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Wilkes County, North Carolina Genealogy

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

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County Facts
County seat: Wilkesboro
Organized: 1777
Parent County(s): Surry[1]
Neighboring Counties
Alexander  • Alleghany  • Ashe  • Caldwell  • Iredell  • Surry  • Watauga  • Yadkin
See County Maps
Courthouse
NorthCarolinaWilkesCourthouse.jpg
Location Map
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Yadkin River Greenway, Wilkes County

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Wilkes County was named for the English political radical John Wilkes, who lost his position as Lord Mayor of the City of London due to his support for the colonists during the American Revolution. It is located in the northwestern area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Wilkes County Courthouse
500 Courthouse Drive
Wilkesboro, NC 28697-2497
Phone: 336-651-7351
Wilkes County Website

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1913, military and land records from 1778.[3]

Wilkes County, North Carolina 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
1913 1778 1913 1761 1778 1777 1784
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

A few of the early records are missing. The reason is unknown.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1777 Wilkes County was created from Surry County and the District of Washington.
  • County seat: Wilkesboro[5]

Ashe was created from Wilkes County in 1799. Caldwell County was created from parts of Wilkes and Burke Counties in 1841. Part of Wilkes County, along with parts of Caldwell and Iredell Counties, became Alexander County in 1847. Watauga County was created in 1849 from parts of Wilkes, Caldwell, Ashe, and Yancey Counties.

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 MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Wilkes County, North Carolina:

Cities and towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Wilkes County is located in northwestern North Carolina. The county was formed from Surry and the District of Washington (or Washington District) by a 1777 legislative act. That act took effect 15 February 1778.

The county derives its name from John Wilkes, who was an opponent of Britain's Tory party and, at one time, Lord Mayor of London. Because Wilkes had been barred from serving in Parliament because of his political stance, in spite of his having been elected to office, he was viewed as having been persecuted for the sake of freedom.

The first settler of Wilkes County is said to have been Christopher Gist, who moved into the area in 1750. Other famous residents include Daniel Boone and Revolutionary War hero Col. Benjamin Cleveland.

The first court was held at the home of John Brown. The second court was held at the "bent of the Yadkin" on 1 Jun 1778 and was moved the following day, June 2, to the Mulberry Field Meeting House. That location was chosen as the county seat on June 3.

The 2010 population of Wilkes County was 69,340. Wilkes County comprises 757.19 square miles.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

  • Wilkes County Bibles (USGenWeb Archives)

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Wilkes County, North Carolina online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information

 

General

Specific

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist

Court Records[edit | edit source]

  • Wilkes County Court (USGenWeb Archives)
  • Court records from 1781 that have not been transferred to the North Carolina State Archives are at the office of the Wilkes County Clerk of the Superior Court at the Courthouse, 500 Courthouse Dr., Wilkesboro, NC 28697, (336) 667-1201. Some records, however, have been transferred to the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, ND.
  • The North Carolina State Archives has the original copies of the following: Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1778-1916; Bastardy Bonds and Records, 1773-1911; Officials' Bonds and Records, 1777-1914.
  • The North Carolina State Archives has various records of the Wilkes County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions: Minutes, 1778-1868; Appearance Docket, 1840-1853; Execution Dockets, 1837-1868; State Docket, 1778-1792; Trial and Appearance Docket, 1824-1827; Trial Docket, 1837-1859; Witness Dockets, 1807-1837; and Misc. Dockets, 1778-1858.
  • The North Carolina State Archives has various records of the Wilkes County Superior Court: Minutes, 1807-1931; Equity Minutes, 1819-1860; Equity Enrolling Dockets, 1813-1857; Equity Execution Docket, 1814-1861, and Appearance Docket, 1815-1830; Appearance Docket, 1823-1846; Execution Dockets, 1807-1860; Judgment Dockets, 1868-1877; Recognizance Docket, 1812-1832; State Dockets, 1807-1822 and 1837-1866; Criminal Issues Dockets, 1873 and 1879-1884; Trial and Appearance Docket, 1807-1822; Trial Docket, 1822-1844; Witness Docket, 1824-1833; Misc. Dockets, 1807-1855; Civil Action Papers, 1771-1936 and those concerning land, 1778-1928; Criminal Action Papers, 1761 and 1778-1945.
  • Other records at the State Archives: Alien Registration records, 1940; County Accounts, 1773-1903; Insolvents' Records, 1780-1896; Record of Jurors, 1893-1906; Record of Justices of the Peace, 1877-1898; Physicians' Certificates of Registration, 1889-1988; Record of Lunacy, 1899-1937; Orders and Decrees, 1869-1935, 1938; Special Proceedings Dockets, 1880-1941; Clerk's Minute Dockets (Special Proceedings), 1884-1941; Misc. Records, 1775-1946; Record of Strays, 1822-1839.

