Prince William County is a county located on the Potomac River in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 402,002, in 2014, the population was estimated to be 437,636, making it the second-most populous county in Virginia. Its county seat is the independent city of Manassas.
A part of Northern Virginia, Prince William County is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area and is one of the highest-income counties in the United States.
See Wikipedia for a history of the county.
Prior to the colonists patenting land beginning in the 1650s, the area was populated by the Doeg tribe.
Although the first patent of land in Prince William dates from 1653, few settlers chose to settle in the area of the county until the early 1700s, because the region was the scene of the bloodiest fighting and slaughters in the Indian wars which continued throughout the seventeenth century.
Along the branches of Quantico Creek and the north branches of Chopawamsic, the following men took up patents between 1694 and 1743: William Bennett, Samuel Jackson, Abraham Farrow, Thomas Harrison, Robert Headges, William Halley, Henry Lucas, Henry Halley, Francis Jackson, Wansford Arrington, Philemon Waters, John Ashmore, John Farrow, John McMillan, William Spiller, Charles Green, and Bertrand Ewell. (From Prince William A Story of its People and Places, WPA, 1941, Pg 27)
The county was formally created in 1731, named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland and son of King George II of Great Britain. Its initial population centered around Manassus (a railroad junction) and Occoquan and Woodbridge along the Potomac River.
At the time of the county's 1731 inception, Prince William included all or part of the following counties: Prince William, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Arlington. Fairfax County was cut off in 1742, and Loudoun in 1757. With the establishment of Fauquier in 1759, Prince William achieved its present boundaries.
"HISTORIC MARKERS IN VIRGINIA"
Many of Prince William's records were destroyed in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and some deed and bond books were stolen by Federal occupation troops. These were later returned, but the early marriage records have been lost and are presumed destroyed. Most of the surviving original records are now housed in the Library of Virginia or the College of William and Mary Library in Williamsburg.
Check Place:Virginia, United States or Virginia Research Guide for statewide resources that would include Prince William County, including abstracts from images of the Grants and Surveys Books. (The books contain handwritten copies of the original documents.) Where a survey is available, information from the survey and grant is combined, and the location of the survey or plat is noted.
Prince William County, Virginia family history and genealogy research guide (FamilySearch Research Wiki).
See also Prince William Reliquary, a quarterly genealogical and historical magazine for Prince William County, Virginia.
History of the Fairfax Grant: http://www.virginiaplaces.org/settleland/fairfaxgrant.html
Interactive maps of Virginia county formations: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~george/countyformations/virginiaformatio\nmaps.html
Introduction to "Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, 1694-1742": http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/BookView.aspx?dbid=49389&iid=FLHG_VANorthernNeckLandGrants1-0009
Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grants and Surveys: http://lva1.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/F/?func=file&file_name=find-b-clas30&local_base=CLAS30
http://vagenweb.org/hening/ Henning's Statutes
http://www.historiccourtrecords.org/courtrecordsearch.asp Historic Court Records
http://beta.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/default.asp LVA Chancery Records Index
http://www.pwcvabooks.com Ronald Ray Turner's website for Prince William County, Virginia.
http://www.pwcvabooks.com/documents/BondBook.pdf Prince William County Virginia, Bond Book 1732-1847
http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/ Tithables and land tax rolls
"Prince William County People 1723-1782; A Name Index to Landowners, Voters, Tithables, Petitioners, Laborers, and Slaves of Colonial Prince William County, Virginia"
A whole long page of links to sites of historical interest to researchers of Prince William and surrounding counties: http://www.historicprincewilliam.org/links.html