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An Index to the Virginia Reports from Jefferson to 33rd Grattan, Both Inclusive with a Complete Table of Cases
Index to the Virginia Reports from Jefferson to 33rd Grattan, Both Inclusive with a Complete Table o
Product Code: US0386
Number of CDs: 1
Qty in Cart: none

An understanding of the law concerning a given event, whether it is inheritance, ownership of property, legitimacy of offspring or citizenship, is often necessary to correctly interpret the information in a document. Determining what law was in effect can be a difficult task, determining how a particular law should be interpreted and applied an even more difficult task. Legislation by governing bodies establishes the law, but it is interpreted in the courts. Case law as described in the Virginia Law Reports explains how a law should be applied under specific conditions. Finding these descriptions can be difficult and usually requires, at the very least, a trip to a major law library and access to historical index databases.

This volume provides a short cut. It contains both a subject index and a plaintiff/defendant index to the reported decisions of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the General Court, and the High Court of Chancery of Virginia; and, also, of the decisions of the Special Court of Appeals reported in the two volumes of Patton Jr. and Heath's reports. In essence it is a subject index to cases brought before Virginia's major appeal courts (where most case law is established) from the establishment of state government through 1880 as well as for those few colonial cases which survive in published reports.

The subject index includes a number of topics of interest to the genealogist including alien, apprentice, children, descent, devisee, distribution, dower, emancipation, femme covert, gaming, grand juror, grant, guardian, infant, land, settlement rights, slaves, tax sales, and widows. Other subjects include companies such as the James River Company, Greenbrier Land Company, Northern Neck of Virginia, and Northwestern Turnpike; and topics such as oysters, Confederate money, and mills. A small sample of the types of topics covered in these cases includes

    When indenture executed by father without child's consent is void;
    When child of an illegitimate child may inherit through his mother from her father;
    When can an illegitimate child takes under a will equally with legitimate children;
    When a posthumous child is entitled to share of real estate;
    Slaves considered real estate in cases of descent;
    Slaves belonging to widow as dower belong to second husband during her life;
    When slaves emancipated by will, though sold under execution, may sue in equity for         freedom;
    Deed of femme covert, to be valid, must be executed by husband also;
    Infant femme covert not bound by deed;
    When femme covert holding real estate by deed or will can only dispose of it as pointed out in instrument;
    When Indians might and might not be slaves;
    What terminates a guardianship;
    Lease of ward's land by guardian for longer term than ward's infancy is void;
    Marriage settlement made by infant through father or guardian, is binding;
    When aliens cannot inherit in Virginia;
    When forfeiture of land for taxes becomes complete;
    Difference between settlement rights and a preemption;
    What words in a will give a fee simple estate;
    When persons take per capita and not per stirpes;    
    What words in a will create an estate tail;
    Case of devisee having left illegitimate children;

Once a topic of interest is discovered, the next step is to acquire access to the volume containing the report. Most major research and university law libraries have either print or microfiche copies of these early Virginia law reports. The partnership between the Virginia Genealogical Society and Archive CD Books USA will soon make them available as fully searchable digital images as well.

Summary by Barbara Vines Little, CG
for Archive CD Books USA


The CD includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data on this CD is completely self-contained, and requires no installation.

An Index to the Virginia Reports from Jefferson to 33rd Grattan, Both Inclusive with a Complete Table of Cases
Price: $19.95

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