Williamsburg (Independent City), Virginia

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United States  > Virginia > Williamsburg (Independent City)

Williamsburg is a city in the state of Virginia. It is independent of any county and consists entirely of the city of Williamsburg.


Parent County

1884--Williamsburg was created in 1884 from James City County. [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Like many county courthouses in Virginia during the Civil War, the James City County Courthouse was burned in 1864.  Accordingly, few court records from prior to that date exist; a few records from the 1850s are housed in the Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse. Deed Book 1 and Will Book 1 both include some records from the 1850's. 


Populated Places

The City of Williamsburg

Neighboring Counties



Following is a list of cemeteries in Williamsburg:


Following is a list of Churches in Williamsburg, Virginia:


Williamsburg James City County Courthouse

Williamsburg Circuit Court
5201 Monticello Avenue
Suite Six
Williamsburg, VA 23188-8218
(757) 564-2242

The Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse houses records for the separate municipalities of the City of Williamsburg and James City County. Deeds for each municipality are maintained separately and generally utilize different numbering schemes (e.g., six digit instrument numbers for Williamsburg deeds and nine digit instrument numbers for James City County deeds).

The Clerk's Office in the Circuit Court has a variety of City of Williamsburg and James City County records including deed and will books, twentieth-century tax records, tax assessors, maps, plats, military induction records, marriage records, death records, order books, and other documents. The courthouse maintains a searchable, computer-based index for deeds, marriages, and wills for the following time periods:


You must visit the courthouse reading room in person (8:30 - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) in order to search the computer index.  Recent records are added to the index within about a week. 

The Clerk of Circuit Court does not accept mail in requests.  However, all James City County records are available on microfilm through Interlibrary Loan via the Library of Virginia.  Scanners are not permitted; cameras may or may not be allowed.  A copier is available.


Local Histories



The Clerk's Office in the Circuit Court has military induction records.


There are two distinct publication timeframes for newspapers titled The Virginia Gazette.

The was paper was first published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia during much of the 18th century, when Williamsburg was the capital of the colony.  Beginning in 1766, another printer launched a competing publication by the same name.  In total, three different publishers used the name "Virginia Gazette" during the Colonial era, and are listed separately in the digital collection, grouped by publisher. Digitized images of the paper can be viewed on-line through the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Digital Library.  The collection is indexed for publication years 1736 to 1780.  Williamsburg Regional Library has microfilm of the Colonial era collection, as well. 

More recently, the Virginia Gazette was revived in 1930 by publisher J.A. Osborne as part of the first Colonial Williamsburg renovation.

Digitized images of the paper through the Library of Congress.  Collection covers from 1900 to 1903.

Digitized images of the paper through the Library of Congress. Collection covers from 1901 and 1903.

Digitized images of the paper through the Library of Congress. Collection covers from 1907 to 1910.


York County Probate Records

This collection includes digitized images of the probate records from York County during the colonial period.  York county abuts James City County, and these records include information from Williamsburg, Virginia.  The images are provided by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.   The records can be digitally searched.


Vital Records

Research Guides

Researching Seventeenth Century Virginians

Researching Williamsburg Area Virginians

Researching Revolutionary Era Virginians

These three research guides were prepared by the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library at Colonial Williamsburg.

Societies and Libraries

Local Resources

The WRL is the central library for the City of Williamsburg and James City County

Swem Library is the central research library for The College of William and Mary.

This library is operated by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  Its contains secondary and primary materials on the colonial history of Virginia.

The Omohundro Institute is a joint research institute between The College of William & Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, focusing on academic research on early American history.

State Resources

Virginia Genealogical Society

Virginia Historical Society

The Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia has an extensive collection of documents related to James City County including:

Board of Supervisor Minutes: Sept. 1887 to 1908, Court Minutes: 1871-1882, Clerk's Guide to Sampel Forms for Certain Court Records, undated, Chancery Execution Book: 1868-1916, Chancery Minutes: 1871-1873, Chancery Order Books: 1889-1903, Chancery Rules: 1872-1911, Execution Book: 1866-1916, Judgment Docket: 1865-1903, Law Execution Book: 1866-1882, Circuit Court Order Book: 1879-1885, James City County and Williamsburg Fiduciary Bond Book: 1865-1908, James City County and Williamsburg Plat Books: 1891-1918, Birth Register: 1866-1884, Death Register: 1864-1884, School Commissioners Records: 1819-1861, Tax Book: 1768-1769, Deed and Will Books: 1854-1861, 1865-1874 Land Tax Lists: 1782 on, Personal Property Tax Lists: 1782 on, Agricultural Census Records: 1850-1880, Census Records: full run, Slave Schedules: 1850 and 1860, Processioners Records: 1890-1891, 1903-1904 James City County/Williamsburg Rolls of Registered Voters: 1900-1965, James City County/Williamsburg Contracts for Personal Property: 1900-1918

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).