About the Page-Nelson Society

The Page-Nelson Society is an organization of documented descendants of two immigrants from the British Isles, Col. John Page, who arrived about 1650 from Middlesex (in the present London borough of Hounslow) to settle in the Lower Peninsula of Virginia, and the Honorable Thomas (Scotch Tom) Nelson, from Penrith (in present-day Cumbria), who settled in Yorktown about 1703. Membership also includes associates who are in the process of verifying their descent from one or both of those immigrants.

The Society was founded in 1994 by Cecil Wray Page, Jr. (1920-2011) of Gloucester, Virginia, a descendant of both Colonel John Page and the Honorable Thomas Nelson. Membership includes Nelson and Page descendants residing in 35 states in the U.S. and several other nations, including Argentina, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Individuals unrelated to the Page or Nelson families are also welcomed as Friends of P-NS, a new category initiated to support the Society's scholarship program.

The twin missions of the Society are preservation of historic documents and education, with provisions for specific activities in these areas, designed and implemented for the benefit of the general public.

Because the Page-Nelson Society of Virginia is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, donations to support its activities are tax-exempt.

The Society's missions

Both of the general missions of the Society utilize the strengths of member volunteers to:

● aid students who need support at critical points in their academic careers, and
● collect and focus attention on historical documents, memorials, artifacts, and buildings associated with Col. John Page and Thomas Nelson and their descendants.

The Society is concerned for the accuracy of historical data, particularly that accessible in the public domain. It supports the research and documentation of information about the relationship of Page and Nelson family members to significant events in the history of our nation. It also carries on research into the transatlantic origins of the Page and Nelson families.

In keeping with its concern for historic authenticity, the Society issues to its members and some selected document collections a quarterly Newsletter that concentrates on subjects of historical relevance to the Page and Nelson families.


The Society maintains a database containing the names of several thousand descendants of Col. John Page and the Honorable Thomas Nelson. The information is kept as current as possible, and in order to ensure its currency and accuracy, all members are requested to check listings periodically and report any new information or make any corrections necessary.

Associate and prospective members are asked to provide as much information as they can about their Page and Nelson ancestors in order to link with the appropriate lines of descent. One base record for both families is the second edition (1893) of Dr. Richard Channing Moores Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia (available in reprint from the Page-Nelson Society). Recognizing that some information contained in this document must be altered on the basis of more recent research, the Society considers the volume a landmark record of the lines of Page and Nelson descent.

At this time, the full genealogy database is not available to the general public.

Society meetings

Several admission-paid events are open to full and associate members, their families, and guests. These events are entirely self-supporting and, only in very rare instances, may be designated as partially tax-exempt to attendees.

Annual meetings and tours. The Society holds an annual meeting program in June that offers members opportunities to tour and gain information about sites (both public and privately owned) associated with Pages and Nelsons and related families that have played significant roles in colonial and early federal history. These meetings frequently celebrate the contributions of Thomas Nelson, Jr., Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary governor of Virginia, and Governor John Page of Rosewell, Revolutionary patriot and member of the first U.S. congress. Society events also focus on collateral family connections, from whom many members descend, including Robert King Carter, Nicolas Martiau, William Byrd I, Benjamin Harrison, IV, and Bishop William Meade.

Recent annual meeting venues have included:

2000 Grace Church (Yorktown)
2001 Clarke County, Virginia
2003 Historic Christ Church and the site of Corotoman, home of Robert "King" Carter, Lancaster County, Virginia
2004 James River Plantations, Westover, built by William Byrd I, and Berkeley, built by Benjamin Harrison III
2005 Jamestown
2007 Stratford Hall (birthplace of two Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a generation later - of Robert E. Lee)
2008 The Mariners' Museum - Newport News, VA
2009 Yorktown, York County, VA
2011 Long Branch, Clark County, VA (Cancelled due to snow!)
2012 Long Branch, Clark County, VA

Reunions. Every three or four years, the Society holds a Reunion in an area of particular historical interest and relevance to members of the Page and Nelson families. These events generally occupy three days, include annual business meetings, programs of historical interest, tours of houses, churches, and public buildings relevant to family interest, and festive meals that give cousins the chance to get acquainted and reacquainted.

Reunions have been held in:

1994 Williamsburg, Yorktown, Gloucester County, Virginia
1997 Home (Turkey Hill, Kinlock Farm, Belvoir-Cemetery, Maxfield Farm, Cloverfield Farm, Castle Hill Farm), Cismont/Keswick, Virginia, Grace Church (Cismont), University of Virginia tour, and Boar's Head Inn (Dinner)
2002 Abingdon Church and Rosewell (Gloucester), Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg), Yorktown
2006 St. John's Church & Cemetery and Capital Square (Richmond), homes (Oakland, Springfield, Edgewood, Taylor's Creek), Old Fork Church, Sycamore Tavern (Montpelier)
2010 Williamsburg, Yorktown, Gloucester County, Virginia

Other participatory events.  Members also participate in events of historical significance. These include Yorktown Day, held annually on October 19, to celebrate the 1781 surrender of Lord Charles Cornwallis to General George Washington, effectively ending the American Revolution; and the Yorktown Tea Party reenactment previously scheduled for the first weekend in November (subject to change).

References of Interest
Evans, Emory G. and Edward M. Riley, ed. Thomas Nelson and the Revolution in Virginia . Williamsburg, Va.: Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission, 1978.
Evans, Emory G.,  Thomas Nelson of Yorktown: Revolutionary Virginian . Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Charlottesville: Distributed by the University Press of Virginia, 1975.
Evans, Emory G., The Nelsons: A biographical Study of a Virginia Family in the Eighteenth Century, Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Dissertation Services. (A Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Virginia in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Emory G. Evans, B.A., M.A., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia, 1957)

Lee, Nell Moore. Patriot Above Profit: A Portrait of Thomas Nelson, Jr., Who Supported the American Revolution With his Purse and Sword . Nashville, Tenn.: Rutledge Hill Press, 1988.
Page, Richard Channing Moore, Page Family in Virginia,  (also a condensed account of the Nelson, Walker, Pendleton and Randolph Families),  Harrisonburg, Virginia, C.J.Carrier Company (reprinted), 1983.  Originally published in 1893.
Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, Vol. III, The Letters of Thomas Nelson and Benjamin Harrison,  Published by the Virginia State Library, H. R. McIlwaine, General Editor, Richmond, 1929