Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy

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

Roanoke County, Virginia
Boundary map of Roanoke County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Roanoke County
Location in the state of Virginia, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1838
County Seat Salem

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Roanoke County is located in the Western portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia and its name comes from the Indian word "Rawrenock," which means wampum. These were white shell beads worn by native Americans[1].

Roanoke County, Virginia Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Roanoke County Courthouse
P.O. Box 1126
Second Floor, Room 200
305 East Main Street
Salem, VA 24153
Phone: 540-387-6205

Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce,
probate, court and land records from 1838[2]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Marriage Court Land Probate Census
1853 1838 1853 1838 1838 1838 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1912.
General compliance year is unknown.

Roanoke County, Virginia History[edit | edit source]

Roanoke River.png

The county is named after the Roanoke River.[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1838--Roanoke County was created 30 March 1838 from Botetourt and Montgomery Counties.
County seat: Salem [5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

  • Lost census: 1890

Roanoke County, Virginia Places/Localities[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:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

  • Search the Library of Virginia's Virginia Untold collection for digitized records related to African Americans of Roanoke County.

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 5,499
1850 8,477 54.2%
1860 8,048 −5.1%
1870 9,350 16.2%
1880 13,105 40.2%
1890 30,101 129.7%
1900 15,837 −47.4%
1910 19,623 23.9%
1920 22,395 14.1%
1930 35,289 57.6%
1940 42,897 21.6%
1950 41,486 −3.3%
1960 61,693 48.7%
1970 67,339 9.2%
1980 72,945 8.3%
1990 79,332 8.8%
2000 85,778 8.1%
2010 92,376 7.7%
Source: "".


  • Burton, Charles T. Botetourt County, Va., 1785 Enumeration. Troutville, Va.: Burton?, 1972. FHL Collection; digital version at Ancestry ($). [All of part of present-day county of Roanoke is included.]


  • 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 Roanoke County.]

1890 Union Veterans

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Early Baptist churches (with years constituted):

  1. Catawba (1780)[7]
  2. Salem (1784)[7]

Roanoke County fell within the bounds of the New River Association.

Court[edit | edit source]

Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index can be used to search Roanoke County chancery records for the years 1839-1942. Digital images are available and some post-1912 originals are located at the Library of Virginia. The majority of unindexed post-1913 records are available at the Circuit Court Clerk's Office.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Compiled Genealogies by Surname

Compiled Genealogies for Multiple Families

  • A list of surname files at the Virginia Room, Roanoke Pubis Library: website.
  • Prillaman, Helen R. A Place Apart: A Brief History of the Early Williamson Road and North Roanoke Valley Residents and Places. Baltimore, Md.: Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Pub. Co., 2007. Available at Virginia Historical Society. Watts, Garst, Harshbarger, Betts, Oliver, Read, Williamson, Nelms, Moomaw, Bushong, Nininger, Petty, Fellers, Andrews, Bowman, Coulter, Epperley, Prillaman, Hansbrough, Hunt, Riley, and Woodson families.[8]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Early settlers maps are available for Roanoke County. Hildebrand plots the locations of pioneers from original land grants, farm owners (1825-1875), etc. The Family History Library has copies: FHL Map 975.5792 E7hi, FHL Map 975.5792 E7hj, and FHL Map 975.5792 E7h.

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.*Hudgins. 231 patents dated 1742-1855 in what is now Roanoke County, Virginia placed on a map. DeedMapper. 2005. [Names of those who received land patents, dates, land descriptions, and references may be viewed free of charge (click "Index" next to the county listing); however, in order to view the maps, it is necessary to purchase Direct Line Software's DeedMapper product.]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Jack, George S. History of Roanoke County. Roanoke, Va.: Stone, c1912. FHL; digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books.
  • McCauley, William. History of Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke City, Virginia, and Representative Citizens, 1734-1900. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1902. FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Prillaman, Helen R. Places Near the Mountains: From the Community of Amsterdam, Virginia Up the Road to Catawba, on the Waters of the Catawba and Tinker Creeks, along the Carolina Road as it Aproached Big Lick and Other Areas, Primarily North Roanoke [Botetourt and Roanoke Counties, Virginia]. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002. FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Roanoke, Story of County and City. unknown: unknown, 1942. FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Salem and the Roanoke Valley: A Circular of Information, Location, Railroad Facilities, Business Interests, Manufacturing Prospects, Water Power, Mineral wealth, Fertile Lands, Healthful Climate, Social, Moral, Religious and Educational Advantages. Salem, Va.: Times-Register Power Press Print, 1884. FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).

Maps[edit | edit source]

Salem (Independent City)Roanoke (Independent City)Bedford (Independent City)Bedford CountyFranklin CountyFloyd CountyMontgomery CountyBotetourt CountyCraig CountyVA ROANOKE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
  • 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 version at Google Books. 1967 reprint: FHL Book 973 X2pc 1840. [See Virginia, Western District, Roanoke County on page 136.]
War of 1812[edit | edit source]
  • 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, Roanoke County, pp. 100-101. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

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

- 14th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company F (2nd) and Company G (Border Rangers).[9]
- 25th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company F.[10]
- 28th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company F (Botetourt Springs Rifles) and Company K (Roanoke Grays).[11]
- 42nd Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company E (Dixie Grays).[12]
- 54th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company K (The Roanoke Guards).[13]
World War II[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous Records[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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

Occupations[edit | edit source]

  • 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 Salem silversmiths.]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

"Online Probate Records

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Roanoke County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1977):285-286. Available at FHL; digital version at American Ancestors ($).

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Online Roanoke County, Virginia Tax Lists
Type Index Images
Free FHC Fee Free FHC Fee
Personal Property - - - - 1838-1850 -
Land - - - 1845-1863, 1885, 1889 (gaps) - -
Personal Property 1882 - - - - -
  • [1882] Big Lick District Personal Property Tax List, 1882, Virginia Appalachian Notes. Roanoke VA: Nov 1982. Vol. 6 Iss. 4; online at Roanoke Public Library - free.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Indexes to Roanoke 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

Birth[edit | edit source]
  • 1853-1885 - Roanoke County Birth Index 1853-1885. Batch C868665 at FamilySearch - free.[14]
  • 1853-1914 - Roanoke County Birth Index 1853-1914. Batch C868657 at FamilySearch - free.
Marriage[edit | edit source]
  • 1853-1906 - Roanoke County Marriage Index 1853-1906. Batch M868657 at FamilySearch - free.
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]
  • 1853-1881 - Roanoke County Death Index 1853-1881. Batch B868665 at FamilySearch - free.
  • 1853-1917 - Roanoke County Death Index 1853-1917. Batch B868658 at FamilySearch - free.
Vital Record Substitutes[edit | edit source]

Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

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

Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Richmond County, Virginia. Page 720 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Roanoke County, Virginia . Page 710-723 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), 715-720.
  4. Wikipedia Contributors, "Roanoke County, Virginia," in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia,,_Virginia, accessed 13 January 2012.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Roanoke County,_Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Virginia#Communities accessed 25 February 2020.
  7. 7.07.1 Robert Baylor Semple and George William Beale, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia (Pitt and Dickinson, 1894), 349. Digital version at Google Books.
  8. Online Catalog, Virginia Historical Society, accessed 15 November 2011,
  9. Robert J. Driver, 14th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, c1988). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 47.
  10. Dobbie E. Lambert, 25th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1994). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 106.
  11. Frank E. Fields, 28th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1985). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 15.
  12. John Chapla, 42nd Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1983). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 5.
  13. George L. Sherwood and Jeffrey C. Weaver, 54th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1993). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 91.
  14. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at