How do we handle independent cities in Virginia that apparently aren't included in a county?

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I've seen extinct counties put within the modern day counties they became, but what if one is in an independent city and not included within a current day county?

I put the category of Nansemond County, Virginia in a profile and the lettering came up red.

So I went to the Virginia page and sure enough, Nansemond County isn't there. It's extinct so I tried to find out what county incorporated it, but discovered Virginia has independent cities that aren't included in counties. Nansemond County eventually merged with the city of Suffolk. It is southeast of Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

Can I add Nansemond County to the Virginia county page even though the county is extinct and is now an independent city rather than a county?
in Genealogy Help by Debby Black G2G6 Mach 8 (85.3k points)

1 Answer

+4 votes
Best answer

Generally for Virginia and for other states with similar deliniations you just treat the independent city the same as you would  a county. 

It sounds like you did everything okay there was just a final step you needed to complete. The red lettering is not a bad thing it just means the category you just created does not connect to an existing category. I went ahead and connected it for you. What we have done in the Categorization Group is populate all the existing counties and independent cities in each state. It was just too confusing at the time to try to connect all the defunt counties, etc. So what generally is done in this situation - as you will see - is that you would connect the defunct county to Virginia and you would also connect it to the current county (or counties). What I would strongly suggest though is adding some background information to both the Nansemond and Suffolk Counties to explain a little of the history. Just something simple like "Nanesemond county is defunt, it was incorporated into Suffolk city in 1827 or whatever. An example of this can be found at You can add this note by clicking on <edit> on the category page, typing in the dialog box, and then saving the page. If you are not comfortable with doing this just send me the information and I will happily take care of it.

by Living Chelton G2G6 (8.7k points)
selected by Debby Black
Thanks, Brian.  That last step was the one I was unsure of and you explained what should happen next very well. I've added background to both Nansemond County and the independent city of Suffolk, just as you suggested.
That looks great Debby. Not sure how much other things we will eventually add to the category pages but information like you provided really helps to give a quick overview of the county/city, especially when dealing with defunct counties/cities.
The trouble with adding links is that websites often disappear leaving the page with a nonworking link. I've already deleted the map link, because it's not working--perhaps just a temporary situation.

I was uncertain whether it was permissible to include links, but it seems like a few leading to stable websites would be very helpful to WikiTreers.

To me, it would be advantageous to have a small state map with the county location on each county category page, but Chris probably suffers headaches from all of our improvement suggestions. Thanks for rechecking the pages. :o)
Here are couple things that might help you when trying to add some general data to the category page. If you want to add a lot of information i would encourage you to create a free-space page.

On a category page (or profile page ) to create a bulleted list add a * at the beginning of each line, to just indent the line use a colon, or to do an indented bulleted list use :* at the beginning of each line. (For numbered lists swap the * for a #.)

As for adding links there is a nice clean way to do that as well. Use the following format:  [URL Title].  So you use one "[", copy in the URL for the site directly, insert a space, type a title for the link, and then add the closing "]". For example [ World's Family Tree] would display     World's Family Tree    as a clickable link to the site you specified.

Those maps would be cool for the counties but you have to think about the role of categories - which I am still trying to process. Think of categories as more of a road map directing you to things. You will have some general information about roads, cities, parks, etc. included on the map but generally the map is just to help you get from one point to another. A profile or in this case a Free Space page is like an encylclopedia entry or some other data source. It is where you would go to get detailed information about the place and things related to it. That is why I mentioned previously to just include a little context information on the category page as it's purpose is not really to provide detailed information but to provide direction. I think it would be wonderful for people as they have time and interest to create free-space profiles for the counties that include the maps you are talking about and other pertinent genealogical data and links.

Let me know if this makes sense or not. Great thoughts and suggestions by the way.
What you're describing sounds rather like an index to me. It doesn't have the information on the page. It merely tells you how to get to the information. You said you were still trying to process the role of categories. You're way ahead of me on that.

Thanks for all the insight.
Just to further confuse this issue I have a city in Iowa that is in two counties.  (so I put it in both)


Yeah Ed there are always exceptions to everything. I have run into numerous cities and towns that are in more than one county. I do as you did and try to include both in the categories, and in the person's profile try to indicate which county they were part of - if I know.

The only thing more confusing than cities that exist simultaneously in multiple counties is when you start dealing with "defunct" counties. Trying to remember to not only put the county under its defunct county category but also its current county category and adding enough text on both county category pages to indicate what is going on. Something like this...

Always something new.

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