VESTRY BOOKS FOR CHRIST CHURCH PARISH, LANCASTER COUNTY, VIRGINIA
The earliest known vestry book for Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County, Virginia covered the period September 23, 1665 - February 8, 1759. In a letter from February 1835 to St. Leger Landon Carter of Cleve, King George County, Joseph Ball of Ditchley, Lancaster County, reported finding the vestry book in a collection of books once belonging to David Currie, minister of Christ Church Parish from 1743-1790:
"Dear Sir, There has recently been discovered among the books of the Revd David Currie, dec’d a Record of Christ Church Parish, beginning the 23rd of September 1665 and ending the 8th of Feby 1759. In looking over it whilst your relative, Miss E. L. Carter was on a visit here, she expressed a desire that you should have something from it."
In June 1837, Reverend William Meade, Assistant Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia (Meade would succeed Richard Moore as Bishop in 1841), had access to the vestry book. Meade reports seeing the book again three years later but says it disappeared shortly thereafter and "though carefully sought for since, can nowhere be found."
The second vestry book (1739-1786) for Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County, Virginia begins as a record of St. Mary's White Chapel, at that time still considered a separate parish from Christ Church though the two shared the same minister and glebe. There are no extant vestry records for the period 1786-1832, which suggests either that body’s minimal role or even dissolution in the wake of disestablishment, or that any records kept were lost.
The original manuscripts are at the Library of Virginia. Transcriptions of the second and third vestry books are available here:
PARISH REGISTERS FOR CHRIST CHURCH PARISH, LANCASTER COUNTY, VIRGINIA
As required by law and like parishes across colonial Virginia, the minister and/or clerk of Christ Church Parish would have kept a register of births, deaths, baptisms and marriages. No records survive to indicate the dates for this colonial-era register. Two sources near the turn of the twentieth century mention it as if at that time it still existed, but to date the earliest register known to survive for Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County begins in 1852. This register contains entries on white and black parishioners, including enslaved and free blacks in the years before the Civil War.