Barry L. McGhee
The Fredericksburg Circuit Court Archives was created in 1990 by Barry L. McGhee, a Fredericksburg native and retired Navy Officer. While researching his own genealogy, McGhee noticed the sad, deteriorating condition of many of the Court's paper records. Working with archive professionals at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, he learned the skills necessary to properly conserve / preserve historic ephemera. Equally important, he utilized computer skills brought from years of Navy service to design Historic Court Records - a unique computer search engine which allows the public to access extracts of Fredericksburg court records online. This site is used by historical researchers and genealogists around the world. Mr. McGhee began with no funding and few resources, but with generous donations, grants from private and public agencies and the help of numerous volunteers built his project into one of only two fully functional Circuit Court archives in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
From Fredericksburg, McGhee ranged outward to train volunteers in surrounding counties to preserve historic documents in their own jurisdictions. This activity led to the creation of the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center in 1998. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, this entity serves as a repository for historic ephemera and photographs from the counties of Caroline, Stafford, King George, Spotsylvania and the City of Fredericksburg. It currently occupies a large local work space and grows daily.
In 2013, Mr. McGhee retired after 23 years of daily labor on a project he built from the ground up. 2015 recipient of the Lillian D. Reed Volunteer Award by the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. In 2018, he was named to the Fredericksburg Difference Maker Hall of Fame.
Anyone familiar with the historical life of our community recognizes the contributions, of knowledge and time, made by Barry McGhee . . . a Fredericksburg "oracle."