09 June 2016
Tristana P. Treadway, Fluvanna’s clerk of court, is justifiably proud of the records room at the clerk’s office in Palmyra. The room is enormous. Its vaulted room accommodates tall shelves filled with large, heavy books – some of them more than 200 years old - that hold the history of Fluvanna on their pages. Lower shelves with slanted tops hold row after row of books that detail land ownership, wills, deaths, births and marriages, military service lists and more.
“We are very lucky as a county because our records do go back to 1777, which is the inception of the county, with no gaps in our land records,” said Treadway. County records in many localities throughout the South were destroyed by Union forces during the Civil War, in hopes that removing records of land ownership would sow confusion among the enemy. Records are also sometimes lost to accidents like fire or flood, or, as Treadway related about another Virginia locality, accidents as mundane as a sprinkler malfunction.