First Families of Virginia is a lineage society comprised of individuals who have proven their descent from one of the original Virginia colonists from England, who primarily settled at Jamestown and along the James River and other navigable waters in the Virginia Colony during the 17th century. First is used more in the sense of leading or prominent than first-in-time.
The earliest Jamestown settlers -- those who arrived in 1607 -- were largely a group of skilled tradesmen, young gentlemen and soldiers, all eager for new opportunities. Women arrived only on later supply voyages; the mortality rate at Jamestown between 1607 and 1610 was very high.
The larger number of the First Families of Virginia did not settle at Jamestown with the earliest groups, but arrived in the colony throughout the seventeenth century -- especially during the English Civil War and English Interregnum period (1642-1660), when many Royalists escaped Cromwellian England. Most were so-called "Second Sons" as a consequence of primogeniture (the right of the eldest child, especially the eldest son, to inherit the entire estate of one or both parents.), which evolved into a society of second or third sons of English nobility who inherited land grants or land in Virginia, forming part of the southern aristocracy in America.
The land grants in Virginia did not take place until after 1612 or so, under the Second Charter (1609) and Third Charter (1610) of the Virginia Company of London; and after 1624, when the company’s proprietary charter was revoked and the King took direct control.
While many of these early settlers were descendants of English aristocracy, some FFV members also trace their ancestry to the marriage in 1614 of Pocahontas (she was the daughter of Powhatan - the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virgina) and English-born John Rolfe. Rolfe had arrived in Virginia in 1611, becoming prominent and wealthy as the first to successfully develop an export cash crop for the Colony with new varieties of non-native tobacco.
The combination of notable Native American and English heritage began when the only son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe – Thomas Rolfe -- was born in 1615; and with his offspring, many of whom married other persons of FFV heritage.
- The First Families of Virginia page is presented here solely for information purposes. Barlar.org is in no way affiliated with FFV and cannot facilitate membership.