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Nansemond  Co.

Virginia, USA

Nansemond Co., (map of VA)

A Guide for Your Family History Research


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     Nansemond County is an extinct county which was located in Virginia Colony and the Commonwealth of Virginia (after statehood) in the United States, from 1646 until 1972. Most of its former territory is now the independent city of Suffolk. It was named for the Nansemond, a tribe of Native Americans, who lived along the Nansemond River at the time the English colonists who settled Jamestown began arriving in 1607. 

     Under the Virginia Company of London, in 1619, the area which became Nansemond County was included in Elizabeth Cittie, one of four large "boroughs", or "incorporations".  In 1624, the Virginia Company lost its proprietary charter, and Virginia became a royal colony.  In 1634, the King of England directed the formation of eight shires (or counties) in the colony.  One of these was Elizabeth River Shire, which included land area on both sides of Hampton Roads, as had the earlier Elizabeth Cittie. Two years later, New Norfolk County was formed in 1636 from Elizabeth River Shire.  It included all the area in South Hampton Roads now incorporated in the five independent cities located there in modern times. The following year, in 1637, New Norfolk County was divided into Upper Norfolk County and Lower Norfolk County.  Upper Norfolk County was officially re-designated the County of Nansimum by the House of Burgesses in March 1646; by the October session, this was also being spelled as Nansimund.

     In the 1720s, John Constant settled along the Nansemond river (in what is now Suffolk) and built a home, wharf, and warehouse. Thus the site became known as "Constant's Warehouse."

Under the Tobacco Inspection Act of 1730, three of the 40 tobacco inspection warehouses were chartered in Nansemond County, under two inspectors, as follows: At Waynwright's Landing, Isle of Wight; and Laurence's, in Nansemond County, under one inspection. In 1742, the Virginia House of Burgesses chartered a new town at Constant's Wharf and renamed it "Suffolk".  In 1750, the county seat of Nansemond County was moved from Jarnigan's or Cohoon's Bridge to Suffolk, a new town which had been formed at Constance's Warehouse at Sleepy Hole Point on the Nansemond River in 1742. It was named for the hometown in England of Royal Governor William Gooch.

     Suffolk became an incorporated town in 1808 and an independent city in 1910. Even after Suffolk became politically independent of Nansemond County, the county seat and courts remained at Suffolk.

     Nansemond County joined a wave of political consolidations in southeastern Virginia between 1952 and 1976, and the county became the independent city of Nansemond in July, 1972.  Only 18 months later, the new city merged with the existing city of Suffolk on January 1, 1974 to form the present-day city of Suffolk. The merger created the largest city in Virginia by land area.

     The following counties and cities lie adjacent to old Nansemond County: Norfolk County, Virginia (now extinct);  Elizabeth City County, Virginia (now extinct); Isle of Wight County;  Southampton County;  Camden County, North Carolina;  and Gates County, North Carolina.

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Rootsweb (mytree2)

Researching by surname

by Surname

Rootsweb (mytree2)

The following are names of persons, found within our databases as having been either born, married or died in this location. Names in dark red denote direct ancestral lines. To find out more about each surname listed click on the corresponding Link.

McVicker; Moreland; Pinnell; Scruggs and allied families  (MMPS)

Godwin;   Webb

Bozarth; Peiffer; Quigley; Rhubart and allied families (BPQR)


Dellinger; Knecht; Pfeffer; Silar and allied families  (DKPS)

Click on this link to find out more about each surname listed above as well as other surnames found within our three family databases.

Surname Locator 2

This link will also lead you to surname resources at Rootsweb, and information about the world-wide distribution of a surname.

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Free Surname
 Search Engine

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Use this free genealogy site to help you get the best genealogy searches from Google™ by using your family tree, for your research. It will create a series of different searches  using tips or "tricks"

Google Surname Search 1

that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google and the Internet to find ancestry information about  this  or  any  other  Surname. 

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Where in the World do These
 Surnames Come From?

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Click on the LINK to the right to see more information about the World distribution of any surname. 

Public Profiler World Names (logo)

You can get greater detail for any of the maps by clicking on the area, i.e state, county that you are interested in.

