Washington County, Virginia Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Abingdon
Organized: 31 Dec 1776[1]
Parent County(s): Fincastle
Neighboring Counties
Grayson  • Johnson (TN)  • Russell  • Scott  • Smyth  • Sullivan (TN)
See County Maps
Location Map
Location of Washington County, Virginia.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Washington County lies in the southwest Appalachian area of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was named in honor of General George Washington who was commander in chief of the American Revolutionary forces at the time.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Washington County Courthouse
191 East Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
Phone: 276-676-6279
Washington County Website

In 1974 nine square miles of Washington County were annexed to the City of Bristol, which is an independent city with its own clerks office and records.
Circuit Court Clerk has marriage, divorce, probate, court and land records from 1777[3]

Washington County, Virginia 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
1853 1782 1853 1777 1777 1777 1810
* Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1912.
General compliance year is unknown.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1864 Courthouse was burned on 15 December 1864, destroying many loose papers and minute books from the periods 1787-1819 and 1821-1837.[5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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:[8]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

President George Washington (1732-1799)

The county was named after George Washington (1732-1799), who later became President.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

For databases and indexes, see Virginia Bible Records.

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For databases, indexes, and information online, see Virginia Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 5,625
1800 9,536 69.5%
1810 12,156 27.5%
1820 12,444 2.4%
1830 15,614 25.5%
1840 13,001 −16.7%
1850 14,612 12.4%
1860 16,892 15.6%
1870 16,816 −0.4%
1880 25,203 49.9%
1890 29,020 15.1%
1900 28,995 −0.1%
1910 32,830 13.2%
1920 32,376 −1.4%
1930 33,850 4.6%
1940 38,197 12.8%
1950 37,536 −1.7%
1960 38,076 1.4%
1970 40,835 7.2%
1980 46,487 13.8%
1990 45,887 −1.3%
2000 51,103 11.4%
2010 54,876 7.4%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".


  • Douthat, James L. 1840 Mountain Empire of Virginia Census. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 2001. FHL Collection 975.5 X2d 1840. Free online surname index and purchase details at Mountain Press website. (Includes Washington County.)

Barbe and Edwards annotated the 1850 census using county records, tombstone inscriptions, family Bibles, Jessee H. Miller's diary, and other censuses:

  • Barbe, Waverly W. and Shelby Ireson Edwards. 1850 Census of Washington County, Virginia, Annotated. Bristol, Tenn.: Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 2000.

1890 Union Veterans

  • "Virginia's Union Veterans: Eleventh Census of the United States 1890." By Ronald Ray Turner. FHL Collection. Online at: Ancestry ($).

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Early Baptist churches (with years constituted):

  1. Mill Creek Valley (1799)[9]
  2. North Fork of Holston (1783)[9]
  3. Rich Valley (1802)[9]
  4. South Fork of Holston or St. Clair's Bottom (1791), Cilhowie, Va.[9] Membership lists (beginning in 1791) and a history were published in the Appalachian Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Dec. 2005). This area is now part of Smyth County, Virginia Genealogy.
  • 1776 Petition of Baptists (10,000 names!) and sympathizers from all over Virginia, dated 16 October 1776, asking for an end to persecution of Baptists by the established church. After locating your ancestor, view the digital copies.
    – Digital copies at Library of Congress; also at Library of Virginia using the code word "000606093"
    – Hall, Jean Pickett. "Legislative Petitions: the 10,000 name petition" transcription in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vols. 35-38, with annotations in Vol. 39, (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Genealogical Society, 1983-) online at Ancestry ($) and in book form at various libraries.
    In 1810 Washington County fell within the bounds of the Holston and Mountain Associations. It later belonged to the Washington District Association.
  • Sutherland, Elihu Jasper. Regular Primitive Baptist Washington District Association: Short History, Abstract of Principles, Preamble and Constitution, Rules of Decorum, Other Data. 1952. 1985 edition: FHL Book 975.5 K2se.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Online Court Indexes and Records

  • Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index can be used to search Washington County chancery records for the years 1849-1913. Records are available on microfilm and the Clerk's Office.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For databases and immigrant groups, see Virginia Emigration and Immigration

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding a total of 3 British aliens, some of whom had families, living in Abingdon and Washington County.[10] Early migration routes to and from Washington County for European settlers included:[11]

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

African American

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Compiled Genealogies by Surname


