This week I had a chance to scan through a massive book entitled, Adventures of Purse and Person - Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Volume One, Families A-F. This is obviously a detailed reference. After all, it requires 1,248-pages just to cover the first six letters of the alphabet!
In fact, this is the fourth edition of one of the standard reference works of family histories in the early days of Virginia. The Fourth Edition is edited by John Frederick Dorman, one of the best-known authorities on Virginia genealogy. This new edition extends the lines of descent of the founding families of Virginia from four generations to six, bringing most families down to the Revolutionary or early Federal periods.
The Founding Families of Virginia refers to approximately 150 individuals who can be identified as (1) Adventurers of Purse (i.e. stockholders in the Virginia Company of London) who either came to Virginia in the period 1607-1625 and had descendants or who did not come to Virginia within that period but whose grandchildren were residents there; or (2) Adventurers of Person, 1607-1625 (i.e. immigrants to Virginia) who left descendants. Descendants of these original settlers today number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.
This book is based on the “Muster” of January-February 1624/25 as well as on later documents. The "Muster" is a census taken by the Royal Commission which succeeded the Virginia Company. In the Muster (which is reproduced in Volume One), the name of each colonist appears with the location of his home and the number in his family, together with information about his stock of food, his supply of arms and ammunition, his boats, houses, and livestock.
Here is an example of one such listing, edited slightly to fit the format of this newsletter:
Location: Paces Paines, James Citty (or "city," now called Jamestown)
John Proctor came in the Seaventure 1607
Allis his wife in the George 1621
Richard Grove aged 30 yeres in the George 1623
Edward Smith aged 20 in the George 1621
William Nayle aged 15 in the Ann 1623
Corne, 126 bushells; Meale, 2 bushells; Oatmeale, 5 bushells; Fish, ½ hundred; Powder, 22 lb; Peeces, 3 and 2 pistolls & 2 petronells; Lead, 45 lb; Armours, 5; Neat Cattell, 7 and 5 Calves; Swine, 9; Houses, 2; Boat, 1.
NOTE: A "peece" is a musket and a petronelle is a larger although still portable firearm of large caliber, similar to a carbine.
The above list shows the age of each person and the name of the ship in which they arrived. In all, about 1,200 persons are named in the Muster, of whom approximately 150 are known to have left descendants to the sixth generation. Most scholars agree that the total population of Jamestown between 1607 and 1625 was about 7,000, so by 1624/5 only about one-seventh of the colonists had survived the harsh conditions of Virginia.
While the Muster was perhaps the most important genealogical document, many other sources were consulted for the creation of this reference. Quoting from the publisher's Web site:
In addition to the Muster, this work builds on the investigations of dozens of scholars, correcting, revising, and supplementing the best genealogical scholarship of the past half century. New discoveries, newly available information, and a further reevaluation of evidence concerning previously accepted relationships have led, in some instances, to wholesale changes in the accepted genealogies. In consequence, this fourth edition brings together the results of all the most recent scholarship on these families, expanding the limits of what is presently known and opening up possibilities for research beyond the sixth generation.
Volume One covers fifty-two families: Andrews, Bagwell, Baley-Cocke, Barkham-Jenings, Barne, Bates, Bayly, Beheathland, Bennett (Edward), Bennett (Samuel), Bennett-Chapman, Bernard, Bibby, Bickley, Bland, Boyce, Boyle-Mountney, Branch, Buck, Burwell, Bush, Calthorpe, Calvert, Carsley, Carter, Chaplaine, Chew, Chisman, Claiborne, Clay, Clements, Cobb, Codrington, Cole, Cope, Cox, Crew, Croshaw, Crump, Curtis, Davis, Dawson, Delk, Digges, Edloe, Epes, Evelyn, Farrar, Fisher, Fleet, Flood, Freeman.
Over 7,800 individual descendants resident in Virginia (or subsequently in other states) are identified. The information in this book is supported by 10,000 footnote citations to manuscripts or published records.
Best of all, the back-of-book index contains 19,000 name, place, and subject entries.
Adventures of Purse and Person - Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Volume One, Families A-F was edited by John Frederick Dorman. Again, quoting from the publisher's Web site:
John Frederick Dorman has edited The Virginia Genealogist since 1955. He has also compiled seventy-eight volumes of abstracts of colonial Virginia records and fifty-one volumes of Revolutionary War records, and as if that were not enough to establish his credentials as Virginia’s foremost genealogist, he has also compiled and published genealogies of the Robertson, Farish, Preston, Claiborne, Epes, and Sebrell families. A Certified Genealogist since 1965, and a former President and Executive Director of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Mr. Dorman is a Fellow of the prestigious fifty-member American Society of Genealogists and a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society and Virginia Genealogical Society. With his long and distinguished career in Virginia genealogy, Mr. Dorman now brings his experience to bear on Virginia’s most celebrated collection of genealogies.
This is perhaps the best reference available for early Virginia families. It is the first in a series of books that every genealogy library should have. I suspect these books will also end up in many private libraries as well.
Adventures of Purse and Person - Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Volume One, Families A-F is published by Genealogical Publishing Company and sells for $89.50 U.S. funds. It is available directly from the publisher's Web site via a safe and secure shopping cart system. Look at http://www.genealogical.com/item_detail.asp?afid=&ID=1496.
You also should be able to order the book from most any bookstore by specifying ISBN 0806317442.