Rappahannock County, 1656-1696, Virginia Genealogy

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(Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia genealogy and family history research page. Guide to (Old) Rappahannock County (established 1656) genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, wills, deeds and land records, family histories, cemeteries, and churches. This article is about a Virginia county abolished in 1692. For other uses, see Rappahannock.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Old Rappahannock County's records are now held at the Essex County, Virginia Courthouse in Tappahannock, Va.

Beginning Dates for Rappahannock County, 1656-1696, Virginia Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
NA NA NA NA 1656 1665

History[edit | edit source]

Fredericksburg, Rappahannock River, Virginia.JPG

The county is named after the Rappahannock River. The Algonquian word lapihanne (also noted as toppehannock), from which the English word Rappahannock is derived, means "river of quick, rising water" or "where the tide ebbs and flows."[1]

Parent County [edit | edit source]

Formed in 1656 from Lancaster County.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Old Rappahannock County became extinct in 1692 and was divided into Essex and Richmond counties.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

The court order books covering the years 1656 to 1682 are lost.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Compiled genealogies are a good place to start research for this area, see Rappahannock County, 1656-1696, Virginia Genealogy.

If you are researching families who lived in (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia between the 1650s and 1690s, the Sparacios' book indexes are a great time saver.

A variety of records are abstracted in:

  • Ricks, Joel and William G. Stanard. W. G. Standard's Extracts from Virginia Records (in Three Parts). Typescript, 1942-1943. FHL US/CAN Film 823706 Items 1-3. [Contents: pt. 1. Extracts from records of Rappahannock, Essex, Middlesex, King George and Richmond counties, 1654 to 1804 -- pt. 2. Extracts from records of the counties of old Rappahanock [sic], Essex, Middlesex, King George, and Richmond -- pt. 3. Genealogical and biographical notes of Surry, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, and Sussex counties, Virginia.]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Church[edit | edit source]

Church of England[edit | edit source]

See:

Registers of North Farnham Parish, which begin in the second-half of the seventeenth century, survive for the section of Old Rappahannock County that split to become Richmond County.[2] The original parish registers are held at the Library of Virginia and/or the Richmond County, Virginia Courthouse in Warsaw, Va. They were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1947 (FHL US/CAN Film 33746) and 1950 (FHL US/CAN Film 32637). These records have also been abstracted and published by an expert:

  • King, George Harrison Sanford. The Registers of North Farnham Parish, 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish, 1783-1800, Richmond County, Virginia. Fredericksburg, Va.: G.H.S. King, 1966. FHL US/CAN Book 975.523 K2k.

Court[edit | edit source]

County Court

The original Old Rappahannock County Court Orders are held at Essex County, Virginia Courthouse in Tappahannock, Va. The Sparacios abstracted, indexed, and published these records:

  • Sparacio, Ruth Trickey and Sam Sparacio. Order Book Abstracts of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia. [1683-1692] 4 vols. McLean, Va.: R.&S. Sparacio, 1990. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 P28sb.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

More than 250 genealogies have been published about (Old) Rappahannock County families. To view a list, visit (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia Genealogy.

Check compiled Genealogies in Neighboring Counties

See also: Virginia Compiled Genealogies


  • Yurechko, John Otto. Virginia Genealogies Along and Near the Lower Rappahannock River, 1607-1799: Allen, Buckner, Carter, Harrow, Jackson, Kellum, Long, Miles, Montgomery, Morton, Page, Reade, Roy, Tankersley, Thornley and Wilson. Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1995. FHL US/CAN Book 975.5 D2y.
  • Yurechko, John Otto. Virginians Along and Near the Lower Rappahannock River, 1607-1799. 2 vols. Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1997-1998. FHL US/CAN Book 975.5 D2yj v. 1.

Immigration[edit | edit source]

Headright grants identify many Rappahannock County, 1656-1696, Virginia Genealogy immigrants who arrived before 1720.[3] The Virginia Immigration article provides tips about using this source.

Additional resources include:


Land[edit | edit source]

Deeds

The original Old Rappahannock County Deed Books are held at Essex County, Virginia Courthouse in Tappahannock, Va. The Sparacios abstracted, indexed, and published these records:

  • Sparacio, Ruth Trickey and Sam Sparacio. Deed Abstracts of Old Rappahannock County, Virginia. [1656-1692] 10 vols. McLean, Virginia: R. & S. Sparacio, 1989-1990. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 R2sa.
  • Sparacio, Ruth Trickey and Sam Sparacio. Deed & Will Abstracts of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia. [1665-1682] 3 vols. McLean, Virginia: R. & S. Sparacio, 1989-1990. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 R2s v. 1.

