Manuscript Sources (Virginia)

The Small Special Collections Library has manuscript materials containing vital records, family papers, and genealogies which may be of use to the genealogist. Many of these records concern Virginians, especially those who lived in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. In addition, there are several useful manuscript collections held in microfilm format in the Microforms Room in Alderman Library. All library holdings, including microforms and manuscript collections in the Small Special Collections Library, are included in the University Library’s online catalog.

Bible Records.
The Special Collections Library staff photocopies family record pages from Bibles as they are acquired and keeps the copies in a vertical file arranged alphabetically by family name. An index to these records, Bayne Palmer O’Brien’s “Bible Records of Virginia Families in the Manuscripts Division, Alderman Library, University of Virginia,” The Virginia Genealogist 15 (1971): 206-211, is kept in the file for easy reference.

Family Papers.
Because the holdings of Small Special Collections Library are voluminous, it may take some time to isolate specific materials. In addition, the difficulties in deciphering the handwriting and the sometimes poor condition of the papers can cause a great deal of time to be expended in reading through letters and other manuscripts, and it is possible that there will be few, if any, references of use to the genealogist. Most collections of family papers are described in the library’s online catalog and many have online guides. Search the following resource for these online guides:

Virginia Heritage: Guides to Manuscripts & Archival Collections in Virginia.



Manuscripts Collections & Guides to Manuscript Collections

Special Collections
F 232 .A3 E12
Early, Fay (Vaiden). Record of cemeteries in Albemarle County, Virginia, including Charlottesville. [Charlottesville] Jack Jouett Chaopter, NSDAR [1971- present].

Library has vols. 1-14 of this on-going DAR project.

Alderman Microforms Room
Micfilm 49
Draper manuscript collection [microform]. Chicago, University of Chicago Libraries, Dept. of Photographic Reproduction [194-?] 133 reels.

Indexed by guide (Micfilm 49 Guide).

Special Collections
Collection 11083

Gillette, Charles F. Photographs, 1905-1970.

This collection consists of photographs, 1905-1970 and undated, of historic gardens, buildings and estates from the files of Charles Freeman Gillette (1886-1969), a Richmond landscape architect, including homes, restoration work at Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello, churches, the Cape Henry lighthouse, cemeteries, and other structures.

Special Collections
MSS 9018
Grayson, Jane Thornley. Grayson genealogical collection [manuscript], 1728-1950 (bulk 1927-1950).

The collection contains some correspondence of Mrs. Grayson with clients and genealogical charts compiled by her. The majority of the families have Virginia roots including the Jefferson family and Lewis family of Albemarle County.

Cite as: Jane T. Grayson genealogical collection, 1927-1950, Accession #9018, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

(Available only from U.Va. locations)
HeritageQuest online [electronic resource]. [Ann Arbor, Mich.] : ProQuest, c2002-

Database of family and local history documents and U.S. census data.

Special Collections
MSS 4107
Herndon collection of genealogical data on Virginia and New England families [manuscript], 1900-1952.

The Herndon collection includes items relating to genealogical data on Virginia and New England families, notes, photographs, and clippings regarding historic homes and churches in Virginia, travel folders, and coats of arms. Also other miscellaneous Virginiana.

Cite as: Herndon Collection of Genealogical Data on Virginia and New England Families, 1900-1952, #4107, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA.
Holsinger Studio Collection Database.

Marvelous searchable collection of nearly nine thousand historic photographs of Charlottesville and Albemarle County from the late 19th century through the 1920s. Searchable by keyword, name/place, and date. From the Special Collections Department at the University of Virginia Library.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).

Search for manuscript collections in hundreds of libraries, archives, historical societies, museums in the United States. This database, taken from the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), covers approximately 200,000 collections catalogued nationally from 1986-1993. Scroll down and click on the link that reads “NUCMC Z39.50 Gateway to the RLIN AMC file”.

Alderman Microforms Room
Micfilm 1705 &
Micfilm 1705 Index



(Available only from U.Va. locations.)

Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War [microfilm]. General editor, Kenneth M. Stampp; associate editor, Randolph Boehm. Frederick, Md. : University Publications of America, 1985-

This is a collection of microfilmed manuscript records from the collections of fourteen major research libraries and repositories across the South. For more information, see this Introduction to the Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations.

Cooper, Jean L. A genealogical index … to the Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War. [Bloomington, Ind.] :, 2003.

Index is available in print or electronically to U.Va. locations. (For electronic copy, access through online catalog.)

Gov Info Reference Room






(Available only from U.Va. locations.)

United States. Census.

The Government Information Dept. in Alderman Library holds microfilm copies of the original census records (1790 to present) for Virginia. Microfilms of the original census records (1790-1860) for other states are also held. Indexes to census records have been compiled by various individuals and organizations; to find the one you are seeking, consult the online catalog under the name of the state and the requisite census (e.g., “Virginia–Census, 1810–Indexes”).

A much easier way to access the census is through HeritageQuest Online (see below), which provides access to online images of the original census books, and electronic indexes to the information. These images are often in better condition and easier to read on the screen than the microfilm.

HeritageQuest Online. Available only from U.Va. locations. ( Contains searchable access to the complete 1790-1930 U.S. Census and images of original census books, Periodicals Source Index (PERSI), Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, and ProQuest’s Genealogy & Local History Collection of 25,000+ family and local history books.

Alderman Reference &
Special Collections
CD 3560 .V5
University of Virginia. Library. Annual report on historical collections, University of Virginia Library. Charlottesville, 1930-1950.

Lib holds: 1st-20th; 1930/31-1949/50.

Special Collections
MSS 3106 3106-a 3106-c 3106-d
Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution. Albemarle Chapter (Charlottesville, Va.) Membership papers [manuscript] 1891-1963. 6 v.

Summary: Contains information and Revolutionary ancestors of all members of this chapter.

Cite as: Daughters of the American Revolution, Virginia, Albemarle Chapter Membership papers, 1891-1963, Accession #3106, 3106-a, 3106-c, 3106-d, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Historical Newspapers

Library of Virginia. Newspaper Resources at the Library of Virginia.
Library of Virginia. Petersburg (Va.) Public Library Newspaper Index, 1797-1877.

“Originally a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the [44,000 entry index includes] detailed entries for proper names and subjects including births, marriages, deaths, property sales, and chancery suits. Local events are covered in great detail, including the period of reconstruction following the Civil War. Coverage during the years of the Civil War (1861-1865) is not as extensive due to the scarcity of paper in Petersburg during the war.” Produced by the Library of Virginia.

(Available only from U.Va. locations)
ProQuest Historical Newspapers. [Ann Arbor, Mich.] : UMI, c2002-

Search and see full text of articles from the New York Times (1851-1999), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1995), and the Washington Post (1877-1987).

University of Virginia Library. Periodicals & Microforms Room. Virginia newspapers website.

Gives access to list of historical Virginia newspapers held in the University of Virginia Library.