Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy

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United States
Nelson County

Guide to Nelson County Virginia ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, immigration records, and military records.


Nelson County, Virginia
Boundary map of Nelson County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Nelson County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1807
County Seat Lovingston

County Information


Nelson County is located in the West-Central portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was named for the third Governor of Virginia, Thomas Nelson, Jr[1].

Nelson County, Virginia Courthouse =

Nelson County Courthouse
P.O. Box 10
84 Courthouse Square, 1st Floor
Lovingston, VA 22949-0010
Phone: 804-263-4069

Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce, probate,
court and land records from 1808[2]

Beginning Dates for Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1853 1808 1853 1810 1808 1808

Nelson County, Virginia History

Governor Thomas Nelson (1738-1789)

The county is named after Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson (1738-1789), a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Parent County

1807--Nelson County was created 25 December 1807 from Amherst County.
County seat: Lovingston [3]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Virginia county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Virginia County Boundary Maps" (1617-1995) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

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

  • Lost census: 1890

Nelson County, Virginia Places/Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Albemarle | Amherst | Appomattox | Augusta | Buckingham | Rockbridge


African Americans

Freedmen's Bureau Letters or Correspondence, 1865-1872

Bible Records

Images of the Virginia Historical Society's family Bible collection have been digitized:


Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
VAInterment WorldCat Billion Graves
VAGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Virginia Gravestones
Billion Graves
See Virginia Cemeteries for more information.

Individual Cemeteries:


For tips on accessing Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy census records online, see: Virginia Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.

1890 Union Veterans

Church Records

Church of England

Gotoarrow.png See also Amherst Parish

Meade's 1861 history of parishes in Nelson County is available online.[4]



More than 50 genealogies have been published about Nelson County families. To view a list, visit Nelson County, Virginia Compiled Genealogies.

Land and Property

Grants and Patents

Land patents (pre-1779), land grants (after 1779) and surveys are available online at the Library of Virginia website. For step-by-step instructions on retrieving these records, read the Virginia Land and Property article.

Local Histories

  • Coincon, J.B. Colonial History of Nelson County, 1734-1807. Amherst, Va.: Amherst Publishing Co., Inc. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online .


Augusta CountyAlbemarle CountyBuckingham CountyAppomattox CountyAmherst CountyRockbridge CountyVA NELSON.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Revolutionary War
  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census]. 1841. Digital versions at U.S. Census Bureau and Google Books et. al. 1967 reprint: FHL Collection 973 X2pc 1840. [See Virginia, Eastern District, Nelson County on page 132.]
  • 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 Collection 973 M24ur; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Includes veterans from this county; Virginia section begins on page 238.]
War of 1812

Nelson County men served in the 28th Regiment.[5]

  • Douthat, James L. Roster of War of 1812, Southside, Virginia. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 2007. Free online surname index and purchase details at Mountain Press website. FHL Collection 975.5 M2djL. [Includes Nelson County.]
  • 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 Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, Virginia, Nelson County, pp. 91-92. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy 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 Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy:


- 5th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate).
- 8th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company B (Nelson Rangers).[6]
- 19th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company D (The Howardsville Grays), Company G (The Nelson Grays), and Company I (The Amherst Rifles).[7]
- 49th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company C (New Market Volunteers), Company F (Ewell Guards), Company H (Fauquier Guards), and Company K (Crowder's Company).[8]
- 51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Companies B (Nelson Rifles) and E (Wythe Rifles).[9]
- 56th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Companies D (Buckingham Yancey Guards) and F (Louisa Nelson Grays).[10]
- Nelson Light Artillery, (Confederate)


- 2nd Regiment, Maryland Infantry, Potomac Home , Company D 

Records and histories are available, including:

Miscellaneous Records


Virginia Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1929


The Virginia Newspapers Project identifies local Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy newspapers.


  • Cutten, George Barton. The Silversmiths of Virginia (together with Watchmakers and Jewelers) from 1694 to 1850. Richmond, Va.: The Dietz Press, Incorporated, 1952. Available at FHL. [Includes a section on Lovington silversmiths.]

Private Papers

Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007

Probate Records


Online Nelson County, Virginia Tax Lists
Type Index Images
Free FHC Fee Free FHC Fee
Personal Property - - - - 1809-1850 -

How can Virginia tax lists help me?

  • [1815] Ward, Roger D. 1815 Directory of Virginia Landowners (and Gazetteer). 6 vols. Athens, Georgia: Iberian Pub. Co., 1997-2000. Available at FHL. [The source for this publication is the 1815 land tax. Nelson County is included in Vol. 1.]

Vital Records

Indexes to Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy births, marriages, and deaths are available online. These collections are incomplete, but are easy to search. Most records can also be ordered electronically online as well. Courtesy: FamilySearch. See also How to order Virginia Vital Records

  • 1808-1926 - Nelson County Marriage Index 1808-1926. Batch M868790 at FamilySearch - free.
Vital Record Substitutes

The Virginia Historical Society's Marriage and Obituary Index, 1736-1820 (newspaper abstracts) is available at FamilySearch. Images of the original index cards are browseable, arranged alphabetically by surname.

Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Nelson County, Virginia Genealogy Websites


  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Nelson County, Virginia. Page 718 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1861). Digital versions at Internet Archive: Vol. I and Vol. II.
  5. Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Pub. Co., 1988), 149. FHL Book 975.5 M2bs.
  6. Jack L. Dickinson, 8th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1986). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 25.
  7. Ervin L. Jordan and Herbert A. Thomas, 19th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1987). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 33.
  8. Richard B. Kleese, 49th Virginia Infantry (Appomattox, Va.: H.E. Howard, 2002). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 138.
  9. James A. Davis, 51st Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1984). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 9.
  10. William A. Young Jr. and Patricia C. Young, 56th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1990). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 63.
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at