Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987

Toni Carrier
by Toni Carrier
Virginia Jackson Columbus Death Cert
“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9GL-19JP?cc=2377565&wc=H9HJ-5P9%3A1505091709%2C1506098102 : 20 August 2018), Caroline County > 1929 > image 93 of 214; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

About This Collection

Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987. This searchable collection contains an index and images of death certificates from the Virginia State Department of Health. Certificate images are provided courtesy of Ancestry.com. To learn more about this record set, please view the collection’s Learn More page.

Researching from This Collection

If you find an ancestor in this collection, first search for more records that document your ancestor’s death. Then, use the information from the death certificate to search for records made during your ancestor’s life.

Example: Columbus Jackson, d. 23 May 1929

Let’s look at an example for Columbus Jackson who died in Caroline County, Virginia in 1929:

Name: Columbus Jackson
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 23 May 1929
Event Place: , Caroline, Virginia, United States
Registration Date: 24 May 1929
Gender: Male
Age: 63
Race: Black
Birth Year (Estimated): 1866
Father’s Name: Frank Jackson
Mother’s Name: Susan Dobson
Spouse’s Name: Annie Jackson
Spouse’s Gender: Female
Certificate Number: 12638
Registration Number: 163

Digital Folder Number: 100786511
Image Number: 00375

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRW-J1TM : 16 August 2019), Annie Jackson in entry for Columbus Jackson, 23 May 1929; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing , Caroline, Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

Virginia Jackson Columbus Death Cert
“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9GL-19JP?cc=2377565&wc=H9HJ-5P9%3A1505091709%2C1506098102 : 20 August 2018), Caroline County > 1929 > image 93 of 214; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

Let’s use the information from Columbus Jackson’s death certificate to find records made during his lifetime.

Columbus Jackson, 1920 U.S. Census

We located Columbus Jackson in the 1920 U.S. Census:

Name: Columbus Jackson
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1920
Event Place: Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mulatto
Race (Original): Mulatto Black
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Head
Own or Rent: Own
Birth Year (Estimated): 1866
Birthplace: Virginia
Father’s Birthplace: Virginia
Mother’s Birthplace: Virginia
Sheet Letter: A
Sheet Number: 9

HouseholdRoleSexAgeBirthplace
Columbus JacksonHeadM54Virginia
Annie JacksonWifeF54Virginia
Bessie JacksonDaughterF18Virginia
Susie JacksonDaughterF15Virginia
Adell JacksonDaughterF9Virginia
Susan JacksonMotherF81Virginia

District: ED 26
Sheet Number and Letter: 9A
Household ID: 156
Line Number: 11
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: T625
Affiliate Film Number: 1884
GS Film Number: 1821884
Digital Folder Number: 004968939
Image Number: 00860

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJF3-KW5 : accessed 14 February 2020), Susan Jackson in household of Columbus Jackson, Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States; citing ED 26, sheet 9A, line 16, family 156, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1884; FHL microfilm 1,821,884.

Virginia Jackson Columbus 1920 Census Mother in Household
“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJF3-KW5 : accessed 10 January 2020), Susan Jackson in household of Columbus Jackson, Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States; citing ED 26, sheet 9A, line 16, family 156, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1884; FHL microfilm 1,821,884.

In the record above, Columbus Jackson’s household includes his mother Susan Jackson, listed as age 81 and widowed. We can use this information to search for records for Columbus’ mother Susan Jackson.

Columbus Jackson, 1910 U.S. Census

We also located Columbus Jackson in the 1910 U.S. Census. In this record, Columbus Jackson’s mother Susan is also in his household. We also learn the name of another of Columbus Jackson’s daughters, Annie B. Jackson:

Name: Columbus Jackson
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1910
Event Place: Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 43
Marital Status: Married
Race: Black
Race (Original): Black
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Head
Birth Year (Estimated): 1867
Birthplace: Virginia
Father’s Birthplace: Virginia
Mother’s Birthplace: Virginia
Sheet Letter: A
Sheet Number: 11

HouseholdRoleSexAgeBirthplace
Columbus JacksonHeadM43Virginia
Annie JacksonWifeF40Virginia
Annie B JacksonDaughterF9Virginia
Susie JacksonDaughterF6Virginia
Bettie JacksonDaughterF3Virginia
Susan JacksonMotherF70Virginia

District: ED 23
Sheet Number and Letter: 11A
Household ID: 192
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: T624
Affiliate Film Number: 1624
GS Film Number: 1375637
Digital Folder Number: 005157510
Image Number: 00874

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPPX-4VY : accessed 14 February 2020), Susan Jackson in household of Columbus Jackson, Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 23, sheet 11A, family 192, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1624; FHL microfilm 1,375,637.

Let’s search for more records for Columbus Jackson’s mother Susan Jackson.

