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Locating records from the "lost" county of Yohogania, Virginia.

Do you have ancestors that lived during the late colonial period in West Augusta County, Virginia, Westmoreland County, or Washington County, Pennsylvania? If you do, then welcome to Yohogania County, Virginia, the "lost" county that once covered parts of southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. [1]

While Yohogania County lasted for only a few short years, it's existence during the crucial time period of the Revolutionary war makes it an important resource that shouldn't be overlooked in your research. Extant records from this county are spread throughout a vast area. Some are located in the Washington County Historical Society, in Washington, Pennsylvania, some are in the University of West Virginia Library, in Morgantown, West Virginia, and some are located in the Library of Virginia, in Richmond, Virginia.

The area had long been under dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania, with Virginia claiming jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania claiming the land as part of Westmoreland County. [2]

Here is a timeline of the various county formations and court jurisdictions that covered the territory during this tumultuous period :

  • 1773 Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania formed from Bedford County, Pennsylvania. [3]
  • 1774 The District of West Augusta formed out of Augusta County, Virginia. [4] 
  • 1776 Ohio, Yohogania, and Monongalia Counties formed out of West Augusta County, Virginia. [5]
  • 23 Sep 1780 Yohogania County is dissolved, it's territory annexed by Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. [6]
  • 28 Mar 1781 Washington County is formed out of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. [7]

If your ancestor or research subject lived in the area during this time period, then it would be worthwhile to search for them in the following little known sources:

Virginia Court Records in Southwestern Pennsylvania, by Boyd Crumrine, is a great place to start your search. This book contains a thorough explanation of the border controversy between Virginia and Pennsylvania, a transcription of the court minutes for the District of West Augusta (1775-1776), a transcription of the court minutes of Yohogania County (1776-1780), and a transcription of the court minutes of Ohio County (1777-1780). Also included is a transcription of early Yohogania County deeds, from 1775-1776. Parts of this book are available online in various forms, check Google books, FamilySearch.com, and the Internet Archive for availability.

Washington County, Pennsylvania, Deed book 1B, contains a number of Yohogania County wills. These records are available online at FamilySearch.com, they are not indexed or searchable.

Washington County, Pennsylvania, Deed book 1C, contains a number of Yohogania County deeds. These records are available online at FamilySearch.com, they are not indexed or searchable. 

Washington County, Pennsylvania, Deed book 1E, contains Yohogania County estate inventories from the years 1776-1781. These records are available online at FamilySearch.com, they are not indexed or searchable.

A list of land claimed by the settlers and preemptioners in the District of Kentucky; [Monongalia, Yohogania, and Ohio; Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier; Washington and Montgomery]. Originals are located at the Library of Virginia, Richmond. This book can be accessed online at your local Family History Center.

Ohio County, West Virginia Land Books, 1771-1788, includes land warrants. water rights and treasury warrants for Yohogania County. Original records at the State Auditor's Office, in Charleston, West Virginia, and the University of West Virginia Library, in Morgantown. These records are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah.    

County Abstracts no. 40, contains abstracts of grant and patent books for Yohogania County. Originals are located in the Library of Virginia, Richmond. These records are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Researching ancestors who lived in areas that experienced significant boundary changes like Yohogania County can be difficult. Knowing what sources are available, and where to find them is critical. It is important to know the boundary history of every county you are researching in. Many times the county that you think your ancestor lived in may have changed names over the years, grew bigger or smaller in size, or didn't even exist at the time that your ancestor lived there! County history books, historical maps and atlases, and genealogy websites like www.usgenweb.com are all good places to look. 

Happy hunting!    

[1] Boyd Crumrine, Virginia Court Records in Pennsylvania (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981), Forward.
[2] Boyd Crumrine, History of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1882), 222–23.
[3] John N. Boucher, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 3 vols. (New York: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), 1:49. 
[4] Boyd Crumrine, Virginia Court Records in Pennsylvania (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981), 14.
[5] Boyd Crumrine, Virginia Court Records in Pennsylvania (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981), 16.
[6] Boyd Crumrine, History of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1882), 222.
[7] Boyd Crumrine, History of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1882), 223.

 

 

 

Jen Wick