Vestry Records and Genealogy

If you’ve never heard the term “vestry” used in genealogy (specifically in regards to records or minutes used to record important information in churches), you should take a look at this article that Lloyd Bockstruck wrote in the Dallas Morning News.

Vestry records provide helpful data

In rural Virginia, boundaries between plantation owners were vague, and that led to disputes between adjoining property owners. In an effort to maintain harmony and to avoid clogging the courts with suits seeking to settle such conflicts, the vestry routinely walked the bounds of every property owner in the parish. The minutes of their perambulations constitute a veritable census of the inhabitants by neighborhood. By comparing these processionings, one can infer the time of death of a landowner, identify his widow or discover the names of sons who inherited the real estate.

Very valuable records, and probably overlooked by many (although in all fairness, as the article points out, they are very rare).

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