Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Surry County, North Carolina ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Dobson
Organized: 1771
Parent County(s): Rowan[1]
Neighboring Counties
Alleghany  • Carroll (VA)  • Forsyth  • Grayson (VA)  • Patrick (VA)  • Stokes  • Wilkes  • Yadkin
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Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Surry County is located in the northwestern portion of North Carolina and shares a border with Virginia. It was named for either the English County of Surrey (birthplace of Royal Governor William Tryon) or the Saura (Cheraw) Indians who populated the area.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Surry County Courthouse
114 W Atkins Street
Dobson, NC 27017-0345
Phone: 336-401-8150
Surry County Website

Register of Deeds has birth, marriage death, burial and land records.
Clerk Superior Court has divorce court and probate records from 1771.[3]

Surry County, North Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1912 1778 1912 1771 1771 1771 1784
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1771 Surry County was created from Rowan County.
  • County seat: Dobson[5]

For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Surry County was originally formed from Rowan County in 1771. Rowan had been formed from Anson in 1753, and Anson was formed from Bladen in 1750. The act to form Surry County was proposed to the assembly of North Carolina in December 1770, and was passed the following month, January 1771. This act became effective 1 Apr 1771.

Wilkes County was formed in 1777 from Surry County and, according to some sources, Washington District, also known as the District of Washington. Evidently, however, the District of Washington was created in the same legislative session. Washington District is, today, Washington County, Tennessee. Stokes County was formed ten years later, in 1789, from the eastern section of Surry County.

Surry County records dated from the 1770s and 1780s cover parts of present-day Ashe, Alleghany, Forsyth, Stokes, Wilkes, and Yadkin Counties.

In 1790, the county seat of Surry County became Rockford.

Yet another division took place in 1851, as Yadkin County was formed from the area south of Yadkin River. In 1853, the county seat was moved from Rockford to the new town of Dobson, and has remained there to this day. Dobson is named for William Polk Dobson, a prominent citizen. The Registrar of Deeds Office in Dobson welcomes visitors to its very user-friendly collection of vital records.

The 1860 census for Surry County shows about 1,200 slaves in the county.

Settlers from Virginia and Pennsylvania who were of the Quaker religion came from the New Garden and other meetings in Guilford County, North Carolina. Some of those families include Bond, Burcham, Hill, Hiatt, Horton, Love, Pinson, Jackson, Jessup, Simmons, Stanley and Taylor. Many of them moved on to Indiana but numerous descendants are still in the area.

Those of the German Moravian faith who came from other North Carolina settlements include the Brinkley, Hauser, Kiger, Moser and Shouse lines. Families of French descent include Hardin, Poindexter, Lambert, Laurence, and probably Laffoon.

The Riggs family, said to descend from Edward Riggs III who came to Massachusetts in the 1630s and founded Morristown, New Jersey, came to Surry County with the Henson, Jarvis and Wilmoth families.

Families that came from Albemarle County, North Carolina, were Burrus, Cave, Easley, Fleming, Franklin, Ollesby, Perkins, Snow, Taliaferro and Tucker. Those that came from neighboring Stokes County were East, Hill, King, Pratt, Simpson, Venable and Vernon.

Other prominent families were Marion, Creed, McKinney, Moore, Dudley and McCraw.

Present-day Surry County is southern living at its best. Because of being somewhat isolated at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia, it has been able to retain the long-held traditions of the family lines that have remained there for over 220 years. Some have clung to the old Elizabethan English and many have strong roots in their Primitive Baptist upbringing. Most of these second-generation Americans were born in Virginia and migrated to North Carolina looking for the fertile land that had been advertised and scouted.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

  • Bible Records at North Carolina Digital Archives - index and image

Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • Coats, Charlotte, Joshua Richardson, Lazarus Tilley, William Mason: The American Revolution and Before, 2006.

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Surry County, North Carolina online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information


Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 7,192
1800 9,505 32.2%
1810 10,366 9.1%
1820 12,320 18.9%
1830 14,504 17.7%
1840 15,079 4.0%
1850 18,443 22.3%
1860 10,380 −43.7%
1870 11,252 8.4%
1880 15,302 36.0%
1890 19,281 26.0%
1900 25,515 32.3%
1910 29,705 16.4%
1920 32,464 9.3%
1930 39,749 22.4%
1940 41,783 5.1%
1950 45,593 9.1%
1960 48,205 5.7%
1970 51,415 6.7%
1980 59,449 15.6%
1990 61,704 3.8%
2000 71,219 15.4%
2010 73,673 3.4%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Deep Creek. Constituted 1781.[7]
  • Hunting Creek. Constituted 1781.[7]
  • Little Yadkin River. Constituted 1785.[7]
  • Shallow Fords. Founded before 1773.[7]


  • Fraternity Church of the Brethren, near Clemmons, N.C. Established about 1775.[8] Later located in Stokes and Forsyth counties.


  • Nazareth Church aka Old Dutch Meeting House. Organized about 1778 by German settlers.[9] Later located in Stokes and presently situated in Forsyth.


