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How to Use Swem’s

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How to Use Swem’s

Dr. Earl Gregg Swem (1870-1965) indexed seven significant Virginia publications in his Virginia Historical Index. The index, often called “Swem’s” is one of the standard research guides for Virginia records.

Swem, E.G., Librarian of the College of William and Mary. Virginia Historical Index Two Volumes. Baltimore:

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon patrons are fortunate to have this index in the collection. They are doubly fortunate because many of the sources that are indexed are also in the GFO Library collection.

The books indexed in “Swem” are:

  • Calendar of Virginia State Papers, volumes 1–11 (1652–1869). Contains abstracts and transcriptions of the Virginia Colonial Papers (1652–1775) and selected correspondence received by Virginia governors (1776–1865).GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000. (Microfiche)
  • Hening’s Statutes at Large, volumes 1–13 (1619–1792). Compilation of extant acts of the Virginia General Assembly (1619–1792).GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000 Gov. (Microfiche)
  • Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary, volumes 1–5 (1895–1906). Contains abstracts of records related to Norfolk City and Norfolk County.GFO Library catalog number 975.5 N836. (Book)
  • Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, volumes 1–10 (1919–1929). Contains articles on all facets of Virginia history, chiefly on the period prior to 1865, as well as genealogical information on many prominent families.GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000 Per (Book). Volumes in the library: IV & XI, V, VI, VII, VIII & IX. (Book)GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000 Per (Microfiche). Volumes 1 through 33.
  • Virginia Historical Register and Literary Advertiser, volumes 1–6 (1848–1853) . The official publication of the Virginia Historical Society in the mid-nineteenth century.GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000 Per. (Microfiche)
  • Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, volumes 16–38 (1893–1930). Contains articles on all facets of Virginia history, chiefly on the period prior to 1865, as well as genealogical information on many prominent families.GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 A000 Per. (Microfiche)
  • William and Mary College Quarterly Magazine, first series, volumes 1–27 (1892–1919), and second series, volumes 1–10 (1921–1930). Contains articles on all facets of Virginia history, chiefly on the period prior to 1865, as well as genealogical information on many prominent families.GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 Per (Microfiche). First Series, volumes 1-22GFO Library catalog number: 975.5 Per (Microfiche). Third Series, volumes 1, 2, 4, 11.In addition, the Portland State University Library has a complete collection of all series. Catalog number: F221.71. Find these books in the basement.

HOW TO USE THE INDEX:

Take careful note of the combination of numbers and letters after the index entry. Abbreviations for publications indexed in Swem are:

C - Calendar of State Papers

H - Henning’s Statutes at Large

N - Lower Norfolk County Antiquary

R - Virginia Historical Register

T - Tyler’s Quarterly Magazine

V - Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

W(1) - William and Mary Quarterly, first series

W(2) - William and Mary Quarterly, second series

The index entries look like this:

  • Ashton:
  • Sarah 8V314; 7W(1)115-118
  • Family 3T72; 7W(1)56, 57, 115-119, 174-178

The above index entries mean:

  • 8V314: Eighth volume of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, page 314. This is on microfiche (catalog number 975.5 A000 Per).
  • 3T72: Fourth volume of Henning’s Statutes at Large, page 72. This is on microfiche (catalog number 975.5 A000 Gov.)
  • 7W(1) 56, 57, 115-119, 174-178. Seventh volume of the William and Mary College Quarterly Magazine (first series), pages 56, 57, 115-119, 174-178. This should be a bonanza of information, and it is on the bookshelves in the Virginia section (catalog number 975.5 Per.)

 

GFO Research Guide, by Connie Lenzen, CG. Created 17 September 2003.

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