General Court judges also presided over district courts established in , which heard appeals from common law cases in the county. The General Court was abolished by the state constitution, and its functions were transferred to the state supreme court of appeals.
There has been no other court of final appeals since the abolishment of the General Court in Since the state supreme court of appeals was created in , it has had final jurisdiction in all civil cases. The Superior Courts of Chancery replaced this court in In , three more districts were formed: Wythe County, Winchester, and Clarksburg.
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Greenbrier County and Lynchburg were established in The district courts were held in the same location two times per year. In, the superior courts of law replaced the district courts. A general court judge rode a circuit throughout his district to hold court, so it was also known as the circuit court. The circuit superior courts of law and chancery took over this role in They assumed the roles of the superior courts of law and the superior courts of chancery. These courts were abolished by the state constitution in and replaced by the circuit courts. Since when county court provisions were eliminated, the Circuit Courts have been the only court of record in Virginia.
The Library of Virginia keeps original court records. The state library and the Virginia FHL both hold microfilmed copies of records before Many abstracts of early court records are being published. Original documents are always the most reliable, but they are not always in the best condition. In the case of lost or damaged originals, printed transcripts can be helpful, as long as the researcher recognizes the limitations of such sources. The largest collections of printed manuscripts are at the FHL and Library of Virginia, but other libraries have smaller collections.
The original charter given to the Virginia Company included provisions for land grants.
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These grants were given to planters settlers and adventurers investors. In , revisions were made, specifying that all lands were to be held in common for seven years. After that time period, planters received 50 acres and investors received acres. By , planters who were especially industrious were rewarded with three acre plots. The success of tobacco led many planters to include it in their fields. When the charter was reorganized in , four boroughs were established with designated public land in each. Land within each borough could be granted by the governor and council. One copy of each patent was retained for company records, and another copy was made and given as proof of title to the grantee.
In , when Virginia became a royal colony, it was governed by crown-appointed governors.
It took many years for the Privy Council to give him the power to do so, but in grants totaling millions of acres were made. This right was usually claimed the person who paid for the travel. However, these headrights could be bought or sold. Some sold their headrights for money to get established in the new world.
There is a record generated for most of the steps of the patenting process. This served as proof of the number of headrights claimed. Each right was taken to the county surveyor to create a plat. All of these papers were then returned to the secretary. The secretary made one copy of the patent to retain for records. A second copy was made to be signed by the governor, sealed, and delivered to the patentee. A patentee was given three years from the date of issue to seat and plant the land.
The requirement to plant could be met by cultivating one acre or building a house and keeping livestock. If a patent was given to an orphan, he was given until three years passed the age of majority to possess and plant it.http://siva-mont.siva-group.eu/map58.php
Sometimes an extension on this three year period would be granted if the widow petitioned the county court. The need to incentivize immigration subsided by the end of the seventeenth century. The treasury right was created to allow purchase of land by native Virginians. Anyone could purchase a land right to fifty acres for five shillings. The treasury right was the primary method of land patent by See also The Virginia Land Office online at.
Data and Reports
If you are researching grants and deeds, you will find the following information easily: original patents and land grants from —; survey plats from —; Northern Neck the area between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers land grants from — ; Northern Neck surveys from — and —; land warrants from —; and miscellaneous land records from — The Library of Virginia keeps original land office records.
You can search an online index of land patents through the Library of Virginia for land patents issued prior to ; land grants issued by the Virginia Land Office after ; grants issued in the Northern Neck from —; and original and recorded Northern Neck surveys — These grants are listed chronologically. Abstracts of many patents have been published.
County, town, or independent city deed books were used to record land purchase transactions. However, many people are excluded from these books because they rented or leased their land. Most of these books have individual indexes, with general indexes existing for grantees and grantors in each city or county.
County clerks have deed copies, but most records from before are at the Library of Virginia and the FHL on microfilm. See Also Guide to U. Land Records Research. Civil courts on the county level handle estate records in Virginia, unless it is an independent city, where the circuit court hears probate cases. These records can include wills, administrations, guardianships, inventories, appraisals, and settlements. In colonial times, the written and common laws of England also applied in Virginia. There were two laws that related to probate matters: primogeniture and the right of dower.
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Under primogeniture, entire estates were kept whole, especially if it was land, and it would be passed from eldest son to eldest son. Sometimes that portion would be split equally with the surviving children. This right was confirmed by the House of Burgesses in If there were one or two children, the widow was given the right to one-third of the property, but if there were three children or more the inheritance right was split equally with the children. This applied to both personal property and real estate, and she could not be disinherited.
There are three different locations for researching probate records. Attorney General Michael A. Delaney issued the following consumer alert to all New Hampshire property owners:. Consumers should be aware of mailings being sent to property owners throughout the state from companies using the names:. Click here for more information. Please note that you may obtain a copy of your deed from the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds for the cost of two or three dollars.
Town location Physical Location is required on each document. Return postage or self addressed stamped envelope must be included if being returned by mail. Checks should be made payable to Cheshire County Registry of Deeds. See recording fees page for new information Recording Fees.