Introduction - 1624/5 Muster Databases

In June 1624, King James I assumed responsibilty for the colony of Virginia after he dissolved the Virginia Company of London. He ordered Virginia's leaders to make a record of the colony's inhabitants and their provisions. This census-known as the 1624/5 Muster-is the first comprehensive account of households in British North America. In addition, it is the only extant census for seventeenth-century Virginia. A 1623/4 list of the colony's habitants noted who survived the 1622 Indian attack and where they lived. This list did not include details about the relations among the settlers or their ages.
The 1624/5 Muster is a house-to-house survey that contains information about the location of households in Virginia, the individuals in each household and the ties that connected the colony's early residents to one another. The census-takers also made note of each household's provisions, buildings, boats, arms and ammunition, and livestock. The names of individuals who died during 1624 is part of the muster.
The details in the 1624/5 Muster are in six databases.
      Main database
The main database contains the names of individuals listed on the 1624/5 Muster. Each entry includes information about the household in which a person lived and the location of the household. It is possible to learn additional information, such as age and date of arrival in Virginia, for some of the colony's inhabitants. Deaths-Muster includes the names of the settlers who died during 1624 and the place of their residence.
The last four databases (Food-Muster, Arms-Muster, Livestock-Muster, and Buildings-Muster) provide details about each household's food, arms, livestock, and buildings (this database also includes boats). The names in these four databases are those of the men and women who headed households in January and February 1624/5. The names of wives, children, and servants do not appear in the databases.

The originals of the 1623/4 census and the 1624/5 Muster are in the Public Record Office, London, England.

Hatch, Charles E., Jr. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Williamsburg: Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration, 1957.

Hecht, Irene W. D. "The Virginia Muster of 1624/5 as a Source for Demographic History." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., XXX(1973):65-92.

Jester, Annie Lash, comp. and ed. with Martha Woodroof Hiden. Adventurers of Purse and Person VIRGINIA 1607-1624/5. Third edition, revised and edited by Virginia M. Meyer and John Frederick Dorman. Richmond: The Dietz Press, Inc., 1987.

Morgan, Edmund S. "Appendix: Population Growth in Seventeenth-Century Virginia" in American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975.

Crandall ShifflettŠ 1999, 2000