Genealogical Research

While Hanover County was formed by an act of 1720, its complete records date only to 1865.  Many court records, particularly deeds, wills, and marriage records, were destroyed by fire in Richmond on April 3, 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the Civil War.  Other records may have been lost to vandalism during the Civil War.  Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records

Despite the losses many Hanover County records are available to genealogists and historians.  Some of the more useful ones are listed below.

Chancery Suit Papers

  • From 1831 they may include information concerning genealogy and land or estate divisions and may contain correspondence, lists of heirs, or vital statistics.  Often involve land, estate and business disputes, debt, and divorce
  • Digital copies of Hanover’s chancery suit papers for the period 1831-1913 are accessible through the Library of Virginia’s Chancery records index, so the original documents generally are not open for public inspection
  •  Chancery records index FAQ

Land Records

  • Deeds and plats recorded since 1865
  • Three volumes covering 1733-1735 and 1783-1792
  • Precessioners Book 1867-1868. Report establishing property boundary lines after the Civil War

Land Tax Records Books

Marriage Records

  • Starting in 1865 marriage registers show bride’s and groom’s names, their ages, places of birth, parents' names, groom’s occupation and marriage date
  • Marriage licenses issued 1865-1913 are awaiting conservation and generally are not open for public inspection

Freedmen's Marriage Register

  • The Marriage Register of Freedman living in Hanover Co Va, Who were Married by the Act passed by the Legislature of Virginia, February 27th 1866 lists 550 African American couples whose pre-1865 marriages were validated by action of the Virginia legislature 
  • Freedmen’s Marriage Register for a searchable PDF

Wills and fiduciary accounts

  • Wills probated and fiduciary accounts filed since 1865
  • Two volumes of miscellaneous wills dating from 1785-1904

Other resources


Forms and Documents

Freedmen Registry