Henrico History: Genealogy
Henrico County is home to many families who have resided here for generations, sometimes reaching back 400 years to our very founding in 1611. Though our county archives contain some research files and archival documents on a few families, the majority of information is now housed at larger statewide institutions.
Organizations & Professional Researchers
The majority of Henrico genealogy resources are in the larger collections of The Library of Virginia and The Virginia Museum of History and Culture. They are the starting point for many research projects, including genealogical queries.
Henrico County Public Libraries offer to their patrons (library card holders) a genealogy research database called Heritage Quest.
The Library of Virginia research and archival collections include original documents, microfilm reels, Ancestry.com Library Edition, and publications with knowledgeable staff to help you every step of the way.
The Virginia Museum of History and Culture has a collection of primary and secondary sources of information about Virginia’s centuries of history. Their website includes a searchable database, finding aids, research guides, and basic information for visiting their library in person.
Henrico County Historical Society has a website with information about their organization’s mission and goals, as well as helpful research links.
Greater Richmond Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society is the local chapter for the Richmond metropolitan area. The website highlights the organization’s mission and events.
Just Starting Out? Check out these helpful tips:
Henrico Co Tips for Growing Your Family Tree
Library of Virginia: How to Begin
Looking for your Civil War military ancestor?
Civil War Service Member Research Guide
Library of Virginia Civil War Research Guide
Henrico History: Cemeteries
With more than 400 years of European settlement, Henrico County contains a vast number of burials. Unfortunately, most burials from the 1600s and 1700s have been lost to time, memory and changing land use and ownership. Typically, cemeteries in the countryside (which is what most of Henrico County was until the 20th century) are located at churches or on family land. Most known historic cemeteries within the county date from the mid-1800s.
You can find a list of cemeteries listed alphabetically by Henrico County’s five magisterial districts in the county’s public data archives.
Cemeteries Research Info
Find A Grave is an online database, in which online memorials and cemeteries are used to document burials from all time periods. Its contents are strictly volunteer generated, and therefore is not necessarily comprehensive or accurate. However, it is a good place to beginning locating burials.
Library of Virginia has some cemetery records, including:
- Evergreen and Woodland (see guide to records, 1893-2016)
Some historic cemeteries have friend groups who not only do cemetery clean up but also actively research the burials.
Did you know that four of the five national cemeteries in the northern Greater Richmond area are located in Henrico County? The fifth is next door in Hanover County, Mechanicsville, on the Cold Harbor battlefield. During the four years of the Civil War, many large and small engagements occurred within Henrico, producing many casualties. When the war ended, the United States government created cemeteries to rebury Union dead, while Confederate dead were often buried in the city cemeteries at Oakwood and Hollywood.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Cemetery Administration website has a searchable database, which allows for locating a cemetery and individual graves.
Richmond National Battlefield Park (National Park Service) does have some information on soldiers who fought and died during the Civil War era. You may consider contacting them for additional information.
Public cemeteries were not usually an option in Henrico County and other rural regions prior to 1900.
- Forest Lawn: established 1922 (Fairfield District)
- Washington Memorial Park: established 1949 (Varina District)
- Westhampton Memorial Park: founded 1954 (Tuckahoe District)
- Mount Vernon Memorial Park: established 1966 (Three Chopt District)
Governance of private cemeteries is primarily a state function. Regulation is handled by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, specifically the Cemetery Board.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Division of State Archaeology offers some resource resources about historic cemeteries. This agency is often involved in many related burial topics and provides some basic information: Virginia Department of Historic Resources FAQs.