The grantor index for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia from 1727 to 1920 was created in 1927 under the direction of Judge Alvin T. Embrey. Judge Embrey was a tireless compiler who oversaw the creation of county deed and will indicies for Essex County, Stafford, Spotsylvania counties in addition to the index for Fredericksburg. This web page was created to give historical researchers access to the information that is consolidated by the Fredericksburg Grantor index. However, this is not a certified copy and is provided solely for historians and geneological researchers. Scribal error both in the creation of the original document and in the transcription has not been completely eliminated.
The electronic version of the index was created by reading the microfilm copy of the index in the Virginiana Room of the Rappahannock Regional Library. The index is searchable for names of both grantors (persons conveying property) and grantees (persons receiving property).
The Center for Historic Preservation gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dara Zitzmann, Robyn Osl, and Gary Stanton in copying the microfilm into a spreadsheet format. They were assisted at times by Megan McDonald and other students in the Department of Historic Preservation at Mary Washington College as well as the generous assistance of the staff at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Judy Brushwood and David Ayersman helped make a searchable web-based resource. Barry McGhee made the conversion to the Microsoft Access. Hall Cheshire and David Dean of the University of Mary Washington IT department provided the technical and logistical assistance to bring this to the new server. Of course no index would exist without the foresight and hard work of the original compilers. Judge Embrey acknowledges his colleagues in his written introduction to the original volumes, but to the nameless volunteers and paid assistants who toiled in the past to make these lists possible, we your children, give thanks.
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In 1634 the Colony of Virginia was divided into eight Shires, which are to be governed as the Shires in England. The names of the Shires were JAMES CITY, HENRICO, CHARLES CITY, ELIZABETH CITY, WARWICK RIVER, WARROSQUYOAKE, CHARLES RIVER, and ACCOWMACK. (1 Hen 224)
GLOUCESTER and LANCASTER Counties first appear in 1 Hening’s Statutes page 371, April 26 , 1652. Their bounds are not given.
RAPPAHANNOCK County was formed from the upper part of LANCASTER County in December 1656 (1 Hen 427)
In April 1692 in the fourth year of the reign of William and Mary, RAPPAHANNOCK County was divided, that on the Northside of the RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER to be known as RICHMOND County, and that part on the Southside of the River to be known as ESSEX County, and the records of RAPPAHANNOCK County were ordered to be transferred to ESSEX County. (3 Hen 104)
SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY was formed from ESSEX, KING WILLIAM and KING & QUEEN Counties in 1720. (4 Hen 7)
This new County of SPOTSYLVANIA extended "westward to the river beyond the mountains," which is generally believed to refer to the Shenandoah River.
ORANGE COUNTY was formed from SPOTSYLVANIA in 1734. (4 Hen 450)
By Patent dated May 2, 1671, Patent Book 6, page 343 in the Land Office of the Commonwealth of Virginia, at Richmond, a tract of land was granted unto Mr. John Buckner and Mr. Thomas Royston for two thousand acres "in the County of Rappa. on the Southside of the River in the Freshes," the said two thousand acres bounded as follows:
"Beginning at marked foure branch pine the uppermost corner tree of devident of land surveyed for Mr. Laurence Smith and bounded on the same S W by S 2 degrees and ˝ W 1000 pole, thence N W 320 poles & thence N E by norley 2 degrees and ˝ E 1000 pole to the River, and finally by the River side according to its several courses to the first mentioned station."
In February 1727, (4 Hen page 234) an Act was passed for "erecting" the TOWN OF FREDERICKSBURG, and in the Act it was provided that John Robinson, Henry Willis, Augustine Smith, John Taliaferro, Harry Beverly, John Waller, and Jeremiah Clowder, Trustees, should lay out the Town from the fifty acres, parcel of the land belonging to John Royston and Robert Buckner, known as the Lease—Land into half acre lots, etc.
This original Town embraced lots 1-64, both inclusive, and later, by an Act of February 1759 the Town was enlarged and extended 92 poles up the river from Lewis Street, and 120 poles down the river from Wolfe Street, and 48 poles on the back line of the Town, "to be bound by parallel lines run from the said river at the extremity of the said additional upper and lower number of poles, and another line run parallel to the back line of the said Town." (7 Hen 314)
After the Revolution the Town limits were extended to the present limits.
