly decided to move the capital of the colony to Middle Plantation, which was renamed Williamsburg in 1699 in honor of William III. Williamsburg was established in 1699 and declared a "city Incorporate" in 1722, although its actual status was that of a borough. It served as the capital of Virginia from 1699 until 1780. Williamsburg was incorporated as a city in 1884.

Individuals dying with a written will died testate. After the death of an individual, his or her will was brought into court, where two of the subscribing witnesses swore that the document was genuine. After the will was proved, the executor was bonded to carry out his or her duties to settle the estate. The court then ordered the will to be recorded.

James City County was recognized in 1634 as an original shire. Williamsburg was founded in 1699 and declared a “city Incorporate” by a royal charter in 1722, although its actual status was that of a borough. Beginning in 1770, the courts of James City County and Williamsburg shared a common courthouse. During the Civil War, the records of both localities were transferred to Richmond for safekeeping, but were destroyed by fire there on April 3, 1865. The records of the superior court of chancery for the Williamsburg district were destroyed by a courthouse fire in April 1911.

Scope and Content

James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Wills, 1862-1959 (bulk 1862-1930), record the deceased's plan for how his or her estate was to be divided among his or her heirs following his or her death. Information commonly recorded in wills include the name of the deceased, also referred as the testator; names of heirs; a listing of real and personal property (including slaves) and how it was to be divided among the heirs; names of individuals who were to be the will's executors; the date will was written; and the date will was recorded at the court house. Additional record types may be found in this collection such as fiduciary records (inventories and accounts.)


Arrangement is chronological by year and then alphabetical by surname.

Related Material

Additional James City County (Va.)/Williamsburg (Va.) Court Records can be found on microfilm in the Library of Virginia. Consult "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 .

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • James City County (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Williamsburg (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--History
  • Estates (Law)--Virginia--James City County
  • Estates (Law)--Virginia--Williamsburg
  • Land subdivision--Virginia--James City County
  • Land subdivision--Virginia--Williamsburg
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--James City County
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--Williamsburg
  • Slaves--Virginia--James City County
  • Slaves--Virginia--Williamsburg
  • Geographical Names:

  • James City County--History
  • Williamsburg--History
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Local government records--Virginia--James City County
  • Local government records--Virginia--Williamsburg
  • Wills--Virginia--James City County
  • Wills--Virginia--Williamsburg

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • James City County--History
  • Williamsburg--History