Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Virginia  Gotoarrow.png  Roanoke County

Southwest Virginia county in the Shenandoah Valley region.

Location of Roanoke County, Virginia
Roanoke County Boundary Map

County Courthouse


Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness courthouse lookup volunteer is listed under Bedford County, Virginia.


The county takes its name from the Roanoke River.

The county is named after the Roanoke River.[1]

Parent County

1838--Roanoke County was created 30 March 1838 from Botetourt and Montgomery Counties.
County seat: Salem [2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

  • Lost census: 1890


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties




Historical populations
Census Pop.


  • 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




It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]

As of November 2010, a query for individuals born in Roanoke, Virginia at World Connect, results in more than 30,000 entries.

The Virginia Room at the Roanoke Public Library includes Surname Files. A list of families in this collection is available at the library's website.

  • [Brown] Martin, John Robert. Berryman Brown of Roanoke County, Virginia and Clinton, Dade and Ozark Counties in Missouri. St. Joseph, Mo.: J.R. Martin, 1957. FHL Collection 929.273 B812mjr 
  • [Peyton] Peyton, John Lewis. Memoir of William Madison Peyton, of Roanoke: Together with Some of His Speeches in the House of Delegates of Virginia, and His Letters in Reference to Secession and the Threatened Civil War in the United States, etc., etc.. London: J. Wilson, 1873. FHL Collection; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • [Reynolds] Adair, Ethel Marr. Family Group Records Collection; Patrons Section; Reynolds and Related Families of Roanoke Co., Virginia Miscellaneous Family Group Records. Microfilmed 1956. FHL Collection 284730


Grants and Patents

Local Histories

  • Jack, George S. History of Roanoke County. Roanoke, Va.: Stone, c1912. Available at FHL; digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books.
  • McCauley, William. History of Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke City, Virginia, and Representative Citizens, 1734-1900. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1902. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 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. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Roanoke, Story of County and City. unknown: unknown, 1942. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 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. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).



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, Western District, Roanoke County on page 136.]
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, Roanoke County, pp. 100-101. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]



Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness lookup volunteer is listed under Bedford County, Virginia.


  • 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.]


Research Guides

  • "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 New England Ancestors ($).


  • [1882] Big Lick District Personal Property Tax List, 1882, Virginia Appalachian Notes. Roanoke VA: Nov 1982. Vol. 6 Iss. 4.

Vital Records

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Family History Library Catalog


  1. "Roanoke County, Virginia," Wikipedia,,_Virginia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).