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]

  • Dick History of Peter and Christina Shutt Dick Family: Frederick County, Maryland, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, Simpson County, Kentucky, Sangamon County, Illinois, Cass, County, Illinois
  • Dick Hoffman, Muriel M. History of Peter and Christina Shutt Dick Family: Frederick County, Maryland, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, Simpson County, Kentucky, Sangamon County, Illinois, Cass, County, Illinois. Anchor, Ill.: Hoffman, 1970. FHL Book 929.273 D55h
  • Owen Owens, Charles Sterling. David Owen, Revolutionary War Soldier, and His Descendants Wilkes County, North Carolina to Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Knoxville, Tenn.: C.S. Owens, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 Ow2owc
  • Andrew Vannoy 1742-1809: Husband of Susannah Shepherd
  • Johnson Captain Samuel Johnson of Wilkes County, North Carolina: Ancestry and Descendants Weight, V.F., 1988. Google Books

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

  • Wilkes County has land records starting from 1777 which can be obtained from the Wilkes County Register of Deeds, 500 Courthouse Drive, Suite 1000, Wilkesboro, NC 28697, (336) 651-7351
  • The North Carolina State Archives has various land-related records pertaining to Wilkes County: Record of Deeds and Grants, 1779-1796; Record of Deeds, 1789-1851; Deeds, 1741-1944; Ejectments, 1799-1907; Land Entries, 1783-1851; List of Land Entries, 1808-1828; Record of Sale of Land for Taxes, 1870-1887; Petitions for Partition and Sale of Land, 1892-1912, 1932; Processioners' Record, 1883-1884; Misc. Land Records, 1778-1925.
  • NC Land Grants. This site sponsored by the North Carolina State Archives has thousands of high quality images of records generated during the land grant process in Wilkes County. These images include original warrant papers, orders to survey, and grant documents. There is also a resource page that explains the land grant process for North Carolina.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • The Heritage of Wilkes County - Absher, Mrs. W. O., editor, The Heritage of Wilkes County, Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc., 1982. Google Books
  • Wilkes County (Images of America series) - Bass, Misty, Christy Earp, and Jennifer L. Pena, Wilkes County (Images of America series), Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. Google Books
  • Wilkes County Bits and Pieces Byrd, Fay, Wilkes County Bits and Pieces, 2010. Google Books
  • Historical Sketches of Wilkes County. Wilkesboro, NC: Chronicle Job Office, 1902 - Crouch, John. Historical Sketches of Wilkes County. Wilkesboro, NC: Chronicle Job Office, 1902 - typescript edition: text in Internet Archive |text in New River Notes - later edition: text in Internet Archive
  • Early Settlers of Reddies River Gregory, Paul W., Early Settlers of Reddies River, Reddies River Valley (N.C.): Wilkes Genealogical Society, 1976. Google Books
  • The Land of Wilkes Hayes, Johnson J., The Land of Wilkes, Wilkesboro, NC: Wilkes County Historical Society, 1962. Google Books
  • Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina, 1778-1868 Holcomb, Brent, Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina, 1778-1868, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983. Google Books
  • Sketches of Western North Carolina: Historical and Biographical Hunter, C.L., Sketches of Western North Carolina: Historical and Biographical, Raleigh, North Carolina: The Raleigh News Steam Job Print, 1877; see ch. 9: "Wilkes County:" Google Books
  • Poet's Progress Pearson, James Larkin, Poet's Progress, 1965. Reprint, Wilkesboro, NC: Wilkes Community College, 2005.Google Books
  • The Heritage of Wilkes County, North Carolina (Volume II) Simpson, Mrs. Nancy W., editor. The Heritage of Wilkes County, North Carolina (Volume II), Charlotte, North Carolina: Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc., 1990. Google Books

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

NC Wilkes

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Wilkes County for European settlers included:[7]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Wilkes 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 in Wilkes County:

- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company B
- 1st Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company D
- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company B
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company H
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company A
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company F
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company K

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1778-1850 (gaps) Tax lists, no date, 1778-1779, 1784-1785, 1795, 1797, 1800, 1805, 1809, 1814, 1823, 1829, 1831, 1834, 1837-1838, 1841-1848, 1850 (images) online at FamilySearch
  • 1781-1850 (gaps) Tax records, no dates, 1781, 1784-1790, 1792, 1801, 1811, 1820, 1826, 1834-1835, 1837, 1839, 1847, 1850 (images) online at FamilySearch
  • 1782 Tax Lists, Wilkes County, 1782 (index) in NC Taxpayers vol. 2, online at Ancestry $
  • 1782 Tax Lists, Wilkes County, 1782 (images) online at North Carolina Digital Collections
  • 1782 1782 Wilkes County Tax List (transcript) online at FamilySearch
  • 1784 Tax Lists, Wilkes County, 1782 (index) in NC Taxpayers vol. 2, online at Ancestry $
  • 1784 Tax Lists, Wilkes County, 1784 (images) online at North Carolina Digital Collections
  • 1787 1787 Tax List (transcript) online at New River Notes
  • 1787-1790 Absher, Mrs. W.O., Ruth P. Gregory, and Paul W. Gregory, Wilkes County, North Carolina Taxables (1787, 1788, 1789, 1790) Vol. 3. North Wilkesboro, NC: The Wilkes Genealogical Society, 1975: (transcript) online at Internet Archive
  • 1797 1797 Tax List (transcript) online at New River Notes

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Wilkes County Public Libraries
    Website

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Wilkes County Genealogical Society
    PO Box 1629
    North Wilkesboro, NC 28659-1629

Websites[edit | edit source]

(Note: The following are in alphabetical order.)

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilkes_County,_North_Carolina on 3/27/2019
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wilkes 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.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 2:569-570. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.