Alexandria (Independent City), Virginia Genealogy

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United States
Alexandria (Independent City)
Alexandria, Virginia
—  Independent City  —
Founded 1847

County Information


The City of Alexandria is located in the Northern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is included in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Alexandria was named for John Alexander to whom it was sold shortly after 1669[1].


Alexandria County, Virginia Courthouse.JPG

For additional records, see Fairfax County, Virginia.


  • First settlement established in 1695. Named for Capt. Philip Alexander. Alexandria was not incorporated until 1779.
  • In 1755, General Edward Braddock organized his fatal expediation against Fort Duquesne (near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) at Carlyle House.
  • April 1755, the governors of Virginia, and the Provinces of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York met to determine concerted action against the French in America.
  • 1791, Alexandria was included in an area chosen by George Washington to become the District of Columbia. Alexandria along with Arlington County were retroceded back to Virginia in 1846.
  • City of Alexandria was re-chartered in 1852.
  • 1828-1836, Alexandria was home to the Franklin and Armfield slave market.
  • During the Civil War, the slave pen owned by Price, Birch & Co. became a jail under Union occupation.
  • Alexandria was occupied by the Federal troops at the start of the Civil War and remained occupied until the end of the war.
  • 1863 (when West Virginia was divided from Virginia) until end of the Civil War, Alexandria was the seat of the Restored Government of Virginia.
  • 1870, the City of Alexandria became independent of Alexandria County. The rest of Alexandria County became Arlington County in 1920, ending years of confusion.

Parent County

1847--Alexandria was created 13 March 1847 from Fairfax County. [2]


Populated Places

Arlandria . Del Rey . Hume. The Landmark . Mount Ida . North Ridge . Old Town . Saint Elmo . Seminary Hill . Seminary West . Town of Potomac (1930) . The Berg . West End . West of Quaker


Research Guides

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Alexandria County [Arlington County]," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1959):126-129. Available at New England Ancestors ($).
  • Ray, Suzanne Smith. *"Genealogical Research in the Records of Alexandria City and Arlington County," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Jul.-Aug. 1984):1. Available at FHL; digital version at Virginia Genealogical Society website.

African Americans


For a more detailed list, including addresses, phone numbers, and external links, see Alexandria, Virginia Cemeteries

The following is a list of cemeteries in Alexandria:[3]

  • Alexandria National Cemetery
  • Ivy Hill Cemetery
  • Saint Mary's Cemetery
  • Shuters Hill Cemetery


  • "Alexandria, Virginia, Second Ward, 1799 Census," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Jul-Sep. 1960):117-124; Vol. 4, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1960):163-170. Available at New England Ancestors ($). [Often includes head of households' occupations and names and occupations of boarders.]
  • "Alexandria, Virginia, Fourth Ward, 1800 Census," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1960):51-59. Available at New England Ancestors ($).
1890 Union Veterans


  • The Truro Parish Colonial Vestry Book (1732-1785) and the proceedings of the Overseers of the Poor (1787-1802). Digitized images available online at Truro Parish Colonial Vestry Minutes.


Chancery Court
  • Indexed images of Alexandria, Virginia Chancery Records 1859-1925 are available online through Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index. These records, often concerned with inheritance disputes, contain a wealth of genealogical information.[4]


  • [Page] Rutherford, Dolores Crumrine. Page Family Records in Virginia Counties. 2 vols. Carmichael, Calif.: D.C. Rutherford, 1982-2006. FHL Book 929.273 P141rdc v. 2 [Alexandria appears in Vol. 2 Part 1]
  • [Page] Rutherford, Dolores Crumrine. The Page Family in Virginia Personal Property Taxes (1782-1850). 2 vols. Carmichael, Calif.: D.C. Rutherford, 2002. FHL Book 929.273 P141rd v. 1-2 [Alexandria appears in Vol. 2]


  • Coldham, Peter Wilson. "Intercepted Letters Relating to America, 1777-1811" The Genealogist, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Fall 2000):184-200. [Overseas contacts of the residents of Alexandria with the following surnames: Hamilton, Taylor.]
  • Edwards, Conley L. "Abstracts of Reports of Aliens, Alexandria County, 1801-1832," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1979):112-116; Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1980):172-176. Available at New England Ancestors ($).

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding a total of 1 British alien living in Alexandria.[5]


Arlington CountyFairfax CountyPrince George's CountyVA ALEXANDRIA IND CITY.PNG
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French and Indian War
  • Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. Available at FHL. [Identifies some Alexandria militia officers, soldier enlistments, and veterans; see place name index.]
War of 1812
  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Governnment Printing Office, 1883. FHL Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, Virginia, Alexandria County, pp. 59-60]
Civil War

Since Alexandria was created in 1847, the Civil War records for that area will be in the city of Alexandria. During the Civil War men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their area.



Fairfax County Historical Newspaper Index (1785-2000 nonconsecutive) index only - Free; includes:

  • Alexandria Gazette (1785-1788; July 25, 1854-December 31, 1855; and May 3, 1860-January 20, 1865)
  • Arlington County Record (1932-1933)
  • Fairfax City Times (1961-1968)
  • Fairfax County Independent (1929-1932)
  • Fairfax Herald (1886-1973)
  • Fairfax News (1872-1875)
  • Fairfax News - Herndon Observer (1925-1943)
  • The Local News (1861-1862)
  • The Rambler, Washington Star (1912-1928)
  • Reston Times (1965-1973; 1975-January 6, 1977; 1978; 1980-1983; 1985; and 2000)
  • 1784-1915 - Obituary Notices from the Alexandria Gazette, 1784-1915. Rev. ed. Willow Bend Books.
Scanned Newspapers

Indexed images of the Virginia Gazette (1736-1780) are available online through the Colonial Williamsburg website. In addition, Professor Tom Costa and The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia have created a database of all runaway advertisements for slaves, indentured servants, transported convicts, and ship deserters listed in this source and other Virginia newspapers (1736-1803), see: The Geography of Slavery in Virginia. These newspapers are valuable resources for all regions of Virginia.


  • Cutten, George Barton. The Silversmiths of Virginia (Together with Watchmakers and Jewelers) from 1694 to 1850. Richmond, Va.: The Dietz Press, Incorporated, 1952. Available at FHL. [Includes a section on Alexandria silversmiths.]


  • Eckenrode, H.J. Virginia State Library: A Calendar of Legislative Petitions Arranged by Counties Accomac - Bedford. Richmond, Va.: Davis Bottom, Superintendent of Public Printing, 1908. Digital version at Google Books (full-view). [Alexandria petitions (1778-1861) are described on pp. 61-87.]


  • [1800-1804; 1804-1807; 1807-1810] Indexes to Wills, Estates,, Inventories Virginia Pioneers ($)
  • [Bk A 1800-1804; Bk B 1804-1807; Bk C 1807-1810; 1810-1815; 1815-1821; 1821-1823] Images of Wills, Inventories, Orphans, Affidavits, Guardianships Virginia Pioneers ($)


How can Virginia tax lists help me?

  • [1787] Schreiner-Yantis, Netti and Florene Speakman Love. The 1787 Census of Virginia: An Accounting of the Name of Every White Male Tithable Over 21 Years, the Number of White Males Between 16 & 21 Years, the Number of Slaves over 16 &Those Under 16 Years, Together with a Listing of Their Horses, Cattle & Carriages, and Also the Names of All Persons to Whom Ordinary Licenses and Physician's Licenses Were Issued. 3 vols. Springfield, Va.: Genealogical Books in Print, 1987. Online at FamilySearch - free; FHL. [The source of this publication is the 1787 personal property tax list. Alexandria is included in Vol. 1.]
  • [1787-1800] Alexandria Personal Property Tax Lists 1787-1800 (images); digital version in Tax List Club at Binns Genealogy ($).
  • [1787-1800] Heinegg, Paul. "Alexandria City Personal Property Tax List, 1787-1800," Free African, available online. [Heinegg abstracted free blacks listed in these records.]
  • [1790, 1799] Indexed images of the 1790 and 1799 Personal Property Tax Lists of Alexandria, Virginia are available online at Binns Genealogy.
  • [1800] "Alexandria, Virginia, 1800 Tax List," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1960):17-26. Available at New England Ancestors ($).
  • [1815] Ward, Roger D. 1815 Directory of Virginia Landowners (and Gazetteer). 6 vols. Athens, Georgia: Iberian Pub. Co., 1997-2000. Available at FHL. [This source is based on the 1815 land tax. Alexandria is included in Vol. 4.]

Vital Records

Societies and Libraries



  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. USGS Map,
  4. "Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index Availability," Library of Virginia (accessed 26 January 2010).
  5. Kenneth Scott. British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979, 320-333. FHL Collection 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).