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The Library of Virginia is pleased to welcome the National Genealogical Society 2014 Family History Conference to Richmond, Virginia, 7-10 May. If you’re inspired to start researching your own family tree, the Library of Virginia is a great place to start. In addition to our collections that contain a wealth of Virginia records, we offer guides on how to begin your genealogical research and on the genealogical resources available here at the library.

Chancery causes are great sources of genealogical information, and some even provide the names of numerous generations of family members. The following is an example uncovered using the LVA’s Chancery Records Index.

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Four generations of the Osborne and Friend families of Chesterfield County can be found in Administrator of Thomas O. Taylor vs. John Metcalfe, etc., Chesterfield County Chancery Cause 1867-065. This suit concerns the estate of Thomas O. Taylor, who died without issue, brothers, or sisters in Powhatan County in 1835. The 1850 amended bill of complaint for this cause concerns the living next-of-kin who were entitled to Thomas O. Taylor’s estate.

Taylor was an only child, and his parents were deceased.  His father, Thomas A. Taylor, was from England and the court did not attempt to find any of his next-of-kin.  It followed that the brothers and sisters of his mother, Martha Osborne Taylor, were considered Thomas O. Taylor’s next-of-kin. However, his mother’s sister, Ann, and brothers, Thomas and Francis, also died without issue, leaving no one living in that generation to take part in this chancery cause.   It was necessary to move back yet another generation to the descendants of brothers and sisters of Taylor’s maternal grandfather, Thomas Osborne, and maternal grandmother, Frances Friend Osborne. Their living descendants became the defendants in this chancery cause.

A list of all of Thomas O. Taylor’s next-of-kin that were known to Higginson Hancock, administrator of the Taylor estate, in the year 1850 is found in the bill of complaint.

Scores of government records, most kept for solely legal or bureaucratic purposes, reside at the Library of Virginia. Like Taylor v. Metcalfe, these materials may contain a host of useful genealogical clues and biographical information. As we like to say around here, anyone with a Virginia connection (and even many without) can find their history at the Library of Virginia. We hope that the 2014 Family History Conference attendees will be successful in finding theirs.

– Louise Jones, Local Records Archivist

Louise Jones

Former Local Records Archivist

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