I realized quickly, with the lack of records for my family, that I’d really have to “think outside the box”. I LOVE to interview people, and ask about "the older days" in Mecklenburg. I also study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try help preserve some of those memories people share with me. Feel free to sign my guestbook stating surnames you are looking for, who you're related to etc. Always a work in progress, a work that I truly love!

17 October 2016

Finding plats (and lost records) in Mecklenburg, Virginia

There is a plat book in the Mecklenburg Courthouse. But I found an even better source of plats, and that's in chancery records. At first I only pulled chancery cases for my family. Then I decided I wanted more plats to try to match up. When you are searching for chanceries, you can see if the case has a plat (or will) or not. If someone died without a will, and the land is being divided or sold, usually a plat is included in the case. The chancery cases are excellent because you get a plat, and notations about family members still living at the time of the case. Names, maiden names, spouse, etc.

Here is the direct link to LVA (Library of Virginia) to search chancery cases: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/
This is the screen you'll see. I usually type just a surname in the bottom set, that says surnames. That will do the search for if they are plaintiff, defendant or anything else like a witness or deposition. The box I highlighted yellow is for plats. My last two trips to LVA, I just copied the plats from 5 cases, because they were neighbors to my family.

Newman Dortch and father in law James Speed plat

Previous Newman Dortch post-click here
I went to the courthouse to try to find more about this James Speed and his land. I did not have any luck. No will, and I couldn't find him in land records, even though this chancery case describes the land he owned in the case and references his will. This I believe, if I understood correctly is the sort of things in the Lost Record Collection. Wills, plats, land that were copied for the case where the original is now lost. The chancery case wills and plats were originally a copy, but now they might be the only version left.
Here is a link to more information regarding the Lost record collection and the database search for this this collection:  http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/lost

PS There is no Courthouse Road in Mecklenburg. I'm still trying to learn what the real name of the road on this plat is.