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The Library of Virginia, in partnership with the Frederick County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, is pleased to announce that the digitization of Frederick County’s historic chancery causes, 1860-1912, is now complete. Both the index and images are available to researchers via the Chancery Records Index on the LVA’s Virginia Memory site.

The Frederick County chancery collection covers the years 1745 through 1926 (with digital images posted from 1860 through 1912). The chancery, or equity cases, are a valuable source of local, state, social, and legal history and serve as a primary source for understanding a locality’s history.

Buggy advertisements

Frederick County Chancery Cause Columbia Wagon Co. vs. John G. Crisman & Co., etc., 1903-058.

They often contain correspondence, property lists (including slaves), lists of heirs, and vital statistics that reveal details that help tell the story of Virginia. Cases contain useful biographical, genealogical, and historical information and document a broad spectrum of citizens—rich and poor, black and white, slave and free.

Frederick County Chancery Cause 1867-007Administrator of Hiram A. Jordan vs. Margaret Swann, etc., tells the story of how prior to the Civil War, Catherine Jordan, a free African-American, purchased her husband, Sylvester, but never technically freed him, and their son who attempted to buy his wife. Chancery cause 1899-058Board of Supervisors of Frederick County, etc. vs. City of Winchester, etc. chronicles a dispute over whether the city or the county controlled the court house property they shared. The city wanted to turn a portion of the property into a park. The county wanted to continue to use the area as a parking lot for horse drawn wagons. Chancery Cause 1903-058Columbia Wagon Co. vs. John G. Crisman & Co., etc., includes an advertisement booklet with images and descriptions of several different wagons and buggies. Cases are often humorous, such as chancery cause 1871-010, a divorce case in which a witness recalled that Rebecca J. Jacobs referred to her husband as a “nasty, dirty, stinking, ill begotten, turkey trotting, fly blown, maggot eaten, son of a gun.”

The Frederick County Chancery Causes, 1860-1912, join the growing list of localities whose chancery causes have been preserved and made available through the Library’s innovative Circuit Court Records Preservation Program (CCRP). Frederick County chancery causes, 1745-1859, were processed in the 1990s and are available on microfilm. Chancery causes, 1913-1926, are available in their original format at the Library of Virginia.

-Sam Walters, Former Local Records Archivist

Sam Walters

Former Local Records Archivist


  • margaret says:

    Are the Frederick Chancery cases 1745-1859 going to be digitized and placed online? It would be so nice! Not everyone lives in Richmond or even in Virginia with access to the microfilm.

    • Bari says:

      We have no immediate plans to digitize the pre-1860 Frederick Co. chancery. The Circuit Court Records Preservation Program is focusing its efforts on localities whose records have not undergone preservation reformatting. The pre-1860 Frederick chancery has been reformatted to microfilm, and they will not be scanned until digitization is complete for other unreformatted chancery collections. The Frederick Co. microfilm is available through inter-library loan, and you don’t have to live in Virginia to access these materials via ILL through your local library.
      Thanks for reading the blog!

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