Compiled Genealogies for Multiple Families

  • An Index to Family Files at the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia Library in Abingdon is available online.
  • Allison, Elizabeth Kelly. Early Southwest Virginia Families: Families of Kelly, Smyth, Buchanan, Clark and Related Families of Edmonson, Keys, Beattie, Ryburn, McDonald. Auburn, Ala., 1960.
  • Gordon Aronhime (1911-1983) collected information on hundreds of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee pioneers. His note cards, which reference more than 4,000 early settlers of the Holston-Clinch River area and East Tennessee (1770s-1790s), are held at the Library of Virginia. The cards have been digitized and made available online.[12]
  • Holston Territory Genealogical Society. Families of Washington County and Bristol, Virginia, 1776-1996. Bristol, Va.: Holston Territory Genealogical Society and Don Mills, 1996. FHL Collection 975.572 D2f
  • Blankenship, Gayle King. Some Families of Bedford & Washington Counties, Virginia and Orange County, North Carolina Bright, Buford, Cash, Crawford, Crews, Davis, Downs, Early, Foster, Franklin, Gray, Huddleston, Lawhorn, McGeorge, McNew, Parker, Perrott, Pendergrass, Poindexter, Powell, Quarles, St. Clair, Scoggins, Shrewsbury, Smith, Tyler, Warren, Watts, Wiggenton. Poquoson, Va.: G.K. Blankenship, 2000. FHL Collection; digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

For land indexes, records, and databases, see Virginia Land and Property, including Colonial and State Land Grants.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Publications of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia [Nos. 1-18]. Abingdon, Virginia, 1964.
  • History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, Washington County, 1777-1870. 1903. By Lewis Preston Summers. J.L.Hill Print Co., 1903. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library, Ancestry ($). Index at EveryNameIndex.com.
  • Virginia Indexes at EveryNameIndex.com — Select the county.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

County and state maps, historical and more current, are valuable research tools. For map collections, online and in libraries, see Virginia Maps.

Bristol (Independent City)Grayson CountySmyth CountyRussell CountyScott CountySullivan CountyJohnson CountyAshe CountyVA WASHINGTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

French and Indian War

  • Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. FHL Collection. Online at: Ancestry ($). Identifies some Washington County veterans; see place name index.

Revolutionary War

  • Kegley, Mary B. Revolutionary War Pension Applications of Southwest Virginia Soldiers. n.p.: M.B. Kegley, 1997. FHL Collection. Includes Washington County pensioners.
  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshals of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. 1841. Digital versions at FamilySearch Digital Library, Internet Archive, Ancestry ($). 1967 reprint: FHL Book 973 X2pc 1840. See Virginia, Western District, Wythe County on page 136.
  • Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions. Washington, D.C., 1852. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1969, and 1991. Reprints include "an Added Index to States." FHL Book 973 M24ur; digital version at Ancestry ($). Includes veterans. Virginia section begins on page 238.

War of 1812

  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Book 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Internet Archive. See Vol. 5, Virginia, Washington County, p. 106-107. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.

Regiments. Washington County men served in the 70th and 105th Regiments.[13]

Civil War

Regiments. Civil War service men in Washington 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 here:

- 1st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate).
- 3rd Battalion, Kentucky Mounted Rifles (Confederate). Company F.
- 4th Regiment, Virginia State Line (Cavalry and Infantry) (Confederate). Company I (2nd).[14]
- 6th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company K.
- 9th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company K.
- 13th Battalion, Virginia Reserves (Confederate). Companies C, F, and I.[15]
- 21st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company C 2nd and Company F.[16]
- 22nd Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Bowen's Virginia Mounted Riflemen) (Confederate). Company A, Company C, and Company E.
- 30th Battalion, Virginia Sharpshooters (Clarke's) (Confederate). Company E.[17]
- 37th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company A (Goodson Rifle Guards), Company B (Virginia Mountain Boys), Company F (Glade Spring Rifles), Company H (King's Mountain Rifles), and Company K (Washington Dependents).[18]
- 48th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company E (Mountain Marksmen), Company F (Holston Foresters), and Company G (Campbell Greys).[19]
- 50th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company G (1st) (Floyd Blues).[20]
- 51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company I.[21]
- 63rd Regiment, Virginia Infantry (McMahon's) (Confederate). Companies A, B, E, F, and I.[22]

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For online newspaper resources, see the Virginia Newspapers page.