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World Location 2 (green)


ancestral gen-sites

World Location 3 (green)

Family History Notes

Map of the County

Gen-Site Profiles

Family History Notes

Our Godwin Ancestors

Thomas Godwin came to Nansemond Countysometime before April 1654 as he was a member of the Nansemond County Court, and he represented the county in the House of Burgesses that year and next.    Records show that he obtained his first Nansemond County land grant in 1655.   Among his other land purchases, he patented a tract in Chuckatuck parish in 1668. This plantation called “Old Castle” was expressly included in Nansemond County when the Assembly drew its boundary with Isle of Wight County in 1674   Most of the property he accumulated within the county was near the Chuckatuck Creek and the border with Isle of Wight county.  Today the site of the Thomas Godwin homestead is located along VA Route 10/32 between Wills Corner and the community of Chuckatuck.  Upon entering “old” Nansemond County the name of the road becomes Godwin Boulevard also on this stretch of road is Godwins Millpond located just north of Chuckatuck.  In March 1676 he was identified as colonel of the Nansemond militia when he was authorized to raise a force to fight Indians. He was also a justice and Coroner of Nansemond County. Thomas Godwin left a will which has been recorded at the Clerk's Office in Suffolk. It is dated May 1676-77 and was probated 1678-79. 


Our Webb Ancestors

Giles Webb obtained early grants of land in the area of Chuckatuck Creek, where he apparently lived. Giles was a member of the House of Burgesses from Nansemond County in 1658, 1659, and 1660.  Little is known of Giles’s life in Nansemond County due to the fact that many records were lost by the burning of the county clerk's office in 1866. Records tend to indicate that James Webb, son of the aforementioned Giles, died at Chuckatuck before 17 February 1675.  In his will James Webb left to his wife Elizabeth (Godwin) Webb, 100 acres in Upper Parish of Nansemond County, see gen-site profiles below.  The property is described as located behind Tuckers Neck, corner to Wm Tucker, to w(hite) o(ak) standing in sight of the Church path - surveyed for her father Col. Thomas Godwin.

Map of the county

Map of the County

The Red Starin the map designates the location of the seat of government for this county.  Yellow Stars designate seats of government in adjacent counties.   A Purple Dotshows the location of identified ancestral Gen-Site(s). 

Nansemond Co., VA (GenSites)

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NOTE: for a better view of this map use the following ZOOM feature -

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Gen-site profiles

Gen-Site Profiles

Godwin;   St. John’s Church;   Suffolk;   Webb

Godwin Homesite

LOCATION:  Country: United States;  State: Virginia;  County: Nansemond;  Coordinates/Map: 36° 51′ 43.2″ N, 76° 34′ 48″ W (36.862, -76.58)

DESCRIPTION OF GEN-SITE: Today the site of the Thomas Godwin homestead is located along VA Route 10/32 between Wills Corner and the community of Chuckatuck.  Upon entering “old” Nansemond County the name of the road becomes Godwin Boulevard also on this stretch of road is Godwins Millpond located just north of Chuckatuck. In addition there was a place named Goodwins Wharf located at the end of Hollidays Point.  Click on map thumbnail for map of these locations.



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St. John’s Church

LOCATION:  Country: United States;  State: Nansemond;  County:;  Coordinates/Map: 36° 51′ 25″ N, 76° 33′ 41″ W
(36.856944, -76.561389)

DESCRIPTION OF GEN-SITE: The roots of St. John's Church go back to the earliest English settlements along the Nansemond River. The present church, constructed in 1755, is the third on the site. In 1728, St. John's joined the Glebe Church, Driver, to form Suffolk Parish. This association continued until March 1, 1998, when each congregation became an independent Parish.



INTERNET WEB LINK(S): St John's Chuckatuck;  St. John's Church (Chuckatuck, Virginia) - Wikipedia;  Chuckatuck Parish, Virginia;   Saint John's Church Cemetery;  St. John's Episcopal Church; St. John's Church, Chuckatuck, Nansemond Co., VA;  

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LOCATION:  Country: United States;  State:;  County: Nansemond;  Coordinates/Map: 36° 44′ 28″ N, 76° 36′ 35″ W
(36.741111, -76.609722)

DESCRIPTION OF GEN-SITE: Suffolk was founded by English colonists in 1742 as a port town on the Nansemond River in the Virginia Colony. Originally known as Constant's Warehouse. It became the county seat of Nansemond County in 1750. The Independent City Courthouse located at the Mills E. Godwin Courts Complex, 150 N. Main Street, Suffolk, VA 23434 map.


