Last week my friend Neva and I went to the Library of Virginia in Richmond with a specific list of documents to find in order to get closer to the golden prize of membership in the Fort Nelson Chapter of the Virginia DAR. We always joke that we actually go for lunch - the research is secondary.
It has been far too long since I last visited the library. Hallelujah the LVA has upgraded the machines for viewing microfilm. We used to use machines that look like this:
|from Google Images|
It’s not that they were difficult to use. Just cumbersome. If you wanted a copy of an image, you had to rewind the film, take it off the machine and move to another machine, fast forward to the desired image, insert your library debit card hoping all the while you still had enough money on it, and print. Likely the paper was 16x20. If the film was scratched or faded, the copy was too.
But the new machines are miracles of tweaking goodness:
|from Google Images|
You still wind the film on the same way, but you stay put and save an image to your flash drive. You can zoom, change the contrast, brighten or darken, switch black images with white writing to white images with black writing, and capture as much or as little of the image as you want. No more sliding dollars into a machine in exchange for a barely readable document.
Can I get an Amen?
On this trip, I was able to find AND download
- A Rockbridge County, Virginia marriage bond for my great-great grandparents Mitchell Davis and Martha Ann Willson (which gave me her father’s name: Samuel). Mitchell was the grandson of my patriot, Leonard Davis Sr.
- A Rockingham County, Virginia birth register for Walter Davis which named his parents, Mitchell and Martha Ann Davis
- A Greene County, Virginia marriage register for Walter Davis and Mary Frances Jollett, which named both of their parents
None of the information was new (except Martha’s father’s name), but all documents are necessary for actual proof of lineage.
I was disappointed that I did not find a couple pieces of information that SHOULD have been in the library. First of all, Vogt & Kethley’s Albemarle County Marriage Records contains an abstract of the marriage record for Leonard Davis and Mary Marshall; however, I did not find it in the Albemarle microfilm. While I was hoping to see the record, the fact is I really don’t even need it. Leonard has already been proven as a patriot, so the various details of his birth, marriage, and death are already on record with the DAR.
My challenge will be to prove Leonard had a son Leonard Jr. who married Fanny Wyant and had a son named Mitchell. Neva found an index for a marriage record in Rockingham County. Based on some old research, I had Orange County in my notes but was glad for confirmation of the error. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the actual marriage record nor did I find birth or death records for Leonard Jr.
Lastly, I didn’t find a death certificate for Walter Davis. I will check on this again. It’s possible that death certificates for Page County, Virginia in 1934 carried over to a second roll of microfilm. Maybe I simply overlooked it in my haste.
So the hunt to connect the chain from Mitchell to Leonard Sr. continues. Sounds like Neva and I need to start planning another
lunch research trip.