Virginia Free Public Records Directory


Virginia Public Record Directory

The Commonwealth of Virginia lies midway along the United States’ Atlantic coast. From the Atlantic to the mountains and valleys of its western reaches, Virginia has five distinct geographic regions: the low Tidewater coastal plain, the rolling hills of the Piedmont in the center of the state, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Ridge and Valley Region, and the Cumberland Plateau. Temperatures in the Tidewater are warmer and milder, while the mountains can be cold and snowy in winter. Statewide average monthly temperatures range from the mid-20s to the high 80s.

Thanks to its favorable climate and good harbors, Virginia was the first permanent English colony in North America, earning its nickname: Old Dominion. Disease, starvation, and war with Native Americans killed nearly half of the early colonists, but demand for Virginia tobacco brought more settlers and eventual prosperity. Labor was first provided by indentured servants, but shifted to African slavery by the late 1600s. On May 15, 1776, Virginia became one of the first of the 13 colonies to declare independence from England. Virginia also saw the end of the American Revolution, when the English were defeated by combined American and French forces at Yorktown. Because of its large slave population, Virginia joined the Confederacy during the Civil War; that war also ended in Virginia, at Appomattox Court House. During the war, Virginia’s northwestern counties had formed the new state of West Virginia and joined the Union.

Today, Virginia is bordered by West Virginia on the northwest, Kentucky on the west, Tennessee on the southwest, North Carolina on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and Maryland and Washington D.C. on the northeast. Richmond is its capital, and Virginia Beach is its largest city. Its economy, once reliant on tobacco, is now highly diversified and includes federal government employment, shipbuilding, seafood harvesting, agriculture, livestock, and technology. It is ranked #9 in both business environment and opportunity, and has 16 of the nation’s top 100 wealthiest counties by median income.

With a population of nearly 8.5 million and an area of nearly 42,000 square miles, Virginia is the 12th most populated, 35th largest, and 14th most densely populated state. It has 95 counties and 38 independent cities. Unlike any other state, Virginia gives its independent cities the same political status as counties. An independent city may be the county seat of a separate county. Other municipalities in Virginia are incorporated towns; these are always part of a county. Two counties – Charles City County and James City County – may have “city” in their names, but they are actually counties. Three independent cities – Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake – have larger populations than any county, and only Arlington County is among the top 10 subdivisions by population. Chesapeake Bay, which accounts for most of Virginia’s Atlantic coast, separates the eastern counties of Accomack and Northampton from the rest of the state.

Virginia’s long history and unique set of county and city governments create and rich, complex source of state, city, county, and local public records. They may be found by visiting our directory below of all types, including birth certificates, county and city courthouse locations, and vital records.

Va
Abbreviation VA
Capital Richmond
Population 8,411,808 (2016 est.)
Area size 42,774 sq. mi
Demonym Virginian
Primary languages spoken English
Governor Ralph Northam
Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax
U.S. Senators Mark Warner, Tim Kaine
U.S. House Delegation 7 Republicans, 4 Democrats
Time Zone Eastern: UTC -5/-4
*The map and data in the table are from Wikipedia.

Browse by Public Record Category

There are two types of public records: 1) personal public records that document major life milestones such as birth certificates, death certificates, divorce records, and marriage records, etc.; and 2) government records that are made public such as property tax records, recorded land records, voter records, crime data, jail inmate records, and court records. The Freedom of Information Act is a national law that releases government agency public records and makes it possible to view most public records. Since there are a multitude of records available, it can be difficult to know how or where to access them.

Virginia enacted its first public records act in 1968, and it has been amended several times since. The current law, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, has exemptions are grouped into broad categories. Exemptions are not mandatory; agencies are permitted to release records that are covered by the law. Agencies must respond within 5 days. Virginia has another law called the Virginia Public Records Act, which governs the management and preservation of records; the state library publishes a guide to the act.

When you are ready to start your search, you’ll find our Public Records Directory website easy to use since all of the records can be searched by federal, state, county, city, town, or type of record. The links provided will connect you to the best website for the record search, provide details about the record, or provide contact information for those records without search capabilities.

Find Virginia Statewide Public Records

Fast access to Virginia public record sources at the state level.

Additional Virginia public records links can be found on our Virginia county and city level pages using the navigation links above.

Other Virginia Public Records

Some unique types of public records found in Virginia include CPA licenses, state library archives, and unclaimed property. Virginia also has some unusual laws. The state motto may be “Virginia is for Lovers” but it’s really only for married lovers. Beware, single lovers - sexual intercourse by an unmarried person is illegal in Virginia. More examples of public access records available in Virginia may be found below.

Sources:

Virginia - Statewide Public Records Links
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