Public Records

Censuses count the residents of Jamestown in various periods during the seventeenth century from the first passengers on the Susan Constant to 1699 when the capital moved to Williamsburg and Jamestown ceased to be a metropolitan center.

These numerations, unlike the decennial census with which we are more familiar, come from no single record, since there was none, but have been culled from first-hand accounts. State papers include a selection of official letters, oaths, charters, patents, pardons, commissions, and other correspondence dealing with the establishment of the Jamestown colony and its history to 1700.

Especially valuable is the legal record because laws document attitudes towards religion, indentured servitude, and slavery; reveal the status of women, slaves, Indians, and indentured servants; and tell us about the relations between these groups.

Benchmarks in Virginia's early history the first assembly in 1619, Indian attack of 1622, linkage of race and slavery in 1662, and Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 appear in the laws and statutes, selected from William Waller Hening's collection of all the laws from the first session of the legislature in 1619 until 1700.

Historian Julie Richter has produced a helpful commentary on each law to reveal its historical significance. The practise of slavery, selected excerpts from wills, deeds, and the recorded minutes of the Virginia Assembly and Council, demonstrates how the courts handled issues like running away or indelicate cases of interracial sex, adultery, fornication, and other issues of impropriety. They also illustrate the treatment of African slaves and Native American servants and slaves in Virginia during the seventeenth century.

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Public Records

a) Censuses

b) State Papers

c) Laws

d) Virginia Company Records

e) Records of Christ's Hospital

Jamestown Resources

Jamestown Resources is a digital archive of images, artifacts, maps, rare documents, censuses, and other data for teachers, researchers, genealogists, students, and the general public who want to explore the meaning of Jamestown in the American experience.