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Research has always been central to the mission of the Foundation for Historic Christ Church. Since its formation in 1958, volunteers and staff members, joined by historians, archaeologists, preservationists and other scholars, have examined many facets of Christ Church's history, such as the formation of Christ Church Parish and its role in the local community; the influence of the Carter family and their many descendants; the clergy, glebe, vestry and parishioners of Christ Church Parish; the construction history of the 1670 and 1735 churches; and the preservation of Christ Church and the many individuals responsible for it. These efforts have formed the basis of our knowledge and interpretation of Christ Church, but new research continues each year as we try to learn more about this unique site and locate it within the broader context of colonial Virginia and the transatlantic world.
The Parish Profile Project

Currently, volunteers are engaged in an ambitious project that will shape our understanding of Christ Church Parish for years to come. Using a range of local records that survive from Lancaster County, such as wills and deeds, estate inventories, processioners' returns, tithables lists, rent rolls, and court order books, volunteers are reconstructing the parish community during the period 1720-1750. After more than ten years of work, researchers have identified the names and landholdings of each landowner in Christ Church Parish and incorporated this information into a map of the parish circa 1750. The goal now is to connect material drawn from the estate inventories, wills and deeds, court order books, and tithable lists to the landholders to create "profiles" of them, their households, and other members of the parish community, including tenants, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks, vestrymen, and others. The result will be a rich portrait of an Anglican parish in colonial Virginia.
Click for a larger view
Processioners' Returns for Christ Church Parish, 1711
Research Questions
While the Foundation does not engage in genealogical research, the Parish Profile Project has generated a wealth of information on people active in Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Research questions related to members of Christ Church Parish, Lancaster should be sent to info@christchurch1735.org. The Research Library at Historic Christ Church is open by appointment to outside researchers. To make arrangements to visit, please contact the staff at info@christchurch1735.org or (804) 438-6855.
Researchers should note that Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County is often confused with Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, which formed in 1666 on the south side of the Rappahannock River in what was then part of Lancaster County but in 1669 became Middlesex County. Both the vestry book (1663-1767) and the parish register (1653-1812, which recorded baptisms, marriages, and burials) survive. The Library of Virginia offers more information on these two sources and other Middlesex County records.
Researchers should also note that from 1669 to 1752, two parishes existed in Lancaster County: Christ Church and St. Mary's White Chapel. County records usually identified residents as belonging to one parish or the other. Researchers interested in persons active in St. Mary's White Chapel can find valuable information in the Lancaster County records. They may also contact the church at (804) 462-5908. The graveyard at St. Mary's has a number of colonial markers.
For more information on the formation of Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County and its relation to Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County and St. Mary's White Chapel, Lancaster County, please click here.
Carter Descendants' Database
The other facet of our research efforts centers on the descendants of Robert Carter. The recognition that the Foundation's 1982 publication A Genealogy of the Known Descendants of Robert Carter of Corotoman (unfortunately this is no longer in print nor available for purchase) needed to be updated and revised spearheaded the effort to create an electronic database of Carter descendants. Thus far, more than 39,000 persons have been recorded (roughly two-thirds are descendants; the other one-third married into the Carter line). The goal is to incorporate all this information into a searchable database that can be expanded as new descendants and new material come forward.
Robert Carter. Copy of an original portrait at Sabine Hall. If you are a descendant of Robert Carter and would like to contribute genealogical information to this project, you can e-mail material or questions to info@christchurch1735.org. Persons sending such material should include birth, marriage, and death dates; places of birth, residence, or burial; and other relevant information, as well as the documentation that supports this, when possible. This material may also be sent via U.S. mail to

Carter Descendants Database
P.O. Box 24
Irvington, VA 22480
We should note that while we can search our database to verify a connection between names (and/or documentation) you may provide and those in our records, the Foundation for Historic Christ Church is not a genealogical research institution and does not undertake this type of research for the public. Rather, work on the Carter Descendants' Database entails compiling names of Carter descendants from records provided to us or already accumulated in our archives.

Moreover, our records are by no means comprehensive. There are, no doubt, many descendants of Robert Carter we have not recorded. At the same time, there are many lines of Carters from Virginia who have no connection back to Robert and John Carter of Corotoman. Thus, if you can not document the connection for an ancestor you believe to be descended from Robert Carter of Corotoman or if none can be found in our records, we suggest you use the resources below for further research that may assist you in determining the exact line of Carters from which your ancestor may have descended.
Resources for Genealogical Research in Virginia
Persons interested in genealogical research might find the following institutions helpful:

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