Grants and Patents

Search for pre-1673 land grants and patents among Virginia Land Office records. After that year, be sure to check Virginia Northern Neck land grants.[4]

  • Gray, Gertrude E. Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1694-1742. Vol. I. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Includes (Old) Rappahannock County.]
  • Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666. Vol. I (1934; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1991). Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Includes (Old) Rappahannock County. N.B. If Ancestry's search engine fails, try checking the printed index at the end of the book.]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Warner, Thomas Hoskins. History of Old Rappanhannock County, Virginia, 1656-1692: With Introduction, 1608-1656, Including the Present Counties of Essex and Richmond and Parts of Westmoreland, King George, Stafford, Caroline and Spotsylvania Counties. Tappahannock, Va.: P.P. Warner, 1965. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 H2w.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

Colonial Militia

  • Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. Available at FHL. [Identifies some Old Rappahannock County militia officers and/or soldiers; see place name index.]
  • Crozier, William Armstrong. Virginia Colonial Militia 1651-1776. Baltimore: Southern Book Co., 1954. Available at FHL; digital book at Ancestry ($). [Identifies some Old Rappahannock County militia officers; see place name index.]

Native American[edit | edit source]

The Portobaccoes Tribe, Nanzcattico Tribe, and Mattehatique Tribe lived in the area in the late 1600s.[5]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Philip Alexander Bruce's book Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century (Vol. II, 1896, p. 334 footnote 1) includes a list of early English merchants in (Old) Rappahannock County.

Probate[edit | edit source]

The original Old Rappahannock County Will Books are held at Essex County, Virginia Courthouse in Tappahannock, Va. These records have been abstracted, indexed, and published several times:

  • McGhan, Judith. Virginia Will Records: From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982. FHL US/CAN Book 975.5 P2v. [Includes Old Rappahannock County wills.]
  • Sparacio, Ruth Trickey and Sam Sparacio. Deed & Will Abstracts of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia. [1665-1682] 3 vols. McLean, Virginia: R. & S. Sparacio, 1989-1990. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 R2s v. 1.
  • Sparacio, Ruth Trickey and Sam Sparacio. Will Abstracts of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia [1682-1687]. McLean, Va.: R.&S. Sparacio, 1990. FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 P28sa.
  • Sweeny, William Montgomery. Wills of Rappahannock County, Virginia 1656 - 1692. [Lynchburg, Virginia?]: Mrs. W.M. Sweeny, 1947. Available FHL US/CAN Book 975.534 P2s and FHL US/CAN Film 1421588 Item 4. Digital version World Vital Records ($).

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: (Old) Rappahannock County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1977):219. Available at New England Ancestors ($).
  • Browning, Joyce. "Research in 'Old' Rappahannock and Her Descendants," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 3 (May-Jun. 1985):1. Available at FHL; digital version at Virginia Genealogical Society website.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Marriage

  • Headley, Robert K. Married Well and Often: Marriages of the Northern Neck of Virginia 1649-1800: Marriages and Marriage References for the Counties of Lancaster, Northumberland, Old Rappahannock, Richmond, and Westmoreland. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003. FHL US/CAN Book 975.52 V2h.
  • Wilkerson, Eva Eubank. Index to Marriages of Old Rappahannock and Essex Counties, Virginia, 1655-1900. Richmond, VA, USA: Clearfield Co., 1953. FHL; 1983 reprint available at FHL; digital versions at Ancestry ($); FamilySearch Digital Library; World Vital Records ($).

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
    *FamilySearch Catalog

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Rappahannock County, Virginia," Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rappahannock_County,_Virginia.
  2. Browning, Joyce. "Research in 'Old' Rappahannock and Her Descendants," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 3 (May-Jun. 1985):1.
  3. John Frederick Dorman, "Review of Cavaliers and Pioneers," in The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1980):221. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 24 (1980)
  4. Browning, Joyce. "Research in 'Old' Rappahannock and Her Descendants," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 3 (May-Jun. 1985):1.
  5. Charles Campbell, History of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia (Philadelphia, Pa.: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1860), 267-268. Digitized by Internet Archive.