County of Albemarle, Virginia Property Mapping Project - This work was begun about 1940 and finished in 1943. - It produced the first cadastral, or map of property ownership, for Albemarle Co. - In 2004 there were no records in the Real Estate Office to reveal who had done the work or why - According to local surveyors, the work was done by members of the Sims family, who were surveyors in Albemarle from late 1800s to the 1950s or ‘60s - After extensive field and record research they inked property lines on 1937 Dept. of Agriculture aerial photos (recording race) - They also filed plats, transcripts of deeds and wills, lists of neighbors, and notes from interviews as supporting documentation - Perhaps as many as 10,000 records!
Aerial Photo Collection - Steve Thompson and I photographed both sides of 239 aerial photos in Nov 2004 - 106 images, about half of Albemarle Co., are currently available online to researchers - This work was done in 2005 with software purchased through a grant from UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute - I want to acknowledge the support of Reginald Butler and Scot French - Permission to place Real Estate Office images and documents online was given by Bruce Woodzell, then Assessor, and Andy Herrick, a lawyer for Albemarle Co. - images must be georegistered, an intensive and time-consuming process that warps images and defines spatial context - rear of images list property owners and are online and linked to each aerial photo
Zoom to Petersburg Community - Shows a number of small parcels on the south side of road under five acres. - Includes a school lot that dates to 1903.
Rear of Petersburg Aerial Photo - Lists land owners from image side - Note African Americans are listed with “(col)” after name
Rear of Petersburg Aerial Photo - Note that most of the small lots reference an “Insert” - With the destruction of the history files, documentation for owners of these parcels no longer exists.
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Land Ownership by Race – 1942 Petersburg Community Mouseover highlights owner – Amanda White
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map - clicking on selected parcel with blue identity button selected - opens Identify Tab and shows a link to the history file for this property - click on HF link to open history file
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Notes from interview: Amanda White is dead was known as Belle her dau Dora Belle White is teaching school son – Will White Jr. is janitor St Anne School Flashpaper format, can scroll & zoom image Race Description of property: - when acquired with deed reference - acreage Inheritance
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Notes from Land Tax Book: - Amanda White appears for the first time in 1925 - Dora Belle White dropped in 1925 Inheritance Description of property: - purchased from J.W. Goss in 1887 chain of title
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Plat with metes and bounds
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Abstract of 1887 deed
History Files in Interactive CVHR Map Notes from interview: Walter Ragland lives on the 1A given to Alice Hawkins by his mother, Elizabeth Grady. Information from Mrs. Roans Notes from interview: Also 1A belongs to her brothers James & Edgar Douglas One is dead and the other disappeared Adjacent land owners listed
Conclusion: Significant Record Loss In Rivanna Dist., 56 of 1965 parcels on the aerial photos (or about 3%) reference ‘insert’ instead of owner. No source now exists to positively identify the owners of these tracts. ‘Inserts’ are small parcels, so this loss of data will make it difficult to reconstruct the residents of rural communities. A quick survey of 115 posted history files showed that about 85% had plats. Some plats show old cemeteries; 3 or 4 cemeteries were identified on plats in near the Bypass route close to the Hydraulic Mills area Files contained family information from interviews that does not exist elsewhere Surveys were done before rapid development that followed WW II by local surveyors who were intimately familiar with county land and residents
Conclusion: Significant Record Loss based on a count of taxed parcels in the 1942 Land Book, over 9,100 history files were created during the Albemarle Mapping Project 677 pages from 115 history files are posted on the interactive map, nearly 6 pages per parcel from this it is estimated that over 53,000 pages of historical documentation were on file and were destroyed DistrictWhiteAf-AmTOTAL Charlottesville9553191274 Ivy435164599 Rivanna12697532022 Samuel Miller11682891457 Scottsville12187902008 Scottsville Town1196125 White Hall14422161658 ALBEMARLE TOTAL 9143 in 1937/38 Henrico Co. paid $24,360 to map 264 sq. miles, about $325K in 2013$ Albemarle Co is 726 sq. miles The value of the papers destroyed is probably on the order of $500,000, or more
Conclusion: Significant Record Loss The history files provided spatial context in terms of who were neighbors and temporal context through listing chain of title. Reconstructing these relationships for the entire county through courthouse documentation means that comprehensive community studies that were feasible are now impossible.