Researching Pittsylvania County Virginia Bruce /LovelaceFamilies

Start with 1830 when you know the Bruce/Lovelace marriage occurred in Pittsylvania .

Step 1.

Get to know a little about Virginia Research and specifically Pittsylvania County Research. Use the FamilySearch Wiki

Find out a little more about Pittsylvania County at Wikipedia

See especially:

(keeping in mind these are present day districts – but it gives you a feel for how the county is divided; no townships. )


-- because we are going to want to know exactly where in Pittsylvania County the various Bruce/Lovelace families were living.

Step 2: Maps:

I found this map from a link by googling the words Pittsylvania maps and looking at results in images. Here it is online (and bigger)

This is from an 1895 Atlas… again, we want to be able to identify towns and communities:

You can get a map for any county (1895) at

Pittsylvania in 1828 from

Go to the website and click on the map to see a large version.

This is a very useful map because it shows us the county as it was in about 1830

Step 3: Census Records

To start with, let’s look at 1840, 1830, 1820, 1810, 1800 and 1790

  1. We want to find George and Elizabeth in 1830 and 1840
  2. We want to find any other Bruce/Lovelace (Loveless?) families in the area those years – especially any that were close by.
  3. In 1820 and 1810 we don’t know if George and Elizabeth were in Pittsylvania County, but let’s see what Bruce/Lovelace families were there – and of those that were, did any have a young male/female of the right age to be George/Elizabeth?
  4. Going back, we want to know when Bruce and Lovelace families first appeared in Pittsylvania County.

But first we need to know if there were boundary changes in Pittsylvania County during those years. Use this site: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

(there weren’t – here is Pittsylvania 1790-1900


1840 Census Regiment 107, Pittsylvania, Virginia page 92

George Bruce

Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 4

Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 1

Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39: 1

Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9: 1

Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39: 1

Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 1

Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1

Free White Persons - Under 20: 6

Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2

Total Free White Persons: 8

Total Slaves: 1

Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

What other Bruce families are in Pittsylvania in 1840?

What is Regiment 107? Where would it be. Here is how the 1840 Census for Pittsylvania Co. was divided. I used the browse function on 1840 Census to find it.

We need to see a map of the breakdown. How to find one? I would ask a Reference Librarian at the Virginia State Historical Society OR the Virginia State Library!

AND/OR (use research request form.

Compose your question carefully, so it is very clear what you wish to learn.

So now keep working backwards. Can we find George in 1830 (just married) or can we identify a Bruce of Lovelace family with whom he might be living?

Then look at Bruce Lovelace families in Pittsylvania Co. for 1820, 1810 – understanding that both George and Betsey may not be living in the county at that time.

If census records are missing, see if there are tax records.

Step 4. Vital Records.

So far we’ve only seen the index entry; we want to get the actual marriage record (image is not online)

Look at this Family History Library Catalog record

And notice the clickable links to two related records. You will definitely want to order BOTH the bond and the marriage return. You probably should order both bond records just to be sure there is not information on one . Cost is $7.50 per roll of film.

In the meantime, let’ss use the index to identify Pittsylvania Bruce or Lovelace Marriages in the same time frame: (1820-1840) (do a similar search for Lovelace)—and while you are at it, look for DEWS, esp. Charles Dews (see below)

When the films come, get information on all of them.

Step 5 Look at other records

Use the Family History Catalog to find other records you might want to use – tax, probate, land etc.

Use Linkpendium to find online records for Pittsylvania County.

Use Cyndi’s List to find online records for Pittsylvania County.

And you find records just by Googling. I found the record below—

Remember the Dews in the 1870 household headed by Betsey Bruce?

Do you think it is just coincidence that there is also one in this graveyard?