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A brief guide to genealogical resources in the University of Virginia Library.

Finding County Records

To find the majority of VIRGO records on a particular county in Virginia, use the VIRGO Advanced Search as follows:

  1. Go to VIRGO, the UVa Library's online catalog, at
  2. You should see a search box in the middle of the screen. In this box, click on Catalog Advanced.
  3. In the Catalog Advanced Search form, go down to the Subject search, and in the box next to it, type the name of the county enclosed by double quotation marks. (For example, "Prince William County" or "Frederick Parish".) The quotation marks are to limit the search to those words next to each other in the subject field.

The subject headings are standardized in VIRGO, so one search should get all the records on a particular county. However, if there are multiple spellings of a county's name, or if the county's name was changed, i.e., Frederick Parish to Frederick County, try each variant.

Finding Vital Records

Searching VIRGO for secondary materials on vital records

The University Library does not generally collect vital records information. There is some genealogical information of this sort (Bibles, newspapers, family records) in the Small Special Collections Library, but it is not collected in a systematic way.

The Library does have some printed books that contain vital records information that has been transcribed from the courthouse records of various counties. To find these records, check under the Library of Congress (LC) subject headings below:

  • Registers of births, etc.
  • Marriage records
  • Obituaries

You can specify the location by state alone, or by state and county or city:

  • Registers of births, etc.--Virginia--Albemarle County
  • Marriage records--Virginia--Albemarle County
  • Obituaries--Virginia--Charlottesville

A better source for this secondary material is the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society Library, located in the McIntire Library Building downtown.

Tips on Finding Genealogical Information in VIRGO

We've tried to collect information on this tab on how to use VIRGO, the UVa Library online catalog, for genealogical research. In the center of this page are several sections on subject headings and other useful information about VIRGO that can help you.

VIRGO holds bibliographic records for most of the materials in the University Library system. This includes books, audio/visual materials, government documents after 1976, and materials in the Special Collections Library.

The records for the Special Collections materials are generally on the collection level, not the item level. In order to find out the specific materials in many of our collections, go to the Virginia Heritage Database in which you can search by keyword through materials in the collections. For materials not in the Virginia Heritage Database, you will need to go to the Special Collections Library and use the guides to the collections available on site.