Long out of print and virtually unknown, this index provides access to a major source of information for post colonial Virginia -- the public and private laws of the Commonwealth. While many will find the private laws -- those that granted divorce, established a pension for a veteran who didn't qualify under current law, paid individuals for goods and services, allowed a free Negro to remain in Virginia contrary to law or provided relief to individuals who sought exemption or special treatment in regard to everything from inheritance to an inconveniently placed road, others will find the ability to track the changes in tax or inheritance law, the requirements regarding militia duty or any of the items that came under the authority of the General Assembly the most valuable.
Researchers will find multiple pages devoted to topics like the militia and taxes; however, the bulk of the index references individuals, institutions and jurisdictions. A recapitulation of a portion of a single page demonstrates the range of topics cover by these bills -- topics include the incorporation of the Luray Institute, the Lyell Coal and Salt Company and the Luray and Front Royal Turnpike Company, the establishment of the Town of Lynchburg, authorization for commissioners to convey a tract of land to John Luster, the Lutheran and German Reformed Church to sell a tract of land and John Lynch to build a bridge across the James River, the vesting of the land of Mary Cooper in Philip Lutz, Elizabeth Lynch's divorce from her husband James, the exemption of William Lynch from the payment of taxes and the provision of unstated relief to Jacob Lynch. Details for these events are found in the actual laws which can be found on microfilm at major libraries throughout the U.S.
Although the index provides both the session date, i.e., 1814/15 and a page number, the page number is keyed to the original bills enrolled on single sheets of parchment and not to the published version. Once the session date is determined researchers can use the index in that volume to get to the proper page. Although getting to the proper bill requires this two step process, the ability to search a single volume in order to determine what laws were passed and when they were passed rather than the over 130 individual indexes is still of value beyond measure.
Summary by Barbara Vines Little, CG
for Archive CD Books USA
This electronic book includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 4 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data files are completely self-contained, and require no installation.