Virginia is one of the original 13 colonies and the home of the first permanent English settlement in North America. If you read any American history textbook, Virginia will come up countless times in the recalling of significant historical events. The state is the birthplace of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other famous founding fathers, as well as home to many wonders both natural and manmade. There’s a lot to learn about the history of Virginia. Whether you want to trace your family’s roots back to the region, are doing research for a report, or are simply curious about the great state of Virginia, you’ll likely find everything you’re looking for among the resources listed below.
Museums and Historical Societies
These sites and pages are all excellent places to start your journey into the story of Virginia. You’ll find official documents like maps, surveys, and vital records. There’s also some great in-formation about specific aspects of Virginia history, like civil war collections and a museum where you can see explore the state’s maritime past.
Virginia Genealogy Sites
- Mariners Museum — The Mariners Museum of Virginia has one of the largest collections of maritime historical artifacts in the world. On the site, you can access digital collections, videos, and many more fascinating historical resources.
- Virginia Civil War Markers — Plan your historical Virginia adventure using this excellent site, which allows you to look up civil war markers by event or by location. Even if you won’t be visiting the state, you’ll still find a great state history timeline and other information for your studies.
- Museum of the Confederacy — Virginia’s Museum of the Confederacy houses countless Civil War artifacts, and you can find plenty of archived information and media on their site.
- Virginia Department of Historic Resources — Use this site for free access to archival records, maps and surveys, and many more items of historical interest.
- Virginia Historical Society — The Virginia Historical Society site serves as the digital presence for the museum of the same name. Even if you can’t visit in person, you’ll find a vast collection of pictures, videos, articles, and archives to help you explore the rich history of Virginia.
Tracing ancestry through public records and genealogical research is an important part of ex-ploring the true history of a place. Virginia’s colonial history means that many people living throughout the United States have ancestral roots going back to the area. Use the following re-sources to find out more about the Virginians who came before.
Virginia History for Kids
- VAGenWeb — VAGenWeb is the Virginia-specific extension of the US GenWeb Project, a nationwide organization that serves to help people join their family history research with others to create a vast genealogical database.
- Vital Records and Statistics — This page, from the Virginia Department of Health, provides access to official public records and data for Virginia residents past and present.
- Virginia Genealogy — Visit the Virginia section of FamilySearch.org, which houses the largest store of genealogy data in the world. Use the site to find - and share - ancestry information.
- Linkpendium Virginia Genealogy Page — This amazing resource page has a county-by-county link list taking you to a vast store of genealogical information sources including vital records and news archives.
Learning about history can be fun, especially when you have resources like this to draw from. For help in teaching the younger generation about the culture and history of Virginia, look to the following sites and pages.
- Virginia History For Kids — Try this fantastic educational page to help kids and teens explore Virginia history through easy-to-read factoids, fun pictures, games, and more.
- Virginia State History for Kids — This page has all kinds of information that kids can use to find out more about Virginia’s history. There are lots of great resources to use for reports and presentations, including a timeline of important dates and brief biographies of important historical figures.
- Books About Virginia History for Kids — This directory, from LibraryPoint.org, will direct you to lots of great children’s literature about Virginia history.
- Virginia Fun Page — Need to inject a little fun into your children’s exploration of Virginia state history? Try sending them to this page. There’s an interactive map, facts & stats, and lots of Virginia-themed games.
Virginia’s distinct localities often have their own stories to tell. If you’re interested in honing in on the history and culture of a particular area in Virginia, try using the links below. Whether you’re researching capital city Richmond or tracing a Revolutionary timeline through Williamsburg, you’ll find lots of local history here.
A Few More Great Virginia History Resources
- Richmond History Center — If you’re in town, schedule a walking tour of historic downtown Richmond. If not, use the site to find lots of great information about the 400-year history of Virginia’s capital city.
- History of Colonial Williamsburg — Colonial Virginia’s capital city, Williamsburg is a popular tourist destination because of its significance to American history and culture. Visit this page for historical facts, old photograph collections, or to plan a visit.
- Fredericksburg History — Also rife with historical landmarks and significant sites, Fredericksburg is another favorite for visitors. If you can’t make the trip, use this site to find facts, photos, and more.
- Virginia Beach History — A local preservation society runs this site, where you’ll find some interesting trivia regarding historic Virginia Beach and surrounding areas.
If you still haven’t found all of the cultural and historical information you’re looking for, peruse some of the pages and sites listed in this section. There are library links, and some fascinating websites - including one that showcases the Native American groups that inhabited the area in pre-Colonial times.
- Library of Virginia Digital Collections — Peruse thousands of archived resources like old newspapers and historical photos - there’s even an archive of old websites deemed to be of cultural or historical significance.
- Virginia Civil War — The Virginia Civil War Commission is fittingly based in Richmond, which was the capital city of the Confederacy during the Civil War, Find videos, slideshows, podcasts, articles and more - all about Virginia during the Civil War years.
- Virginia First Peoples — This site provides free access to all kinds of great information about indigenous people who inhabited Virginia and its surrounding areas for generations prior to the arrival of European settlers.
- About Virginia — Check out this site for a comprehensive rundown on Virginia’s geography, people, and relevant statistics. You’ll also find interesting facts, fun trivia, and even dining guides.