INTERNET WEB LINK(S): Home | City of Suffolk;  Suffolk County Public Records

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Webb Land Property

LOCATION:  Country: United States;  State:;  County: Nansemond;  Coordinates/Map: Latitude: 36.8009826 Longitude: -76.5818959

DESCRIPTION OF GEN-SITE: In his will James Webb left to his wife Elizabeth (Godwin) Webb, 100 acres in Upper Parish of Nansemond County.  The property is described as located behind Tuckers Neck, corner to Wm Tucker, to w(hite) o(ak) standing in sight of the Church path.  It is possible that this location now lies beneath the waters of the Western Branch Reservoir.  A map showing the location of the “church path” on map of the Upper Parish and a topographic map of this same area can be found within the “Image Archives” of Nansemond County.



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populated places

by Location

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Gazetteer of Places

 in This County

Changes of County Boundaries

Link to State-Wide Resources

Where in the World

are My Ancestors?


Gazetteer of Places

The list below will assist in your research regarding the matching of your ancestor’s birth, marriage, death dates and the place(s) within this locality at which these events may have occurred.


US Home Town Locator

Profiles for  165 cities, towns and other populated places in Suffolk (city) County, Virginia

Map of Suffolk (city) County Virginia

Suffolk (city) County Physical, Cultural & Historic Features

Suffolk (city) County ZIP Codes | Area Codes

Suffolk (city) County Land - Property, Farms & Ranches


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Suffolk (city) Co., VA, United States

Details | Resources | Neighborhoods | Cemeteries |

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Links To Populated Places Within This County

Suffolk is divided politically into seven boroughs, one corresponding to the former city of Suffolk and one corresponding to each of the six magisterial districts of the former Nansemond County. The boroughs are Chuckatuck, Cypress, Holy Neck, Nansemond, Sleepy Hole, Suffolk, and Whaleyville.

Other communities located in the city of Suffolk include: Belleville, Crittenden, Driver, Hobson, and Holland, Virginia.

Find Physical Features* Within This County

USGS (link)

* includes but not limited to Cemeteries, Churches, Locales, Schools,

Military Installations;  Populated Places, Post Offices, Streams, and Trails

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County boundary changes

Historical Changes in the Boundaries of this County

     Conducting genealogical research in the United States requires an understanding of county boundaries.  As the population grew more counties were created to meet the public’s need for localized governments.  This phenomena was common in all states during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  As such you must be sure that you are not looking for records in the wrong county or state. 

     The web-site for the Atlas of Historical County Boundary Project provides interactive maps for all states. This Atlas is meant to be a resource for people seeking records of past events, and people trying to analyze, interpret and display county-based historical data like Land Records, Probate Records, Court Records, Tax Records, and Vital Records that document birth, death, and marriage.   Listed below are the boundary changes for this county, the dates they occurred, as well as the government statute that decreed the change.  To see actual changes in a mapping format follow this LINK to the Atlas of Historical County Boundary Project .

NANSEMOND COUNTY: Map(s) and descriptions of Historical Boundary Changes

Click on thumbnail buttons for Map images


1637 - UPPER NORFOLK (later NANSEMOND, extinct) created from NEW NORFOLK; NEW NORFOLK Co. eliminated.

1640 - UPPER NORFOLK (later NANSEMOND, extinct) boundaries redefined [no change].


1642 - UPPER NORFOLK renamed NANSEMOND (extinct).

1647 - Boundary between NANSEMOND (extinct) and ISLE OF WIGHT clarified [no change].


1656 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost to ISLE OF WIGHT.

29 May 1702 - Boundaries of NANSEMOND (extinct) clarified [no change].


15 Dec 1769 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost to ISLE OF WIGHT.


13 Mar 1772 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost to ISLE OF WIGHT.


01 Mar 1786 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost to SOUTHAMPTON.


01 Oct 1910 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost to creation of Suffolk as an independent city, 2d class.

19 Jul 1916 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost small area to the independent city of Suffolk [not mapped].

01 Aug 1926 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost small area to the independent city of Suffolk [change too small to map].

