How to Research your
Virginia Foster Family


The loss of the great majority of early records of the Virginia Colony and of early county records have presented unique difficulties for researchers interested in tracing their families. 

The overwhelming desire by individuals to know if possible their ancestral heritage is responsible for the gathering and publishing of all known information.  Those records have been searched from these resources and the data found there is presented here to assist all those who want to know how these early Virginia Foster families may relate to themselves.  Click on these research tabs, use this map as a general guide, document what you find, then share it with your family members.

Dr. Bill Foster published a book in 1989, The Foster Family of Flanders, England, and America - all copies have been sold.  He has added to the genealogical portion of the Foster Family and at last count he has identified over 31,000 individuals directly kin or kin through marriage to the original Robert and Elizabeth Garnett Foster family.  A second edition of his book is now available by clicking here.  The new book is divided into seven volumes published on CD's representing about 2,500 pages of genealogical information.  I encourage you to send Dr. Bill Foster a request for your copy soon.

In 1583, Queen Elizabeth I of England granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter to explore and plant a colony north of Florida.  In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh explored the Atlantic coast of North America. Raleigh, or possibly the Queen herself, named the area "Virginia" after Queen Elizabeth, known as the "Virgin Queen" because she never married.  The name eventually applied to the whole coast from South Carolina to Maine, and included Bermuda. The London Virginia Company was incorporated as a joint stock company by the proprietary Charter of 1606, which granted land rights to this area.  The Company financed the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Jamestown, named for King James I, was founded on May 13, 1607 by Captains Christopher Newport and John Smith.  In 1609 many colonists died during the "starving time" after the loss of the Third Supply's flagship, the Sea Venture.

The House of Burgesses was established in 1619 as the colony's elected governance.  During this early period Virginia's population grew with the introduction of settlers and servants into the burgeoning plantation economy. In 1619, African servants were first introduced, with slavery being codified in 1661.  After 1618 the headright system led to more indentured servants from Europe.  In this system, settlers received land for each servant they transported.  Land from the Native Americans was appropriated by force and treaty, including the Treaty of 1677, which made the signatory tribes tributary states.  The colonial capital was moved in 1698 to Williamsburg, where the College of William and Mary had been founded in 1693. 

Join our Foster DNA Group 7 to see if you are a genetic cousin sharing a common ancestor.

A special welcome to Sara Lewis and her family who have recently found our Virginia DNA group 7 and tie into Richard Foster and Susannah Rand - Ransome family of about 1723.  Her great grandfather was Peter Garnett Foster and grand mother was Ann Hall.  Peter was a son of Richard & Susannah Foster.  Peter's brother was Beverly Ransome Foster the great grandfather of Gary Foster.  You can welcome Sara at her email address here.

Top Ancestries by County

[edit] Religion

Religious affiliation[78]
Christian: 76% Baptist: 30%
Protestant: 49% Methodist: 7%
Roman Catholic: 14% Lutheran: 2%
Other Christian: 13% Presbyterian: 3%
Judaism: 1% Episcopal: 3%
Islam: 1% Pentecostal: 2%
Other religions: 4% Congregational: 1%
Non-religious: 12% Other/general: 2%

Population Density
Virginia Polulation Density

Gary L. Foster, Webmaster
Research coordinator
Gary Foster,
DNA Group 7

Participant #116
Tempe, Arizona

Gary's Website

Dr. Bill Foster
 Dr. B. G. Foster
covering 23 years
of research on our
Foster Virginia immigrant

Bill's Website

Guide to
Southern Vocabulary

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %
1790 691,737  
1800 807,557 16.7%
1810 877,683 8.7%
1820 938,261 6.9%
1830 1,044,054 11.3%
1840 1,025,227 −1.8%
1850 1,119,348 9.2%
1860 1,219,630 9%
1870 1,225,163 0.5%
1880 1,512,565 23.5%
1890 1,655,980 9.5%
1900 1,854,184 12%
1910 2,061,612 11.2%
1920 2,309,187 12%
1930 2,421,851 4.9%
1940 2,677,773 10.6%
1950 3,318,680 23.9%
1960 3,966,949 19.5%
1970 4,648,494 17.2%
1980 5,346,818 15%
1990 6,187,358 15.7%
2000 7,078,515 14.4%

Click on these research tabs, use this map as a general guide, document what you find,
then share it with your family members.

Early Tax Records  Census  Marriage  Wills / Land  Resources

Virginia Map
Virginia Topo Map
Click on Maps to ENLARGE
Remember that county boundaries have changed many times over the past 400 years

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