Jamestown Reliable Sources

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Surnames/tags: Southern Colonies Jamestown
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Maryland Virginia

This is the Reliable Sources page for the US Southern Colonies Project, Jamestown Reliable Sources, which includes profiles covered by pre-1700 project requirements.

This page contains sources focused on the period 1600-1776 recommended (or warned against) by WikiTree's US Southern Colonies Project.

Note: for resources pertaining to learning about the history of the US Southern Colonies, see: US Southern Colonies History.
Note: for creating a citation from a website that has not been provided see citing websites. Add the link from the page that you are sourcing.
  • After finding a reliable source, care must be taken to establish that the source belongs to your profile.

Jamestown Virginia Colony Genealogy Resources


Jamestowne Society Qualitying Ancestors

Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestors: There are over 1000 settlers and officials recognized by the Jamestowne Society as a "Qualifying Ancestor" (meaning a descendant of that ancestor has been accepted into the Society). These items would have qualified a person to be considered as qualifying:

(1) a stockholder in the London Company or the Virginia Company, or belonging to one of the guilds which invested in the above, during the active investment period;
(2) owned land on Jamestown Island or lived on the Island prior to 1700
(3) a resident in Jamestown,Virginia at time of the 1624/25 Muster or earlier;
(4) served as Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Clerk of the General Court, Member of the Council or House of Burgesses prior to 1700; these persons are presumed to have had their domiciles on Jamestown Island during their terms of office;
(5) was an Anglican Church (Church of England) minister in Virginia prior to 1700
(6) served as an official Indian Interpreter in Virginia prior to 1700.

Vital Records


  • London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, London Metropolitan Archives
  • Alexander Brown, The First Republic in America (1898), 21-40; digital images, Hathi Trust (accessed 2014).




Land Records

Sources to prove Jamestown Ancestor

Ship/ Passenger Lists for ancestors

Ancient Planters


1623 Jamestown Census of living and dead after Massacre

1624 Census/Muster


Purse and Person

  • Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1625', vol. 1, by Mr. Dorman


  • "The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants; Religious Exiles ...", By John Camden Hotten, Great Britain. Public Record Office, a Google book.

Jamestown Findings

  • "The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants; Religious Exiles ...", By John Camden Hotten, Great Britain. Public Record Office, a Google book.
  • "Hotten's Lists" and "Adventurers of Purse and Person"
  • https://archive.org/details/originallistsofp00hottuoft/page/n9/mode/2up Jamestown Immigrants, Hotten]
  • Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635
  • The Original Lists of Persons of Quality, By John Camden Hotten, A google book

Surname / Family-Specific Compilations

Biographical Compilations

  • Thomas Hariot, [http://www.virtualjamestown.org/Muster/muster24.html Search here A2184510710002786&context=L&vid=01WIL_SPECIAL&lang=en_US&tab=default_tab&query=creator,exact,Theodor%20de%20Bry%201528-1598.,AND&mode=advanced Narrative of the first English plantation of Virginia], by Thomas Hariot. First printed at London in 1588, now reproduced after De Bry's illustrated edition printed at Frankfort in 1590, the illustrations having been designed in Virginia in 1585 by John White (1893); digital images, Hathi Trust (accessed 2014).
  • "American Historical Magazine and Tennessee Historical Society Quarterly", Vol 7 (Google eBook). William Robertson Garrett, John M. Bass, Albert Virgil Goodpasture. A.V. and W.H. Goodpasture, 1902 -

Probate Records

Tax Records

Unreliable Sources

Examples of Sources that Provide Uncertain Information

Colony Neutral / Multiple Colonies

The following sources should not be cited and are subject to removal from project-managed profiles if found. If these are the only sources on a profile, please replace it with something better prior to removal.
  • Yates' US and International Marriages Index. See this discussion for why.
  • Millennium File: "created by the Institute of Family Research to track the records of its clients and the results of its professional research. It contains more than 880,000 linked family records, with lineages from throughout the world, including colonial America, the British Isles, Switzerland, and Germany. Many of these lineages extend back to nobility and renowned historical figures. In fact, one of the things the Millennium File focuses on is linking to European nobility and royalty."
  • Edmund West Family Data collections, per their own description, "should be used to find primary sources."
  • UNSOURCED user-contributed family trees, including (but not limited to):
    • Pedigree Resource Files on familysearch.org
    • Public or any other family trees from Ancestry.com
    • Geni.com - World Family Tree - RootsWeb / If the tree cites reliable proofs, find the proofs and cite them instead.
    • A personal family tree.
    • Find-A-Grave. Find-A-Grave profiles rarely cite reliable proofs. When they do, find the proofs and cite them.
    • Transcriptions of documents (wills, etc.) found online that are not published.
    • A discussion in a genealogy forum. If the discussion cites reliable proofs, find the proofs and cite them.
    • Books with family trees/family histories that do not cite reliable sources. These books are secondary sources and should be seen as a starting point. Further research is needed to confirm those relationships.
Additionally, it was very popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s to publish family genealogies. These are much like the online trees of today-- their quality varies depending on the extent to which they cite their sources. Some contain accurate information-- especially about the people living within the last 50 years prior to the publication date; but many have been subsequently proven to be incomplete, inaccurate, or in a few rare cases, downright fraudulent. Absent better sources, these old published genealogies can be cited or included under "See also:". A goal of the project, however, is to find more original documentation, closer to the time of the event being cited.
  • Find-a-Grave is a user-contributed site, and as such is generally excluded from the list of reliable sources. Please do not make changes to a profile's vitals, including identification of relations, based solely on information transcribed on a Find-a-Grave profile. The exception is that if the Find-a-Grave profile contains a photo of a contemporaneous gravestone (i.e., a gravestone created and placed at the time of the person's death) and includes information about the person's death, you can cite the Find-a-Grave profile for the death information, and for other information that appears on the gravestone. Please understand, though, that even gravestones may contain erroneous information.
  • Lineage Society Applications. Lineage societies such as Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Society for Colonials Wars, and others, vary with regard to the proofs that they require for membership. And some, like DAR, have changed their rules over time. Therefore, such applications should be used more as finding aids than actual sources. When looking at a lineage society application, please check what sources they cite, and then seek to find those actual sources.


  • Jamestown Society: [1]
  • Virtual Jamestown: [2]
  • Virtual Hampton Roads timeline and boundaries map: [3]

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