  • Friedberg Church. Begun 1759; organized 1773.[10] Later located in Stokes and presently situated in Forsyth.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]


Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • [Adamson] Dixon Ben F. and Alice L. Dwelle Dixon. The Adamson Source Book, a Genealogy of the Descendants of Rachel Williams Adamson, 1776-1850 of Surry County, N.C., Jefferson County, Tenn., and Lawrence County, Ind.: with an Addendum of Miscellaneous Historical Material on the Name Adamson. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: B.F. Dixon, 1942-1961.
  • [Combs] Combs & Families of Surry County, North Carolina
  • [Dunagin] Dunagin, Percy E., The Early Dunagins of Surry County, North Carolina, Family Heritage Publishers, 2007.
  • [Whitaker] Whitaker-Buck, Ruby M. Mark Whitaker, Baltimore County, Maryland (c1670-1729) and Allied Families. Sacramento, Calif.: privately published, 1992.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Surry County, North Carolina deed records date from 1771, when the county was formed. In addition to more ordinary deeds, Surry County land records at the Register of Deeds' office also include records involving Lord Granville's agents, and state land grants. Bills of sale for slaves are also included.

According to the Register of Deeds' web pages in the county government site, the earliest deed index for the county covers 1771 to 1870. This was followed by a second index, which covers the period from 1870 to 1937.

The office of the Register of Deeds is located at 201 E. Kapp Street in Dobson. More information, including phone number and office hours, can be found in the Register of Deeds' web pages.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Absher, Mrs. W.O., and Mae R. Hayes, Surry County, North Carolina Deed Book C (1777-1788). Self-published.
  • Boyles, Carolyn, Wilma Hiatt, and Surry County Genealogical Association, Surry County (Images of America series), Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000.
  • Columbine, Mary Felts, Surry County, North Carolina: Early Settlers and Road Builders, 1771-1850, 2005.
  • Holcomb, Brent, Marriages of Surry County, North Carolina, 1778-1868, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982.
  • Hollingsworth, Jesse Gentry, History of Surry County, or Annals of Northwest North Carolina, W.H. Fisher Company, 1935. Google Books, without preview
  • Jackson, Hester B., Surry County Soldiers in the Civil War, Dobson, North Carolina: Surry County Historical Society, 1992.
  • Linn, Jo White, Surry County, North Carolina Wills, 1771-1827, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992.
  • Snow, Carol Leonard, Surry County, North Carolina, Deed Abstracts, Toast, North Carolina: Self-published, 1995, 3 vols. (FHL)

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Grayson CountyCarroll CountyPatrick CountyStokes CountyForsyth CountyYadkin CountyWilkes CountyAlleghany CountyNC SURRY.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Surry County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Surry County:

- 2nd Battalion, North Carolina Infantry
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 37th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry (Dunn's Battalion, Partisan Rangers) (Confederate). Company D and Company F.[11]
- 1st Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company E
- 2nd Battalion, North Carolina Infantry, Company B
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company C
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company D
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company E
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, 2nd Company A
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company C
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Voter Registration

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]


  • Surry Community College: various issues between 1969-1995

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Tax lists, 1784-1789, are extant.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Brent Holcomb, in his book Marriages of Surry County, North Carolina 1779-1868, points out that no Surry County marriage bonds from prior to 1779 are extant. Most bonds are housed in Raleigh, North Carolina at the State Archives, but Holcomb points out that about 120 Surry County marriage bonds were found to remain in the Surry County Courthouse in Dobson.

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Surry County. For state-wide archival repositories, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Surry County. For state-wide library facilities, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Elkin Public Library
Member of Northwestern Regional Library System
226 North Bridge Street
PO Box 857
Elkin, NC 28621-0857
Telephone 336-835-5586

Northwestern Regional Library
111 N Front St
Elkin, NC 28621
Telephone 336-835-4894
Area genealogy holdings at the Charles H. Stone Memorial Library, Danbury Public Library, and Yadkin County Public Library

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Surry County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see North Carolina Societies.

African American Historical & Genealogical Society of Surry County
412 Parker Road
Mount Airy, NC 27030
Telephone 336-786-4922

Bassett Historical Center
3964 Fairystone Park Highway
Bassett, VA 24055
Telephone 276-629-9191
Resource for family history research in Henry, Patrick, Floyd, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties in Virginia; the city of Martinsville, Virginia; and Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties in North Carolina.

Surry County Genealogical Association
PO Box 997
Dobson, NC 27017-0997

Surry County Historical Society
PO Box 469
Mount Airy, NC 27030-0469

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Piedmont Trails - Piedmont Trails contains historical data such as early maps, early settlers with detailed genealogy for the Surry County, NC area. This is a personal collection of Piedmont Trails.
  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Sweeney, Alice J. "Bassett Historical Center," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Aug. 2002):1-3. Available at FHL; digital version at Virginia Genealogical Society website.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Surry County, North Carolina. Page 506-514 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 505-509.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Surry County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 27 February 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 1:229; 2:569. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  8. "Fraternity Church of the Brethren," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  9. "Nazareth Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  10. "Friedberg Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  11. J.L. Scott, 36th and 37th Battalions Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1986). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 24.
  12. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at