Swem Virginia Historical Index

When E. G. Swem, (1870 – 1965) long-term librarian at the College of William and Mary, completed in the early 1930s the monumental task of indexing eight historical journals that existed at the time, he published the results of his work in two volumes totaling 2299 pages under the title “Virginia Historical Index”. Volume I with entries from A through K contains 1118 pages and Volume II with entries from L through Z contains 1181 pages. These volumes have proven invaluable to those engaged in historical or genealogical research of early Virginia. The journals indexed listed according to the codes Swem used are as follows:

  • H – Henning’s Statutes at Large
  • V – Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
  • W(1) – William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Series I
  • W(2) – William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Series II
  • C – Calendar of Virginia State Papers
  • N – Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary
  • R – Virginia Historical Register
  • T – Tyler’s Historical and Genealogical Quarterly Magazine

The Danville Public Library has in their genealogy room two copies of Swem’s “Virginia Historical Index” (commonly referred to as Swem) and copies of all of the journals indexed. In addition the Library has copies of the journals beyond the years indexed by Swem, but, of course, they are not indexed as a whole and the indices of the individual volumes must be used to find references in them. For a further explanation of the “Virginia Historical Index” see the following websites: