The Resource Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns

Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns

Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns, 1785-1812
Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns
Inclusive dates
Bedford County (Va.) Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns, 1785-1812, is divided into two separate sections with different record types. The first section which covers pages 1-214 is a processioners' book. This book records the walking and marking of property boundaries and dates from 1796-1812. This section has an internal index. The second section which covers pages 215-267 is a collection of ministers' returns. These returns date from 1785-1812. There is an internal index for this section. This index, which covers only returns from 1785-1800, lists marriages certified by individual ministers according to the section's numerical sequence of page numbers
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Bedford County was formed in 1753 from Lunenburg County. Parts of Albemarle and Lunenburg Counties were added in 1755. The county was named probably for John Russell, fourth duke of Bedford, who served as secretary of state for the southern department from 1748 to 1751 and had general supervision of colonial affairs.
  • "Processioning consisted of a person or persons appointed by the vestries (later the county court) meeting with the land owners and walking their property boundaries with them and remarking their lines and corners. At least one other person, preferably an adjacent land owner, would accompany the owner and the processioner. Perhaps this "processioning" of people walking the boundaries is the basis for the term "processioning." The objective of this practice seems to have been to prevent boundary disputes between adjacent land owners by renewing and maintaining survey marks. However, most of the marks used were temporary items such as trees and bushes. Processioning was not done annually, nor was the entire county done at the same time. Usually processioning was done by militia districts, or some other governmental subdivision of the county."
  • Until 1780, marriages could be performed only by ministers of the Established Church, who were required by law to record marriages in the parish register. In 1780, dissenting ministers (only four per county from each sect) were first permitted to perform marriage ceremonies. Ministers' returns were required by law beginning in 1780, so all marriages from that date would be of record in the county court clerk's office--thereby creating an official record. Some ministers adopted a custom of making collected returns--a list of marriages performed within a period of time such as a year or several years. In 1784, the General Assembly made it lawful for an ordained minister of any Christian Society to celebrate lawful marriages in Virginia provided such ministers received a license in the county to do so.
  • The original volume, comprised of a processioners' book in one section and marriage returns in a second section, found in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office was created by the County Court.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • Additional Bedford County Land and Marriage Records 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's web site.
  • For an excellent description of processioning lands, consult " A History of Early Spotsylvania" by James Roger Mansfield, pages 80-81 found in the Library of Virginia's book collection.
Processioners' Book and Marriage Returns
  • This negative photostatic copy was compiled and created, under the accession number 25318, by the Virginia State Library's (now the Library of Virginia) Archives Division from the original volume found in the Bedford County Circuit Court Clerk's Office
  • Microfilm Reel 58 was generated by the Genealogical Society of Utah while filming in the Bedford County Circuit Court Clerk's Office
Arranged chronologically within each section.
  • The Library of Virginia
  • 1
  • 1
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Bedford County Circuit Court
  • The Genealogical Society of Utah
Reproduction note
Photostat (negative)
Terms governing use
Use microfilm copy, Bedford County (Va.) Reel 58.
Type of unit
  • v. (267 p.)
  • microfilm reel.

Library Locations

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