Genealogical Publishing Company recently released a new CD-ROM disk: Southside Virginia Genealogies by John W. Pritchett. The disk contains a compilation of several hundred family histories, most of which are documented back to the colonial period in Southside Virginia. This week I had a chance to use the new disk for a while.
This CD is a bit unique in that it actually began life as a web site: www.Virginians.com. The original title was Virginians - The Family History of John W. Pritchett. The site grew quickly as Pritchett kept finding more and more ancestors. He then started documenting many allied families in the area. The web site soon became unwieldy with thousands of pages, each containing full source citations to the locations where the information was found. Even with all those web pages, the site still does not contain everything.
To make for faster searching and to hold even more pages, John W. Pritchett has now released his full records on CD-ROM. Southside Virginia Genealogies includes hundreds of genealogies and nearly 400 autobiographical narratives of residents of Southside Virginia-- the area of Virginia south of the James River, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and north of the North Carolina border.
I found the disk to be very easy to use. It contains one file in PDF format. This disk should work equally well on Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems. All I did was insert the disk into the CD-ROM drive, open my favorite file browser and then double-clicked on the single file. That launches Adobe Reader and a few seconds later the cover page of this e-book was displayed.
This CD does not contain scanned images of an old book. This is a modern creation, apparently written in a word processor. As a result, the author and Genealogical Publishing Company were able to create a table of contents and an "every word searchable" index.
The user may peruse the Table of Contents to look for major family groups. However, the Table of Contents obviously does not list the name of all the individuals in the families nor does it list neighbors, relatives and other people mentioned in various contexts. The Index does all that, however.
In addition, you can press Control-F to launch Adobe's FIND window and search for any word or phrase anyplace in the book. One warning, however: this isn't as good as you might think for finding individuals. For instance, you might search for the name "John Smith." However, in many places on this disk, the Smith family might be listed as:
The word search looks only for the exact text string of "John Smith." In this example, however, the word "John" is some distance from the word "Smith." As a result, a search for "John Smith" will not find the person you seek. It is far easier to find that person manually in the back-of-book index by first finding SMITH and then looking down the list of first names that follows.
The Control-F search does a great job of finding place names, however. A search for "Halifax County" soon finds every instance of those words on the CD.
I found that I could navigate around this 4,000+ pages on CD publication quickly and easily. Printing was also easy. I was able to print a single page, a group of pages or even the entire "book" on CD. One warning: when you first go to print, the default is to print all 4,045 pages. Make sure you change that to just the page(s) you want before you click on OK!
The numbers associated with this disk are impressive:
- 56,700 endnotes
- 67,000 citations
- references to about 10,000 marriages, 9,000 wills, 10,000 deeds, 3,800 land patents and grants, and 5,000 census reports
- notes on more than 1,000 members of the Virginia legislature and 230 members of Congress
- notes on hundreds of veterans of the Revolution and the Civil War
- a full-name index that contains more than 90,000 entries
Even with huge numbers like these, this CD-ROM disk does not list all the members of all the families of Southside Virginia. The author estimates that the CD-ROM disk lists about 45% of the residents appearing in specific county tithable lists of colonial Henrico, Chesterfield, and Amelia counties.
The following is a list of the principal surnames covered:
Abbott, Abernathy, Abney, Adams, Allen, Anderson, Archer, Atkinson, Austin, Ba(I)ley, Bagley, Bagwell, Baker, Ballow, Banister, Barber, Barrow, Baskerville, Bass, Batte, Batty, Baugh, Beauchamp, Belfield, Berkeley, Bevill, Biddlecomb, Billups, Binford, Blackman, Blanton, Blunt, Boisseau, Booker, Borum, Bott, Bottom, Bouldin, Bowman, Branch, Brasseur, Briggs, Brodnax, Browder, Brown(e), Bruce, Burton, Butler, Cabanis, Cabell, Carleton, Carr, Carrington, Carter, Cave, Chappell, Cheatham, Chisum, Christopher, Clack, Claiborne, Clarke, Clary, Clay, Clement, Cocke, Cole, Cook, Cousins, Cox, Craddock, Crawley, Cross, Dance, Daniel, DeJarnette, Dennis, Dickenson, Dickson, Dortch, Dupuy, DuVal, Echols, Edloe, Edmundson, Edwards, Eggleston, Elam, Eldridge, Ellington, Elmore, Embry, Epes, Evans, Farmer, Farrar, Featherstone, Feild, Finney, Fitzgerald, Flood, Ford, Fowlkes, Fox, Friend, Fry, Garland, Gee, George, Giles, Gilliam, Gillintine, Glascock, Goode, Green(e), Gunn, Guthrey, Hall, Hammock, Hampton, Hancock, Hardaway, Harris, Harrison, Harvey, Harwood, Haskins, Hatcher, Hatchett, Hicks, Hil(l)sman, Hill, Hooper, Howlett, Hubbard, Hudson, Hunnicutt, Isbell, Jackson, Jacobus, Jefferson, Jeffress, Jennings, Jeter, Johns, Jones, Jordan, Kelly, Kennon, Knight, Knowles, Laffoon, Lambert, League, Lewis, Ligon, Lilley, Lockett, Logwood, Lound, Mabry, Maclin, Mallory, Manly, Manly, Marchbanks, Markham, Marshall, Mayo, McGehee, Mitchell, Moody, Moore, Morgan, Morton, Moseley, Motley, Mumford, Munford, Muse, Nash, Neal, Nicholson, Oldham, Oliver, Osborne, Overton, Owen, Parker, Patram, Pemberton, Penick, Penick, Perkinson, Perrin, Peterson, Petty, Price, Pride, Pritchett, Pulliam, Quarles, Raines, Randolph, Rawlings, Read, Roberts, Robertson, Robinson, Rogers, Rowlett, Ruffin, Russell, Scarborough, Scott, Seay, Sheppey, Sherman, Simmons, Skerme, Skipwith, Smith, Snead, Sparrow, Stewart, Stone, Stratton, Stuart, Swepson, Sydnor, Tanner, Tarpley, Tatum, Thweatt, Tinsley, Traylor, Trent, Turpin, Tyus, Vaden, Vaughan, Walker, Wallace, Walthall, Ward, Watkins, Watson, Webber, Westmoreland, White, Wil(l)son, Wilkes, Winn, Wood, Woodson, Wooldridge, Worsham, Wynne, and Yarbrough.
This is an impressive work, representing many thousands of hours of labor by an expert genealogist. The 4,000+ pages are lavishly documented with source citations. In short, this is the way genealogy should be done. If I had Southside Virginia ancestry, I would be spending many hours investigating all sorts of possibilities on this CD-ROM disk!
I can only guess how much this information would cost if published on paper. With 4,045 pages, you might have to buy a new bookcase just to hold all the volumes. Assuming about 500 pages per volume, this could be an eight-volume set of books with expensive cost of publication.
Southside Virginia Genealogies by John W. Pritchett is available on a half-ounce CD-ROM disk for $39.99 plus the appropriate shipping charges and tax, if any. When compared to printed books, the CD-ROM disk is cheaper and easier to ship, to store, or to search for individual words. Southside Virginia Genealogies can be ordered online via a safe and secure shopping cart system.
To learn more about Southside Virginia Genealogies by John W. Pritchett or to order it online, go to http://www.genealogical.com/products/Southside%20Virginia%20Genealogies/7540.html