How to Research your
Virginia Foster Family

Virginia: Wills / Land:

1.  Thanks to Mary Foster (Robert Foster participant #112 for her instructions on how to get the early Virginia wills on microfilm, click on the Library of Virginia and get the microfilm number you want, then go to your local library and ask for the microfilm to be sent on inter-library loan.  She did this a few years ago and the local library let her get 10 free per year, then $5 each after that. 

  • In general, to run the search, go to Library of Virginia

  • Click on "What We Have."

  • Scroll down and click on "Archives and Manuscripts Catalog."

  • Then, when the page pops up, resist the temptation to use the search bar.

  • Instead, in the upper right hand corner, click on "Images, Indexes, etc."

  • When the next page pops up, in "type word or phrase" type in "foster" but do NOT hit enter; instead, scroll down to "Index to Wills and Administrations"

  • in the left column and click on it. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "GO."

  • 94 records of Foster wills from the 1600's to the early 1800's will pop up.

  • Here is a sample of what a will page of Foster names looks like on-line at the Library of Virginia.

Cancel all your plans for the rest of the day - you will be hooked on this website. Click on each box to see the name, date, county, microfilm number, etc.

If you go back to the search page, you can click on land grants, and see the actual handwritten pages of land granted or sold to Fosters, all the way back to the 1600's. It's mainly for the wills that you have to order the microfilm.  Thank you Mary Foster.

2.  Thanks to Jerry L. Foster I will soon have a copy of this book to share research helps with each of you.  Here is a photo copy of Foster's in Virginia who left wills that can be read today for those of us who want to trace our heritage to these early ancestors.  Copies of wills can be ordered from the Library of Virginia.  Also, note the other spellings of the name Foster, Forester, Forister, Forrester & Forster as spelling wasn't that important at this time period.  Source: Virginia Wills and Administrations by Clayton Torrance, 1972, Baltimore.  This book has been published originally in 1930 and since in 1965, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1985, 1990, 1993 & 2000.

3.  Nature of the court document recorded: w=will; i=inventory; a=administrator's bond or estate account (given in absence of inventory); n.w.=nuncupative willClick here for An explanation of the nature of this work from the book.

Click to enlarge this image of Foster Wills to a very big size so you can read it.

Virginia Wills & Administraton by Clayton Torrance

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