Wise County, Virginia Genealogy

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Wise County

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


Wise County, Virginia
Boundary map of Wise County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Wise County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1856
County Seat Wise

County Information


Wise County is located in the Southwest Appalachian area of the Commonwealth of Virginia was named after Henry A. Wise, Virginia Governor at the time[1].

Wise County, Virginia Courthouse

Wise County Courthouse
206 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1248
Room 245
Wise, VA 24293
Phone: 276-328-6111

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

Beginning Dates for Wise County, Virginia Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1857 1856 1857 1860 1856 1856

Wise County, Virginia History

Gov. Henry A. Wise (1806-1876)

The county is named after Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise (1806-1876), who was in office at the time of Wise County's organization. He later served as a Confederate States Army General during the Civil War.[3]

Parent County

1856--Wise County was created 16 February 1856 from Lee, Russell, and Scott Counties.
County seat: Wise [2]

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 MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

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

  • Lost census: 1890

Wise County, Virginia Places/Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties


Bible Records

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

Additional Bible records include:


  • Sutherland, Elihu Jasper. Some Sandy Basin Characters. Clintwood, Va.: Hettie Sutherland, 1962. 1985 reprint available at FHL.


Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
VAGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
VAGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Virginia Cemeteries for more information.
  • 1800-1986 - Virginia, Jewish Cemetery Records Index, ca. 1800-1986 at FamilySearch — index
  • Adams, James Taylor (1892-1954). Wise County Historical Inventory: Family Burying Grounds. St. Louis, Mo.: R.R. Seibel and D.A. Griffith, 1971. Available at FHL.
  • Ben Bolling Cemetery, Flat Gap, Wise Co., VA
  • Kilgore, Paul. Butcher's Fork, American Legion, Skeen's Ridge and Back Valley Cemeteries of Wise County, Virginia. [West Virginia]: Wise County Historical Society (Va.), [1997?]. Available at FHL
  • Kilgore, Paul. Powell Valley Memorial Gardens: Located in Beautiful Powell Valley, Wise County, VA. Wise, Va.: Wise County Historical Society (Va.), 2003. Available at FHL.


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

Historical populations
Census Pop.

1860 Agriculture Census

  • Weaver, Jeffrey C. The 1860 Agriculture Census of Wise County, Virginia. Clintwood, Va.: Mullins Printing, 1992. Available at FHL.

1890 Union Veterans

Church Records

  • Little Primitive Baptist Church, Wise, Va. (by 1856).[4]

Court Records

Chancery Court

  • Indexes (1855-1925) and images (1855-1912) to Wise County, Virginia Chancery Records are available online through Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index. These records, often concerned with inheritance disputes, contain a wealth of genealogical information.


More than 25 genealogies have been published about Wise County families. To view a list, visit Wise County, Virginia Compiled Genealogies.

Land and Property

Local Histories

  • Johnson, Charles A. A Narrative History of Wise County, Virginia. Norton, Va.: Norton Press, 1938. Reprint edition, The Overmountain Press, 1988. FHL Collection; digital version at Ancestry ($); and World Vital Records ($). Google Books page.
  • Wise County: Her Industries, Resources and Prominent Men. Norton, Va.: n.p., 1920. FHL Collection; digital version at Ancestry ($).


Norton (Independent City)Lee CountyScott CountyRussell CountyDickenson CountyPike CountyLetcher CountyHarlan CountyVA WISE.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


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 Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, Virginia, Wise County, p. 107. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War

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

- 4th Regiment, Virginia State Line (Cavalry and Infantry) (Confederate). Company C.[5]
- 29th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company F.[6]
- 50th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company H (Wise Yankee Catchers).[7]

Records and histories are available, including:

Miscellaneous Records


Virginia Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1929


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

Private Papers

Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007

Probate Records

Research Guides

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Wise County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1980):204-206. Available at American Ancestors ($).


How can Virginia tax lists help me?

Vital Records

Indexes to Wise 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 - free. See also How to order Virginia Vital Records


Wise County, Virginia Genealogy deaths are included in the Library of Virginia's Death Index of Virginia, 1853-1896, sponsored by The Virginia Genealogical Society, available online - free.

Vital Record Substitutes

Wise 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.

Wise County, Virginia Genealogy Websites


  1. http://www.wisecounty.org/wise_history.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wise County, Virginia. Page 723 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. "Henry A. Wise," in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wise, accessed 13 January 2012.
  4. Charles A. Johnson, A narrative history of Wise County, Virginia (Norton, Va.: Norton Press, 1938), 8. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  5. The Virginia State Line: Organizational Structure of the Virginia State Line, Ranger95.com, accessed 11 June 2012.
  6. John Perry Alderman, 29th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 53.
  7. John C. Chapla, 50th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1997). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 129.
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/3/37/Igivirginia.pdf.

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