AncestorNews: Virginia Roots

The first footsteps of many American ancestors were taken on the shores of Virginia. Sometimes called the Mother State because it was the first to be settled, Virginia was the 10th colony to become a state. The state bird is the cardinal and its tree the dogwood. The state motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants) was reportedly shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Abraham Lincoln.

In my own family, Virginia roots run deep through the Snow, Gregory and Ballard families; researching them has been a lesson in American history. Eight presidents were born in Virginia. Many of the conflicts of the Civil War were fought on Virginia soil, with some of America's finest sons joining the Confederacy because they could not turn their back on their home state.

If you have roots in the Old Dominion State, you're in for an exciting walk through fascinating history and old family heritage. Here are a few sites to get you started in your research.

Virginia Research Outline

Virginia Resources on the Internet

Old Virginia

The Library of Virginia

Virginia Mailing Lists

Virginia Civil War Rosters

Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of two astronomy books. Her Web site is at E-mail her at