31 Dec 1928 - NANSEMOND (extinct) lost small area to the independent city of Suffolk [change too small to map].

01 Jul 1972 - NANSEMOND and the towns of Holland and Whaleyville were consolidated to create the new independent city, 1st class, of Nansemond (extinct); NANSEMOND County eliminated.

Use this link to find more resources regarding the

Historical County Lines

historical changes of county boundaries in all 50 U.S. States.

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Links to More About This U.S. State

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State-Wide Resources

For more information about the U.S. State in which this county is located  click  on  these  LINKS:


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Where in the world

Where in the World
are My Ancestors?

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Resources which enhance our knowledge of the places inhabited by our ancestors are almost as important as their names.

Maps & Gazetteers 5

This LINK will take you to Maps, Gazetteers,   and other helpful  resources  that will assist you in discovering Ancestral Locations. 

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Tool Kit (pink)


Gen Tool-Kit

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Tool Kit (pink)2

Our “Gen-Tool Kit” has been primarily designed for those researchers who may be traveling to this location to perform on-site studies of their family history, or to just visit some of the interesting historical sites located in the area.  It can be very satisfying to mix research with sightseeing at historical and scenic spots.  Such activity not only gives you an understanding of the land but a needed break from intense research sessions.  When visiting an ancestral county for genealogical research we’ve found that the three most important places to visit are the county courthouse; the county library; and the county historical and/or genealogical societies.  It is also good to plan ahead by contacting any site you intend visiting in order to ascertain where it is and when it will be open.  This is especially true with regard to historical and genealogical societies.  We hope that the following information will provide you with a better idea of what resources are available, within this county, to the family historian.


County History

Libraries, Museums

& Archives

Maps and Gazetteers

 County Records


(History & Genealogical)




·        Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans

·        Ames

·        Badger

·        Barrett

·        Brinkley

·        Canaan

·        Cedar Hill

·        Duke

·        Holly Lawn

·        Little Zion

·        Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens

·        Mount Zion

·        Mt. Zion (*)

·        Oak Lawn

·        Oliver

·        Pleasant Hill

·        Rabey

·        Rawles

·        Riddick (CR 642)

·        Riddick (CR 673)

·        Rosemont

·        Skeeter

·        Triangle

·        Virginia State Veterans (*) †

·        Whitehead

·        Wright

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National Register of Historic Places listings in Suffolk, Virginia

·        The history of Nansemond County, Virginia

·        Nansemond County Bibliography

·        Suffolk (Independent City)

·        Suffolk City

·        Suffolk Historical Markers (The Historical Marker Database)

·        Suffolk Historical Markers (Marker History)

·        Nansemond County Post Offices

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Libaries, Museums, Archives

Libraries, Museums & Archives

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Maps and Gazetteers

Maps and Gazetteers

·        Birds eye view of Suffolk, Nansemond Co., Va. 1907

·        Nansemond County (1895 U.S. Atlas)

·        Nansemond County Post Offices 1846

·        Quad List of Chuckatuck, Virginia

·        Quad List of Drivers, Virginia

·        Quad List of Hobson, Virginia

·        Quad List of Holland, Virginia

·        Suffolk City Gazetteer

·        Suffolk City Topo Maps and Aerial Photos

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County Records


·        Suffolk Vital Records

·        1783 Nansemond Co. Tax List

·        1789 Nansemond co., Tax List

·        1790 Tax List Nansemond Co.

·        1802 Nansemond Co, Tax List

·        Bible Records of Suffolk and Nansemond Co., VA ($)

Because the county is extinct, there is no existing Nansemond County Courthouse. Records are held at the Independent City Courthouse located at the Mills E. Godwin Courts Complex, 150 N. Main Street, Suffolk, VA 23434 map, (757) 514-7800.   Beginning Dates for Nansemond County, Virginia Government Records: Birth 1853;  Marriage 1853;  Death 1853;  Census 1820 (Lost censuses: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1890);  Land 1868;  Probate1866.  Many records were lost by the burning of the county clerk's office in 1866. 

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Societies (Historical & Genealogical)

·        The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society

·        Tom Smith Camp 1702, Suffolk Sons of Confederate Veterans

·        Virginia Genealogical Society

·        Virginia Historical Society