Shenandoah Valley Heritage Day 2018: "Colonial Research & Genealogy of the Valley"

With guest lecturer William Bynum from the Library of Virginia Archives.

Discover genealogy basics, meet research experts, and enjoy free lectures at Shenandoah Valley Heritage Day. This free event includes information tables hosted by historical societies and research organizations and free lectures on genealogy and research with Library of Virginia Reference Archivist William Bynum at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The morning talk will focus on researching the Lower Valley Region in the Colonial and Revolutionary Era and the afternoon lecture will detail how legislative petitions from the Colonial Period to 1865 are useful tools in genealogy research.

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Information tables hosted by: Handley Library’s Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Historical Society, Josephine School Community Museum, the Library of Virginia, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah County Historical Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Thomas Balch Library, Winchester VA Family History Center, and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.

Heritage Day Free Drawing: thanks to generous donations from, the day includes free drawings to win one of the following great prizes (need not be present to win; winners will be contacted the week of 3/5):

  • 1 semi-annual World Explorer individual membership to Ancestry
  • 1 annual subscription
  • 1 annual Basic subscription
  • 1 AncestryDNA kit

Food will be available for purchase from Fizzles BBQ (on site during lunchtime).

Heritage Day activities are free. Lecture seating is first-come, first-served. Lecture tickets available beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the event. The galleries will open at 10 a.m. (MSV admission fee applies to visit the galleries). Snow date: March 10.

Schedule of Events

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Information stations provided by multiple historical societies and research associations from the region will be available concurrently throughout the day for guests to explore and interact with.

10:30 a.m. Lecture: Researching the Lower Valley Region in the Colonial and Revolutionary Era 

A large variety of records survive from the early days of Frederick County and neighboring counties. Bill Bynum will outline available records and how to use them, including land grants, deeds, wills, marriage records, court records, tax and rent rolls, and church records.

1:30 p.m. Lecture: Legislative Petitions, Colonial Period to 1865

Petitions to the General Assembly were the primary catalyst for legislation in the Commonwealth from 1776 until 1865. Public improvements, military claims, divorce, manumission of slaves, division of counties, incorporation of towns, religious freedom, and taxation were just some of the concerns expressed in these petitions. The petitions often contain hundreds of signatures and are a useful tool in genealogical research.  Mr. Bynum will examine these petitions and how they can enhance your research. 

A native of South Carolina, Bill Bynum holds a BA degree in history from Wofford College and an MA from the University of Virginia, specializing in Colonial and Revolutionary America.  He received additional training from the Modern Archives Institute at the National Archives and from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  He has been a reference archivist at the Library of Virginia since 2007.  Previously, he was reference archivist and acting director at the Montreat, North Carolina office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. 


Above: a colonists home, image by Sidney E. King, courtesy of the National Park Service.

Sat, Mar 03 • 9:30 am to 3:30 pm

Reception Hall

MSV Members: Free

All Others: Free