Place:Prince William, Virginia, United States

NamePrince William
Alt namesPrince Williamsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates38.7°N 77.483°W
Located inVirginia, United States     (1731 - )
See alsoKing George, Virginia, United StatesParent county
Stafford, Virginia, United StatesParent county
Fauquier, Virginia, United StatesChild county (1759)
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Prince William County is a county on the Potomac River in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 402,002, on July 1, 2015, the population was estimated to be 451,721, making it Virginia's second-most populous county. Its county seat is the independent city of Manassas.

A part of Northern Virginia, Prince William County is part of the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2012 it had the seventh highest income of any county 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.

Earliest Settlers

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.

Grants taking up the lower water front of Cedar Run from a point on the Occoquan just east of Brentsville to the east bank of Dorrell's Run were made to Willliam Spiller, Bennet and Gyaolle, John Hogan, Lewis Reno, Lewis Tacquett, Philemon Waters, Wansford Arrington, Thomas Harrison and Thomas Witledge.

Along Broad Run near Bristow were grants to Thomas Hooper, Wansford Arrington, Moses Linton, Clement Chevalle and Lewis Reno; on Broad and Slaty Runs to Travers Downman, Thomas Barber, Charles Burgess, Charles McDonnel, Thomas Harrison, and Benjamin Bullet. Along the Potomas west of the falls after the first grant to Daniel McCarty in 1709 several years intervened before the next grants were made to Alexander Scott.
(From Prince William A Story of its People and Places, WPA, 1941, Pg 27)

County Creation

In 1731 Prince William County was formally created from Stafford & King George counties. It was 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.
The following areas were once a part of Prince William County:
Fairfax County was cut from Prince William in 1742
Loudoun was cut from Fairfax in 1757
Fauquier was cut from Prince William in 1759
and thus Prince William achieved its present boundaries.

Second Prince William Courthouse (Aden Road and MCB 8)
In 1743, the second Prince William County Courthouse was built near here along Cedar Run, replacing the first county courthouse in Woodbridge. After the creation of Fairfax County, the Cedar Run location, owned by Philemon Waters, became the center of Prince William County. The court remained here only until 1759, when it moved to Dumfries after the creation of Fauquier County. Henry Lee, father of Governor Henry ("Light Horse Harry") Lee, and grandfather of Robert E. Lee, practiced law here. The building, like its predecessor, no longer stands.


Date Event Source
1731 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1731 Court records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1731 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1734 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1859 Marriage records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1864 Birth records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1980 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990

Research Tips

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:

Interactive maps of Virginia county formations:\nmaps.html

Introduction to "Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, 1694-1742":

Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grants and Surveys: Henning's Statutes Historic Court Records LVA Chancery Records Index Ronald Ray Turner's website for Prince William County, Virginia. Prince William County Virginia, Bond Book 1732-1847 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"
An Index compiled by Greg Mason, RELIC Volunteer, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, Virginia, as of 14 Mar 2012,%201723-1782.pdf

A whole long page of links to sites of historical interest to researchers of Prince William and surrounding counties: