• David Joyce

Book of the Week: Sunlight on the Southside: Lists of Tithables Lunenburg County, VA (1748-1783)


For this week’s genealogical book we will learn about “Sunlight on the Southside: Lists of Tithables Lunenburg County, Virginia (1748-1783)”. Complied of Landon C. Bell, all the tithables lists for the Established Church of England in Lunenburg County have been documented. While many of the pioneers recorded were English, Anglicans, there were also large numbers of Scots-Irish Presbyterians living the county as well. Genealogically, Lunenburg from the beginning, was where religious dissenters, those expanding their wealth, and those who simply chose to live in isolation, made a home. Whatever their reason for settling here, the records reflect this history.


As previously mentioned, these documents give genealogists an advantage that many other counties do not benefit from. In 1746 when the first tithable map of Lunenburg County was created, it showed the names of the tithe collectors and the areas they oversaw. For the purposes of genealogical research, this can have several important consequences:


  • If you know where your ancestors lived in Lunenburg County, you look for them under their local tithe collector

  • If you are related to one of the tithe collectors, you can find more about their family

  • If you are looking for Scots-Irish ancestors, you can find them in the various Presbyterian communities in the county

  • If you are looking for Anglican ancestors, they can also be found.

  • If you are looking for family members of your ancestors in Lunenburg, you might be able to find them in this book


For this article, I will use the tithable list of William Caldwell, a son of the Scots-Irish, Presbyterian Elder, John Caldwell. In 1748 Thomas Vernon Senior, who converted from the Society of Friends, is listed along with his son, Thomas Vernon, Junior. 1 Living on the Presbyterian, Cub Creek Church settlement, we can find also one of his Scots-Irish in-laws, Alexander Joyce.2 Four years later, Thomas Vernon is again documented, but this time with two family members, Isaac and James, and is again living near his in-law, Alexander.


Whether your reasons for researching colonial Lunenburg County, Virginia, studying this book can easily apply to most genealogical situations. Able to show the reader the complex makeup of communities in in the county, it can offer insight into the lives of your ancestors, and maybe provide some helpful information.




Documentation and Suggested Readings:


1. Landon C. Bell, Sunlight on the Southside: Lists of Tithes Lunenburg County, Virginia (1738-1783) (Baltimore, Maryland : Genealogical Publishing Co., inc, 1998), 78.

2. Bell, Sunlight on the Southside: Lists of Tithes Lunenburg County, Virginia (1738-1783), 78.

3. Landon C. Bell, Sunlight on the Southside: Lists of Tithes Lunenburg County, Virginia (1738-1783) (Baltimore, Maryland : Genealogical Publishing Co., inc, 1998), 188.

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