John Glassford & Company - Index of Account Holders
Alexandria & Colchester stores, 1758-1769

A frequently asked question is "who shopped at the stores?"  The challenge of this question stems from the use of who: is the question directed toward who held an account or anyone who shopped at the stores?  This index hopes to address at least those who held an account in the Alexandria (1765/1766, 1767/1768) and Colchester (1758-1769) ledgers.

At present, the index includes 1,865 accounts and account holders between the Alexandria and Colchester stores over an eleven year period.  It represents men and women, the enslaved, places, occupations, organizations, and the stores themselves. 

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How did we create the index?

For most of the ledgers, an index of accounts was also included - although several were incomplete either with missing pages or missing account holders.  All the indexes from the ten ledgers were combined and then verified/added to by reviewing each ledger, page-by-page to confirm the account holders.  (Pages missing from the imagery were not identified or verified against the original ledgers for the creation of this index.)  This thorough review resulted in additions of accounts and spelling updates based on information found at the account level.  The profession, location, and account reference information was included in this index providing the ability to discern when an individual was the same from ledger to ledger.  

Because different authors created the ledgers, with different understandings of spellings of the names, an attempt was made to standardize the spellings with any variants found noted, e.g. the surname Berkley also appeared as Barkley and Barckley.  When the location information changed, all locations described were included.  For example, Thomas West was described as from Fairfax from 1763-1765, Prince William from 1765-1767, and again from Fairfax from 1767-1769.  Whether this represents movement of West from one place to another or a misunderstanding of his home by the ledger author has yet to be determined; however, based on the account information flowing from one ledger to the next, it was the same Thomas West.

 

As the purpose of this index is to provide a list of account holders from the stores, multiple instances of the same person are listed only once with all information found at the account level included.  When the information in the ledgers made it impossible to discern when individuals with a similar name could be one or multiple people, the decision was made to err on the side of more rather than less, e.g. Henry Boggiss of Fairfax, Henry Boggiss tobacco inspector, Henry Boggiss Senior of Fairfax, and Henry Boggiss Junior, are all included, although likely represent only two individuals.  For the purpose of searching, the Reference field indicates not only information found within the ledger, but also when an account represents estates, places, organizations, or store-related accounts (i.e. Household Furniture, Ready Money Sales, Shells Account, etc.). 

Two other significant elements speak to who the account holders were: shopping location and gender.  As such, any account holders known to represent women were defined, as well as the store's location associated with the account holder: whether the individual shopped in Colchester, Alexandria, or both stores (of which nearly 12% of accounts occurred in both stores).

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Next Steps

With the completion of this index and the information found within it, the plan is to begin exploring where individuals lived compared to the stores and how individuals were related (son of, widow of, overseer for, etc.).  Stay tuned!