Indexed images of the Virginia Gazette (1736-1780) are available online through the Colonial Williamsburg website. In addition, Professor Tom Costa and The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia have created a database of all runaway advertisements for slaves, indentured servants, transported convicts, and ship deserters listed in this source and other Virginia newspapers (1736-1803), see: The Geography of Slavery in Virginia. These newspapers are valuable resources for all regions of Virginia.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Bulletin of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia
Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.

Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Washington County, Virginia records have been published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (39+ vols., 1972-present), the journal of the Watauga Association of Genealogists. The organization has posted tables of contents for most volumes on their website. Back issues are available for purchase. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Books 976.897 B2w, including Margaret W. Hougland and Betty Jane Hylton's Bulletin Subject Index: The First Thirty Years, 1972-2001 (Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Association of Genealogists, 2002) FHL US/CAN Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

For probate records, indexes, and databases, see Virginia Probate Records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

For additional online collections and the value and use of Virginia's tax lists in your research, see Virginia Taxation.

Online Tax Indexes and Records

Online Washington County, Virginia Tax Lists
Type Index Images
Free FHC Fee Free FHC Fee
Personal Property 1782, 1782 - - 1782 1782*
Personal Property 1783 - - 1783 A|B 1783 1783
Personal Property - - - 1784 1784 1784
Personal Property - - - 1785 1785 1785
Personal Property - - - 1786 1786 1786
Personal Property 1787 - - 1787 1787 1787
Personal Property - - - - 1788 1788
Personal Property - - - - 1789 1789
Personal Property - - - - 1790 1790
Personal Property - - - - 1791 1791
Personal Property - - - - 1792 1792
Personal Property - - - - 1793 1793
Personal Property - - - - 1794 1794
Personal Property - - - - 1795 1795
Personal Property - - - - 1796 1796
Personal Property 1797 - - 1797 1797 1797
Personal Property - - - - 1798 1798
Personal Property - - - - 1799 1799
Personal Property - - - - 1800 1800
Personal Property - - - - 1801 1801
Personal Property - - - - 1802 1802
Personal Property - - - - 1803 1803
Personal Property - - - 1804 1804 1804
Personal Property - - - 1805 1805 1805
Personal Property 1806 - - 1806 1806 -
Personal Property - - - - 1807-1850 -
  • This folder has been incorrectly labeled as being 1786. The names and entries here match those of 1782 and not 1786. It is listed first as it is easier to read and a cleaner copy.


Vital Records[edit | edit source]

For additional indexes, databases, and details, see Virginia Vital Records.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Beth Fridley has published abstracts of the following Washington County death records online at Ancestry:

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Washington County. For state-wide facilities, see Virginia 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 Washington County. For state-wide library facilities, see Virginia Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Washington County. For state-wide genealogical and historical societies, see Virginia Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • 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]

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Washington County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1980):58-60. Digital version at American Ancestors by NEHGS ($).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Newberry
  2. https://www.washcova.com/visitors/history/
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records, 6, in Library of Virginia (accessed 4 April 2014).
  6. Newberry
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Washington County,_Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_County,_Virginia#Communities accessed 4 March 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Robert Baylor Semple and George William Beale, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia (Pitt and Dickinson, 1894), 358-359. Digital version at Google Books.
  10. Kenneth Scott, British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812 (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979), 320-333. FHL Book 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  11. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  12. "Original Virginia Records Imaged and Indexed Online," *Arlene Eakle's Virginia Genealogy Blog, 12 October 2008.
  13. Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Pub. Co., 1988), 209. FHL Book 975.5 M2bs.
  14. The Virginia State Line: Organizational Structure of the Virginia State Line, Ranger95.com, accessed 11 June 2012.
  15. William C. Pendleton, History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748-1920 (Richmond, Va.: W.C. Hill Printing Company, 1920), 629-630. Digital version at Google Books.
  16. John E. Olson, 21st Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, c1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 57.
  17. Michael West, 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1995). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 108.
  18. Thomas M. Rankin, 37th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1987). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 37.
  19. John D. Chapla, 48th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 54.
  20. John C. Chapla, 50th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1997). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 129.
  21. James A. Davis, 51st Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1984). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 9.
  22. Jeffrey C. Weaver, 63rd Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1991). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 76.