Library of Virginia Research Notes

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The Library of Virginia (LVA) in downtown Richmond is one of the most important repositories for published and original manuscript material pertaining to Virginia. To aid researchers in navigating its broad holdings, it makes pamphlets and research guides available to patrons on a variety of topics. If you are planning a visit to the library, or simply want to gain a better understanding of the holdings of the Library of Virginia, then you will certainly want to review this material.

What follows is a list of the published “Research Notes” and brochures that I have found the most interesting to me in my own Virginia genealogical research. Many, but not all, of the links will open a PDF file that you can download to your computer and view using Adobe Reader or similar software.

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Interior lobby of the Library of Virginia, with the Circulation Desk at the top of the stairs. The reading rooms are located on the second floor to the sides of the desk. (Photos by the author.)

Some tips for using the library:

  1. Get a Library of Virginia card at the Circulation Desk. You will need to present a photo ID with your current address. You need not be a resident of Virginia to obtain a card. Having a library card will enable you to use library resources onsite, and to conduct remote research using databases the library subscribes to, such as HistoryGeo.
  2. If you want to make photocopies and print them to paper, you will need to load funds onto your library card using one of the cashier machines. There is no longer a separate copy card. If you have an old copy card bring it with you. Any remaining funds will be transferred for you at the Circulation Desk.
  3. Microfilm readers and scanners are available upon registration in the West Reading Room, and may be used for a maximum of two hours if others are waiting. You can save files to a USB stick without paying any fees; if you print to paper it will cost you .25 per page. The library recommends using a USB stick that is less than 8 GB in size.
  4. Do plan on taking a meal break. The Discovery Cafe in the Library of Virginia lobby offers both breakfast and lunch options. Daily specials are available (like BBQ pulled pork sliders). If the tables are full, ask to share a table with someone and strike up a conversation. You never know who you may sit by, and it just may be a library staff member willing to share research tips with you!

I hope to return to Richmond again very soon to conduct more research in their extensive microfilm and manuscript collections.

1894 Death of Jane (Mozingo) Rice

In anticipation of my upcoming research trip to Virginia, I offer these transcriptions of the death notice and the newspaper obituary of Jane E. (Mozingo) Rice, born in Westmoreland Co., Virginia in 1826. I obtained  copies of the newspaper items when I first visited Kansas in 1992, and the graves of Cornelius Rice, his wife, Jane, and several other relatives on a glorious fall day. The Baldwin Ledger is, alas, not one of the digitized newspapers online on the Chronicling America website.

Baldwin Ledger 12 Oct 1894

“The citizens of Baldwin and vicinity are very sorry to learn of the demise of Mrs. C. B. Rice. The funeral services took place yesterday from the M. E. Church in Baldwni. [sic] Rev. J. M. Sulliven officiating. The I.O.O.F. of Baldwin and many friends attended the funeral. The sorrowing friends have have [sic] the deepest sympathy of this entire community. A full obituary will be given next week.” [1]

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Obituary.

Jane Elizabeth Rice was born in West Moreland county, Va., June 6, 1826, and died Oct. 8, 1894. She was raised a Baptist but at the age of 16 joined the Methodist church, and continued a worthy member until her death. She was married to C. B. Rice in Georgetown, D. C., on the 3rd of Feb., 1846. She was the mother of eleven children, nine of whom, with her husband, survive her. With her husband she moved to Kansas in 1857 and settled in Palmyra township, where she lived until her death. She became a Rebecca in Mechanics Lodge, No. 18, of Georgetown, D. C. in 1853. The funeral services took place Aug. 11, at 10 a.m., from the Methodist church in Baldwin. The sermon was preached by J. M. Sullivan. The remains were laid to rest in Ashland cemetery. A good mother, a kind neighbor and friend, one who has lived through the early history of Kansas, has gone beyond. Shd [sic] lived her life well and has gone to her reward.

RESOLUTIONS.

WHEREAS, Almighty God has deemed best to call home the loving wife of our beloved brother, C. B. Rice; therefore, be it

Resolved, That we, the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, tender our heartfelt sympathy to our bereaved brother and family; and,

Resolved That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Baldwin LEDGER for publication and also be spread on the minutes of the lodge.

F. MESSINGER,
F. JOHNSON,
J, M. STARR,
Committee. [2]

Notes and comments:
If Jane died 08 Oct 1894, she could not have been buried 11 Aug 1894 as stated. That should probably read “services took place Oct. 11….”

The cemetery where her remains lie is now known as Oakwood Cemetery, marked with a red star on the map.

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Sources and credits:

Image credit: Baldwin City, Douglas Co. [Kansas, atlas map], (Philadelphia: L. H. Evert, 1887) p. 24; digital image, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection (http://www.davidrumsey.com : accessed 04 May 2014). Used via a Creative Commons license.

[1]  “Here and There.”, Baldwin Ledger (Baldwin, Kansas), 12 Oct 1894, p. 5, death notice for Jane (Mozingo) Rice.

[2]  “Obituary.”, Baldwin Ledger (Baldwin, Kansas), 19 Oct 1894, p. 3, Jane (Mozingo) Rice obituary.

