Unicoi County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Guide to Unicoi County, Tennessee ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Erwin
Organized: March 23, 1875
Parent County(s): Washington, Carter[1]
Neighboring Counties
Carter  • Greene  • Madison (NC)  • Mitchell (NC)  • Washington  • Yancey (NC)
See County Maps
Unicoi County Tennessee courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Location of Unicoi County, Tennessee.PNG
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Unicoi County was named for Cherokee word for "fog-draped" or "hazy". The county is located in the northeastern area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Appalachian Mountains

Unicoi County Courthouse
100 Main St.
Erwin, TN 37650
County Website Phone: 423-743-9541
County Clerk Phone: 423-743-3381
County Register of Deeds Phone: 423-743-6104
Circuit Court Clerk Phone: 423-743-3541

County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1875.
Clerk Circuit Court and Chancery Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1875.[3]

Unicoi County, Tennessee 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
1908 1875 1908 1875 1875 1875 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1875 Unicoi County was established 23 March 1875 from Washington and Carter Counties. Early records may be found under Washington and Carter Counties.
  • County seat: Erwin[5]

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Banner Hill Earnestville Lillydale Riverview
Briggs (hist.) Erwin Limestone Cove Rock Creek
Brownlow (hist.) Fordville (hist.) Loganton (hist.) Rocky Fork
Bumpus Cove Flag Pond Love Station Shallowford
Chestoa Harris Mill Marbleton Unaka Springs
Clearbranch Hulan Hollow Pleasant Garden Unicoi
Coffee Ridge Indian Creek (hist.) Rice Bend Woodby Hill
Davis Springs Kittyton (hist.) River Hill

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 1784 - In August 1784 delegates from Washington County (including land that eventually became Unicoi County) and other western North Carolina counties which had split off from Washington County (all now in Tennessee), declared their Independence from North Carolina because of perceived neglect, and misuse by North Carolina’s legislature.
  • 1784-1788 - Originally part of the pioneer Watauga Settlements.
  • 1785 - By May 1785 they petitioned to be admitted to the United States as the new State of Franklin Genealogy.[6] The Franklin statehood request was denied.
  • 1789 - The hopes for a State of Franklin faded. North Carolina became a state and ceded her westernmost counties to the United States. The ceded counties, including most of Washington County (and eventually Unicoi), became the Southwest Territory.
  • 1796 - The Southwest Territory was admitted to the United States as the new State of Tennessee.
  • 1875 - Unicoi County was established 23 March 1875 from Washington and Carter Counties.
In the 1780s, this county's land fell within the bounds of the State of Franklin Genealogy

Additional Information

Unicoi is a Native American Cherokee term for the Appalachian Mountains. It is believed to mean "white or fog-draped."[7]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Unicoi County, Tennessee online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 3,645
1890 4,619 26.7%
1900 5,851 26.7%
1910 7,201 23.1%
1920 10,120 40.5%
1930 12,678 25.3%
1940 14,128 11.4%
1950 15,886 12.4%
1960 15,082 −5.1%
1970 15,254 1.1%
1980 16,362 7.3%
1990 16,549 1.1%
2000 17,667 6.8%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.

1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Unicoi County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.




1890 Lost Substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 7 1891. Unicoi County is included in Vol. 7.
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.

1891 Male Voters





Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Many of your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence, occupations, and other family history information.

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. [8] January 25, 2005. In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service. The TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. Online searchable index at TSLA.

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]



Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

The original Unicoi County Deed Books are held at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed Deed Books 1-7 (1876-1903), Trust Deed Book 1 (1876-1899), and Index to Deeds and Mortgages (1876-1920). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 972739-972744.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Washington CountyCarter CountyGreene CountyMadison CountyYancey CountyMitchell CountyTN UNICOI.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul. 1961):95-98. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Unicoi County pensioners (p. 97.)

Civil War

Online Records

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Unicoi County:

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Unicoi County click on the following town:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries may mention birth, marriage, spouse, parents, and living family members.Obituaries for residents may be found in:

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Prisons[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Genealogical periodicals can contain unique sources and can be local, regional, or statewide. The following periodicals cover this county:

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The original Unicoi County wills are held at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed wills covering the date range 1876-1947. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 972738.

Online Records and Indexes

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

The original Unicoi County Tax Books 1876-1899 are kept at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 972745.

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1798-1798 - Tax List, Carter County, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 9, No. 4. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. Includes digital images of the original source; covers area that later became Unicoi County.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Delayed Births
When the Social Security Administration was created in 1935, the agency asked for birth certificates as proof the applicant qualified for entry into the program. Most Tennesseans who wished to apply were born prior to the 1908 state law that first required the issuing of birth certificates. Beginning in 1935, Tennessee began to issue Delayed Birth Certificates thru an application process that required supporting documents.[9]

Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the 1869-1909 delayed birth records of Tennessee. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page are free to search at TSLA on Ancestry - indexes are free, images require subscription.($)

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online indexes and Records

Book Abstracts and Indexes

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Online Titles

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FamilySearch Books Online

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Unicoi County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Tennessee 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 Unicoi County. For state-wide library facilities, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Unicoi County Public Library
201 Nolichucky Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650-1239
Phone: 423-743-6533
Fax: 423-743-0275

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Unicoi County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Tennessee Societies.

Unicoi County Historical Society
Erwin, TN 37650

Watauga Association of Genealogists Northeast Tennessee
100 Millard St.
Johnson City, TN 37604
Email: wagsnetn40@gmail.com
Website Facebook

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Unicoi, Tennessee" in Wikipedia accessed 09 Jan 2019
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. J Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  7. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  8. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  9. website