Look in Southwestern Virginia [or was that Kentucky or West Virginia?]

My family and several generations are from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US. From a genealogical perspective this is both a blessing an a curse

With my ancestral trails being in Colonial America, I have access to historical American records dating as far back as the 1600′s. Prior to this time, I have located records in England, France, Ireland and Germany. Some of my ancestors settled in a part of colonial Virginia which has since been split into 3 states: Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. Even county names and county lines have been changed to frustrate the “genealogist” :-)

To help combat this, I’ve accumulated a set of maps and references which show:

  • How starting in 1770, Botetourt county of Colonial Virginia has become part of 6 states:
    Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • How Fincastle county of Colonial Virginia has progressed since 1772.
    In 1772 Fincastle covered all of what is now Western Virginia, West Virginia. and Kentucky.
  • How Montgomery county Virginia was repeatedly split and re-split between 1776 and 1880.
  • State maps of Virgina for 1795, 1814, 1822, 1836, 1845, 1857.
  • State maps of Kentucky for 1795, 1814, 1822, 1836 and 1845.
  • Many US Maps covering the period from 1795-1863.
  • The David Rumsey Map Collection.
    David Rumsey provides a wonderful map collection.

As a side note, prior to 1796, North Carolina and Tennessee have a similar splitting, but to a much lesser degree.  I’m sure that this is also true in other states that made up the original 13 colonies.

Even with all of the Computer based online tools at my disposal this “change of ownership” can make it difficult and frustrating to locate: birth, marriage, death, census, wills and other source records. These source records are critical to validating genealogical claims and providing leads on your “ancestral quest”.

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