Where There’s a Will…

Tracking down the Will of Morris Kelly Sheppard of Ohio on the FamilySearch website

My 3rd-great-grandfather, Samuel Fryman, allegedly born in Virginia in 1807, married as his first wife, Mary Shepherd (aka Shepard, Sheppard, Sheppards etc.) in Belmont County, Ohio in 1832. When research on this line commenced nothing was known of her birth family, siblings or early life, outside of the fact that her father was living at the time of her marriage and that the couple were both residents of Smith Township. Census households headed by Shepherd males in the vicinity suggested possibilities for further research but nothing concrete had been established.

1848-ohio-map-greenleaf-shepherd-locales-starredShepherd families can be found in the starred counties of Belmont, Morgan and Richland counties, Ohio between 1820-1847.

At a later date, I serendipitously pulled a book off the shelf at the local library and found this will abstract linking a Samuel Fryman to a Sheppard man in Richland County, Ohio, several counties and fifteen years removed from the Belmont County marriage. Here is the information from the will abstract, as entered into my genealogy software program:

SHEPPARD, MORRIS KELLY, Bloomfield Twp.     21 Jun 1847     23 Aug 1847
To Samuel Fryman, $250.00.
To Arnold Sheppard, $250.00.
To brothers and sisters Prudence, Rebecca, David, Priscilla, and John, residue of estate equally.
Witnesses: William Baskins, Francis P. Griffith. [1]

Could this be my Samuel Fryman?

I wondered if I could learn anything further by looking at the original will. My attempt to do just that failed when at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in 2005. At that time I was simply unable to locate the appropriate volume. Now that image copies of these records are available online at FamilySearch.org, I thought that I would try again.

At the main page, I clicked on the Search button, then scrolled down to the bottom of the page and clicked the United States link, which took me to the Historical Records Collections page. From the Place list on the left, I selected Ohio. Under Collections, I selected Probate & Court, which left me with a manageable list of seven collections.

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Richland County was not listed out separately, so I clicked in to the larger collection of court records called Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996. I then located Richland in the list of counties. Since I knew I was dealing with a will, and had a date of 23 Aug 1847 for when the will was probated, I selected Wills 1816-1864 vol 1/2-2.

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There are 677 images on this microfilm, so I should be able to find what I need. Volume 1/2 on FHL film 388,794 covers the years 1816-1822.

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Volume 1 on the same film covers 1849-1855.

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What about 1823-1848? Clearly, this gap in the records is what I ran into in 2005, when I quit looking. But surely, I reasoned, the author of the book on will abstracts was working off of something. This time, I advanced the images to read the information at the front of volume 1, to see if there was any explanation for this gap. That is when I found this note penned on the inside cover of the volume:

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Index for the years 1849 to 1855
to which is added

To which is added an Index to the Wills in

the Administration Records

from 1813 to 1849

Embracing all the wills in the old
Records
Made for the benefit of all whom it may
concern by John Meredith, P. J., 1859

Thank you, Judge Meredith. I scrolled forward to find the S section of the index. Eureka! There I found the index entry for the 1847 will of Morris Kelly Sheppard.

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Clicking back in to all the Richland County, Ohio probate and court records, I located the link for Administration Records, volumes 7-8.

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The index entry to the will of Morris Kelly Sheppard said it was located on p. 28, but information regarding the settlement of the estate actually starts on p. 27, filmed on frame 12 of FHL microfilm 960,100.

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Richland Co., Ohio administration of estate of Morris Kelly Sheppard, 1847. [2]

From my experience, it is rather unusual that a will would be filed in with the Administration Records when there are separate volumes for wills. That fact most likely signals that we are dealing with a special type of probate, called an Administration C.T.A. (C.T.A. being an abbreviation for a Latin term “cum testamento annexo“. Black’s Law Dictionary explains the phrase this way:

L. Lat. With the will annexed. A term applied to administration granted where a testator makes an incomplete will, without naming any executors, or where he names incapable persons, or where the executors named refuse to act. [3]

The will of Morris Kelly Sheppard was entered into the bound volume of the Administration Records and clearly shows that no executor was named. What I have not yet verified is whether all wills in Richland Co., Ohio were for some reason included in with the Administration Records between 1823 and 1848.

Sources and credits:

1848 Ohio map by Jeremiah Greenleaf, courtesy David Rumsey Historical Map Collection online at http://www.davidrumsey.com/ via a Creative Commons license.

All screenshots in this post are from the FamilySearch.org website created and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), accessed 06 Feb 2014.

[1]  Anne Lockwood Dallas Budd, Richland County, Ohio, Abstracts of Wills, 1813-1873 (Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1974), p. 71.

[2]  Richland County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, Mansfield, Administration Records vol. 7, 1844-1848 p. 27, entry for Morris Kelly Sheppard, 21 Aug 1847; digital images, “Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996.” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 06 Feb 2014), imaged from FHL microfilm 960,100.

[3]  Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, abridged 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota : West Publishing Co., 1983), p. 200.