The Resource Norfolk County (Va.) Coroners' Inquistions

Norfolk County (Va.) Coroners' Inquistions

Label
Norfolk County (Va.) Coroners' Inquistions, 1766-1909
Title
Norfolk County (Va.) Coroners' Inquistions
Inclusive dates
1766-1909
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Norfolk County (Va) Coroners' Inquistions, 1766-1909, are investigations into the deaths of individuals who died by a sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious manner, or died without medical attendance. Causes of death found in coroner's inquisitions include murder, infanticide, suicide, domestic violence, exposure to elements, drownings, train accidents, automobile accidents, and natural causes, or as commonly referred to in the 19th century, visitation by God. Documents commonly found include in coroner's inquests include the inquisition, depositions, and summons. Criminal papers such as recognizance bonds can be found in coroner inquisitions. Information found in the inquisition include the name of the coroner, the names of the jurors, the name and age of the deceased if known, gender and race of the deceased, and when, how, and by what means the deceased came to his or her death. If the deceased was African American, the inquest would identify the deceased as a slave or free person if known. If the deceased was a slave, the inquest would include, if known, the name of the slaveowner and the slaveowner's residence. Information found in the depositions include the name of the deponent and his or her account of the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased. Slaves were deponents in coroner investigations
Member of
Action
Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Chesapeake, which was named for the Chesapeake Bay, comprises the former Norfolk County and the former city of South Norfolk. It was formed by court order in 1963 by a merger of these two entities, both of which thereby became extinct.
  • Norfolk County (extinct) probably was named by Adam Thoroughgood, a local resident, from his native county in England. It was formed from Lower Norfolk County in 1691. Norfolk County became extinct in 1963, when it was consolidated with the city of South Norfolk to form the city of Chesapeake.
  • The separate office of coroner appeared in Virginia about 1660. The judicial duty of the office is to hold inquisitions in cases when persons meet sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious death, or death without medical attendance. The coroner would summon a jury to assist him in determining cause of death. Prior to November 1877, the jurors numbered twelve. Between November 1877 and March 1926, the jurors numbered six. The jury viewed the body of the deceased and heard the testimony of witnesses. The coroner was required to write down witness testimony. After seeing and hearing the evidence, the jury delivered in writing to the coroner their conclusion concerning cause of death referred to as the inquisition. After March 1926, only the coroner determined cause of death. He could require physicians to assist him with determing cause of death. If a criminal act was determined to be the cause of death, the coroner was to deliver the guilty person to the sheriff and the coroner's inquests would be used as evidence in the criminal trial.
Cataloging source
Vi
Location of other archival material
Norfolk County County Court Minute and Order Books, Superior Court of Law Order Books and Common Law Order Books have references to the Coroners' Inquest and Commonwealth Causes where persons accused of murder were tried. Copies of these books can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm" found on the Library of Virginia web site.
Label
Norfolk County (Va.) Coroners' Inquistions
Note
These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court records from the city of Chesapeake
Arrangement
Chronological by date coroner filed inquisition in the court.
http://library.link/vocab/branchCode
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
A list of selected coroner's inquisitions of interest
Extent
2.7
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Chesapeake (City) Circuit Court
http://library.link/vocab/recordID
001639596
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (6 boxes)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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