Susan and Columbus Jackson, 1880 U.S. Census

We were able to locate Susan Jackson in the 1880 U.S. Census. From this record, we learn the name of Columbus Jackson’s father Frank Jackson:

Name: Columbus Jackson
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1880
Event Place: Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 14
Race: Black
Race (Original): B
Occupation: At School
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Son
Birth Year (Estimated): 1866
Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Father’s Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Mother’s Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Sheet Letter: A
Sheet Number: 433
Person Number: 2
Volume: 1

HouseholdRoleSexAgeBirthplace
Frank JacksonSelfM38Virginia, United States
Susan JacksonWifeF30Virginia, United States
Columbus JacksonSonM14Virginia, United States
John H JacksonSonM12Virginia, United States
William H JacksonSonM10Virginia, United States
Robert H JacksonSonM4Virginia, United States
Diana FellsMotherF75Virginia, United States

District: ED 25
Sheet Number and Letter: 433A
Household ID: 13995255
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: T9
Affiliate Film Number: 1359
GS Film Number: 1255359
Digital Folder Number: 005162774
Image Number: 00351

“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCPP-LJF : 16 July 2017), Diana Fells in household of Frank Jackson, Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district ED 25, sheet 433A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,359.

Columbus Jackson, 1870 U.S. Census

We located Frank and Susan Jackson in the 1870 U.S. Census. Within their household is Frank Jackson’s mother Diana Jackson, age 60:

Name: Columbus Jackson
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1870
Event Place: Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Event Place (Original): Reedy Church, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 3
Race: Black
Birth Year (Estimated): 1867
Birthplace: Virginia
Page Number: 15

HouseholdRoleSexAgeBirthplace
Frank JacksonM28Virginia
Susan JacksonF27Virginia
Columbus JacksonM3Virginia
John Henry JacksonM0Virginia
Diana JacksonF60Virginia
Henry ThorntonM12Virginia

Household ID: 115
Line Number: 30
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: M593
GS Film Number: 000553138
Digital Folder Number: 004268492
Image Number: 00327

“United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFLL-CYK : 11 June 2019), Henry Thornton in entry for Frank Jackson, 1870.

Frank Jackson and Susan Dobson in Caroline County Cohabitation Registers

We searched the cohabitation registers created by the Circuit Court in Virginia, digitized online at the Library of Virginia, and found a cohabitation record for Frank Jackson and Virginia Dobson:

  • Page: 4 
  • Line: 23 
  • Husband’s Name and Age: Frank Jackson, 26 
  • Husband’s Birthplace: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Husband’s Residence: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Occupation: Farm Laborer 
  • Last Owner: Thomas Chandler 
  • Last Owner’s Residence: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Wife’s Name and Age: Susan Dobson, 27 
  • Wife’s Birthplace: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Wife’s Residence: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Last Owner: John B. Chandler 
  • Last Owner’s Residence: Caroline County, Va. 
  • Children and Ages: No Children
  • Date of Cohabitation: About 1865

Caroline County (Va.) Circuit Court, Caroline County (Va.) Register of Colored Persons cohabiting together as Husband and Wife, 1866 Feb. 27., “Cohabitation Registers,” database with images, Library of Virginia ( http://digitool1.lva.lib.va.us:8881/R/XMJ3PES9FLHV6X6478PIBH9C56N16N49P4D3P99PT3AK8YDI71-05241?func=results-jump-full&set_entry=000005&set_number=163895&base=GEN01-LVA01), accessed 14 Dec 2019, record for Frank Jackson and Susan Dobson.

1870 Brick Wall Broken Down

From this register, we learn that the final slaveholder for Frank Jackson was Thomas Chandler. We also learn that Susan Dobson’s final slaveholder was John B. Chandler. We have just broken through the 1870 Brick Wall by identifying final slaveholders for Columbus Jackson’s parents. This is precisely the information we will need to search for more records that document Frank Jackson and Susan Dobson during slavery.

Discussion

Working from the death certificate for Columbus Jackson of Caroline, Virginia, we were able to locate census records that revealed the names of Columbus Jackson’s parents Thomas and Susan Jackson. We then searched cohabitation records at the Library of Virginia and found a record that revealed more information. We learned from this record that Columbus Jackson’s mother Susan’s maiden name was Dobson. From the cohabitation register we also learned the names of the final slaveholders for both of Columbus Jackson’s parents, breaking through the 1870 Brick Wall.

Suggestions for Further Research

If this is your family, you can search for records for the final slaveholders for Columbus Jackson’s parents. You will want to locate probate records for the families of Thomas Chandler and John B. Chandler. You can also search ArchiveGrid to see if any Chandler family records are preserved in archives.

Also check the book A Genealogical Index to the Guides of the Microfilm Edition of Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution Through the Civil War by Jean Cooper, to see if any Chandler family papers are preserved in the microfilm collection Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution Through the Civil War. This microfilm collection is available at many university libraries across the country. To learn more about this valuable research collection, see this article on the Reclaiming Kin website.

Explore More: Related Resources

We found a number of census records in our example case study. To glean the most information from U.S. census records, you can download blank forms for each census and abstract the information in the census records. The FamilySearch Wiki article United States Census Forms contains links to blank census forms you can download for free.

The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for Virginia provides a detailed overview of resources for African American genealogy research in Virginia.

To learn more about researching African American genealogy in Virginia, you can view BlackProGen LIVE Ep21: District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia Genealogy Research.

More FamilySearch Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy

Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.

Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.

Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state. 

African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.

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