It has been the aim that this Index, as to property within the present limits of Fredericksburg, should cover the period from the beginning of the Town in 1727 down to January 1, 1920, and with this in view, deeds recorded at Spotsylvania, when conveying Fredericksburg property, have been abstracted and shown herein. In each instance the words "Recd Spots" are at the end of the description under the column headed "PROPERTY", and the Index is brought down through DEED BOOK 52, page 257, and WILL BOOK J, page 404, in the FREDERICKSBURG Clerk’s Office.
The Spotsylvania Records Indexed are indicated by the "Recd Spots" as stated above.
The DISTRICT COURT, April 29, 1798-October 15, 1806 and the Superior Court April 29, 1807-October 21, 1811 were contemporary with the Hustings Court and deeds recorded in the DISTRICT and SUPERIOR Courts through their books A to F are indicated by "DC" in the column under "PROPERTY". These come first and are followed by the Hustings Court April 15, 1782-August 9, 1850 and the Corporation Court September 13, 1860 current DEED and WILL Books, in regular sequence, with the Spotsylvania references interspersed chronologically , among the Hustings and Corporation Court records.
The District Court used one Will Book, which is referred to as "W-DC". The Old Circuit Court of Fredericksburg used one Will Book, which is referred to as "WA-CIR".
The HUSTINGS COURT and CORPORATION COURT DEED BOOKS begin with "A" and run through "Z", then "AA" through "OO", and following "OO", by Court Order, took numerical sequence beginning with #48.
The HUSTINGS COURT and CORPORATION COURT WILL BOOKS begin with "A" and run down in alphabetic order.
The HUSTINGS COURT was succeeded by the CORPORATION COURT, but no change was made in the designation of the books.
Attention is called to the early chronology. In England from the 14th Century until the Change of Style in 1752, the Legal and Ecclesiastical year began March 25, though it was not uncommon in writing to reckon the year from January.
The change from Julian to Gregorian calendar was affected in England by Act of Parliament in September 1752, September 3rd being called September 14th, and December 31, 1752 closed that year, January 1, 1753 beginning a new year.
In "Property" Column, indexing many of the trusts, will be found "DR" or "MR". "DR" stands for what is believed to be a defective marginal release, and "MR" stands for what is believed to be a proper marginal release.
The word "REFERENCE" under the "PROPERTY" column means that the deed, paper, or fact, indexed is referred to in the Book and Page indicated.
"W" before a letter in the "Book" column, like "W-A" means Will Book A.
The Deed Books are lettered and numbered without such designation, as "A" means Deed Book "A".
Under "Kind", "DT" means Deed of Trust, "PART" means partition, "M" refers to a Marriage, B & S, Bargain and Sale, etc.
In indexing FREDERICKSBURG DEVELOPMENT COMPANY deeds, it has been sought to arrange the lots and blocks in numerical sequence, both as to lots and blocks, though very few of the deeds are so written. Many of these deeds were executed by W.S. White, Trustee, but are indexed in the name of the Company.
All Churches are indexed under "Churches", with sub-index referring to the particular denomination.
The formations of many of the letters in the early days differed from modern writing, and this fact has led to difficulties.
Some of the Letters are hard to distinguish.
Voss and Vass: Billingsly and Billingsby; Edenton and Edinton, Edington, Edrington, are suggested as difficulties, and it has been sought to group them under predominating spelling of the particular families, and variations indicated by parenthesis.
This INDEX, covering the period indicated in this introduction, was prepared by Order of Judge F. W. Coleman of the Corporation Court of Fredericksburg, under the supervision of the Court Committee, members of Judge Coleman’s Bar; Messrs: B. P. Willis, C. O’Conor Goolrick, William W. Butzner, and while it is not thought to be perfect, it is submitted as an effort to index the property in Fredericksburg.
Alvin T. Embrey
December 1, 1927
Last Update: 12 May 2021
Name: Gary Stanton, Dept of Historic Preservation
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