A Guide to the Nottoway County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923 Nottoway County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923 0007313597

A Guide to the Nottoway County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007313597


Library of Virginia

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

Processed by: Ed Jordan

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Nottoway County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923
Physical Characteristics
.35 cu. ft. (1 box)
Nottoway County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Nottoway County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923. Local government records collection, Nottoway County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court records from Nottoway County.

Historical Information

Nottoway County was named for the Nadowa Indian tribe. The word nadowa, anglicized to nottoway, means snake, or enemy. The county was formed from Amelia County in 1788.

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.

Many records were destroyed or heavily mutilated in 1865 by Union troops during the Civil War. A few volumes that record deeds, court orders, and wills exist.

Scope and Content

Nottoway County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1867-1923, 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 inquisition, depositions, and summons. Criminal papers such as recognizance bonds can be found in coroner inquisitions. Information found in the inquisition 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 coroner filed inquisition in the court.

Related Material

Additional Nottoway County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia web site. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm."

See The Chancery Records Index to search for chancery suits of additional Virginia localities.

Nottoway County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Nottoway 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

    Corporate Names:

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

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

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

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

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1868 October, Death of Parthena Hill Taylor:

Died by accidentally falling out of the cabin door.

1922 July, Death of George Russel Widgins:

Killed by W.H. Bell with a pistol or rifle during a railroad strike.