Research is central to the mission of the Foundation for Historic Christ Church. It guides our interpretation and preservation of this remarkable site. 

The Lloyd T. Smith, Jr. & Ashlin W. Smith Research Library contains documents, photographs, images and electronic databases related to the history and preservation of Christ Church, the Robert and Thomas Carter families, the enslaved and indentured communities at Corotoman, and the people and places who made up Christ Church Parish. The library holds only a few original manuscripts, but it has copies of original documents from the Lancaster County Court (wills, inventories, tithables lists, etc.) and Christ Church Parish (1739-1786 vestry book, Processioners’ Returns 1711-1783, parish register 1852-1889) that relate to the history of Christ Church and the parish community. Visit our collections page for more information.

Researchers should note that Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County is often confused with Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County. Both the vestry book (1663-1767) and the parish register (1653-1812) for Christ Church Parish, Middlesex survive. The Library of Virginia has more information on these documents and other Middlesex County records

Please note that Christ Church Parish, Lancaster is missing its earliest vestry book (1665-1759) and parish register.

Researchers should also note that from 1669 to 1752, two parishes existed in Lancaster County: Christ Church and St. Mary's White Chapel. Researchers interested in St. Mary's White Chapel can find valuable information in the Lancaster County records or at St. Mary's White Chapel's website.

If you are conducting research on a person/topic from Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County or a Carter descendant, we will do our best to assist you. Please e-mail your research questions to

To schedule an appointment for use of the library, please contact (804) 438-2451, leaving a voicemail message for the requested date and time with your name, phone number and e-mail address or e-mail an appointment request to research@christchurch1735.orgResearchers who show up without an appointment may not be able to access the archives or meet with volunteers and staff who can assist them, so please contact us in advance.

If you are conducting genealogical research on someone who did not live in Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County and/or who is not a Carter descendant, we suggest you visit these sites: