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Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy

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


Surry County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Surry County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
Location of North Carolina in the U.S.
Founded 1771
County Seat Dobson
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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[1].

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
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.

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

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

Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 303
Dobson, NC 27017
Phone: 336-401-8150
Fax: 336-401-8149

Clerk Superior Court
P.O. Box 345
Dobson, NC 27017
Phone: (336) 386-3700

Surry County, North Carolina History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1771--Surry County was created from Rowan County.
County seat: Dobson [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Brief History[edit | edit source]

Surry County, North Carolina is said to have been named after Surrey County, England. The county's northern boundary is the Virginia state line.

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 Albermarle 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 familes 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 families 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.

Surry County, North Carolina Places / Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

  • Dobson (county seat)
  • Elkin
  • Mount Airy
  • Pilot Mountain

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Townships[edit | edit source]

  • Bryan
  • Dobson
  • Eldora
  • Elkin
  • Franklin
  • Long Hill
  • Marsh
  • Mount Airy
  • Pilot Mountain
  • Rockford
  • Shoals
  • Sloam
  • South Westfield
  • Stewarts Creek
  • Westfield

Major Rivers[edit | edit source]

  • Ararat River
  • Fisher River
  • Mitchell River
  • Yadkin River

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
NCGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
NCGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
North Carolina Cemeteries
Billion Graves
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information.

Censuses[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist[edit | edit source]
  • Deep Creek. Constituted 1781.[5]
  • Hunting Creek. Constituted 1781.[5]
  • Little Yadkin River. Constituted 1785.[5]
  • Shallow Fords. Founded before 1773.[5]
Dunker[edit | edit source]
  • Fraternity Church of the Brethren, near Clemmons, N.C. Established about 1775.[6] Later located in Stokes and Forsyth counties.
Lutheran[edit | edit source]
  • Nazareth Church aka Old Dutch Meeting House. Organized about 1778 by German settlers.[7] Later located in Stokes County and presently situated in Forsyth County.
Moravian[edit | edit source]

County Records[edit | edit source]

Court[edit | edit source]

Family Histories[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. 
  • Coats, Charlotte, Joshua Richardson, Lazarus Tilley, William Mason: The American Revolution and Before, 2006.
  • Combs &c Families of Surry County, North Carolina (website)
  • Dunagin, Percy E., The Early Dunagins of Surry County, North Carolina, Family Heritage Publishers, 2007.
  • Heinegg, Paul, Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005.
  • Whitaker - Whitaker-Buck, Ruby M. Mark Whitaker, Baltimore County, Maryland (c1670-1729) and Allied Families. Sacramento, Calif.: privately published, 1992. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online - free.

Land[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.
  • Heinegg, Paul, Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 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 link, 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)
  • Thompson, Evelyn Scales, Around Surry County (Black America Series), Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2005. (Google Books link with preview)

Maps[edit | edit source]


Map created by William Dollarhide that shows the counties in North Carolina. It was published by The Red Book.

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Service men in Surry County, North Carolina 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 Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy:

- 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.[9]
- 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[edit | edit source]
World War II[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

Online Probate 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.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Tax lists, 1784-1789, are extant.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth Records[edit | edit source]
Death Records[edit | edit source]
Divorce Records[edit | edit source]
Marriage Records[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.

Yearbooks[edit | edit source]

  • Surry Community College - various issues between 1969-1995

Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Surry County Genealogical Association
PO Box 997
Dobson 2701

Surry County Historical Society
832 East Country Club Road
Mount Airy, NC 27030

  • Bassett Historical Center, Bassett, Virginia. Website includes descriptions of collections. Excellent 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.[12]
  • Elkin Public Library, member of Northwestern Regional Library system, 111 North Front St., Elkin, North Carolina
  • Northwestern Regional Library: Genealogy (links; information regarding the area genealogy holdings at the Charles H. Stone Memorial Library, Danbury Public Library, and Yadkin County Public Library.

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

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.

Surry County, North Carolina Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  2. 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.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Surry County, North Carolina. Page 513 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 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.
  6. "Fraternity Church of the Brethren," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  7. "Nazareth Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  8. "Friedberg Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  9. J.L. Scott, 36th and 37th Battalions Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1986). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 24.
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  12. Sweeney, Alice J. "Bassett Historical Center," The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Aug. 2002):1-3, available online at: