A Guide to the Dinwiddie County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919 Dinwiddie County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919 0007326840

A Guide to the Dinwiddie County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007326840


Library of Virginia

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© 2012 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Sam Walters

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Dinwiddie County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919
Physical Characteristics
0.1 cu. ft.
Dinwiddie County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Dinwiddie County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919. Local government records collection, Dinwiddie County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court records from Dinwiddie County under the accession number 50187.

Historical Information

Dinwiddie County was named for Robert Dinwiddie, lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1751 to 1758. The county was formed from Prince George County in 1752.

The separate office of coroner appeared in Virginia about 1660. The judicial duty of the office is to hold inquisitions in cases when persons meet sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious death, or death without medical attendance. The coroner would summon a jury to assist him in determining cause of death. Prior to November 1877, the jurors numbered twelve. Between November 1877 and March 1926, the jurors numbered six. The jury viewed the body of the deceased and heard the testimony of witnesses. The coroner was required to write down witness testimony. After seeing and hearing the evidence, the jury delivered in writing to the coroner their conclusion concerning cause of death referred to as the inquisition. After March 1926, only the coroner determined cause of death. He could require physicians to assist him with determing cause of death. If a criminal act was determined to be the cause of death, the coroner was to deliver the guilty person to the sheriff and the coroners' inquests would be used as evidence in the criminal trial.

The bulk of court records prior to 1865 were stolen, mutilated, and/or destroyed by Union troops who ransacked the courthouse during the last months of the Civil War. Post-1830 volumes such as deed books, will books, chancery order books, and marriage registers exist.

Scope and Content

Dinwiddie County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1871-1919, are investigations into the deaths of individuals who died by a sudden violent, unnatural or suspicious manner, or died without medical attendance. Causes of death found in coroners' inquisitions include murder, infanticide, suicide, domestic violence, exposure to elements, drownings train accidents, automobile accidents, and natural causes, or as commonly referred to in the 19th century, visitation by God. Documents commonly found in coroners' inquests include the inquisitions, depositions and summons. Criminal papers such as recognizance bonds can be found in coroner inquisitions. Information found in the inquisitions include the name of the coroner, the names of the jurors, the name and age of the deceased if known, gender and race of the deceased, and when how, and by what means the deceased came to his or her death. Information found in the depositions include the name of the deponent and his or her account of the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased.


Chronological by date filed in the court.

Related Material

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:

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

  • African Americans--History
  • Coroners--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Death--Causes--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Infanticide--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Murder victims--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Murder--Investigation--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Suicide--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Women--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Geographical Names:

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

  • Death records--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Local government records--Virginia--Dinwiddie County
  • Reports--Virginia--Dinwiddie County