in Seventeenth-Century Virginia
IT is impossible to perform for seventeenth-century Virginia what historical demographers have been doing for contemporary England and France and even for New England. The necessary data, if ever recorded, have been lost or destroyed, and only sporadic and inconclusive vital statistics from a few isolated locations survive. The records of headrights, which have been preserved, have limitations which I have discussed elsewhere. 1 Nevertheless, records of other kinds survive, especially county court records from the second half of the century and reports from governors and other officers to their superiors in England. From a variety of sources, though we cannot reconstruct the population of seventeenth-century Virginia in detail, we can at least perceive some of the larger outlines and trends.
Much of the initial work was done forty years ago by Evarts Greene and Virginia Harrington in their monumental and indispensable collection of contemporary estimates and censuses for all the colonies. 2 Since they made no attempt to interpret or evaluate what____________________