Drawing on primary and secondary sources, historian McCartney (Jamestown Island: An American Legacy) documents individuals who resided in the James River and Eastern Shore regions of Virginia between 1607, when the first permanent English colony in Jamestown was established, and 1635, just after Virginia's county governments came into being. She details her sources in Part 1 along with their corresponding abbreviations, which are used later in the 5500 A-to-Z biographical entries. The "Where They Were" section describes the background of the early settlements and plantations, each of which is designated with a number; in biographical entries mentioning any of these locations, that number appears in bold. Rounding out the section is a map demarcating the locations of the sites. The biographical entries are thorough, accounting for persons mentioned in documents only by their first or last names (thankfully, McCartney includes variant spellings). Some of the entries (e.g., that on Jamestown physician John Pott) are as long as one and a half pages; others are as brief as a dozen words. Yet even the brief entries brim with information, e.g., the "Anthony" entry states that "On February 16, 1624, an African named Anthony was living at Flowerdew Hundred," thus providing researchers with three vital bits of data: name, date, and place. Every entry ends with a source citation. A three-page glossary defining terms that may not be familiar to most readers, e.g., "Whit Sunday" and "hogshead," and a 52-page name index complete the book.
Elaine M. Kuhn