Russell County, Virginia Genealogy

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Russell County, Virginia
Boundary map of Russell County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Russell County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1785
County Seat Lebanon
United States  Gotoarrow.png  Virginia  Gotoarrow.png  Russell County 

Southwest Virginia county.

County Courthouse

Russell County, Virginia
P O Box 435
Lebanon, Virginia 24266

  • Circuit Court Clerk has marriage records from 1853, divorce and court Records from 1786, probate records from 1803, and land records from 1787[1]


Parent County

1785--A petition to form Russell County was submitted by citizens of Washington County in Dec 1785. Russell County was formed on 2 Jan 1786. The county's first court met on 9 May 1786 at Castle's Woods, later known as Castlewood.
County seat: Lebanon [1]

Boundary Changes

Lee, Scott, Wise, and Buchanan Counties were formed either in whole or in part from Russell County.

Record Loss

  • Censuses lost: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1890
  • Courthouse fire 1872: Loss of a deed book and a marriage book attributed to this event


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties


African American

Freedmen's Bureau Letters or Correspondence, 1865-1872

Kegley, Mary B. Free People of Colour: Free Negroes, Indians, Portuguese and Freed Slaves. Wytheville, Virginia: Kegley Books, 2003. Available at FHL; digital version at Family History Archives. [Includes information from Russell County.]



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

Historical populations
Census Pop.

1790 - Lost, but a subsitute is available, see Taxation.

1800 - Lost, but a subsitute is available, see Taxation.

1810 - Lost, but a subsitute is available, see Taxation.


  • Sutherland, Elihu Jasper. Russell County, Virginia, Census of 1820. Clintwood, Va.: unknown, 1940. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).


  • 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 Russell County.]


Census takers uncharacteristically recorded the birth town or county of residents this census year.[2]




1890 Union Veterans




More than 100 genealogies have been published about Russell County families. To view a list, visit Russell County, Virginia Genealogy.


Grants and Patents

Local Histories

Russell County Lookups (Russell Co. GenWeb)

  • Albert, Ethel Evans. Southwest Virginia Kin, Vol. 1.
  • Chafin, Andrew. Russell County (Images of America series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2008. Google Books page | WorldCat page
  • The Heritage of Russell County, Virginia 1786-1986, 2 vols. Russell County Heritage Book Committee, 1989. Google Books page | WorldCat page
  • Sutherland, Elihu J. Pioneer Recollections of Southwest Virginia.



Pre-Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War
  • Kegley, Mary B. Revolutionary War Pension Applications of Southwest Virginia Soldiers. n.p.: M.B. Kegley, 1997. Available at FHL. [Includes Russell County pensioners.]
  • 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 [1]Google Books. 1967 reprint: FHL Collection 973 X2pc 1840. [See Virginia, Western District, Russell County on page 136.]
  • Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions. Washington, D.C., 1852. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1969, and 1991. Reprints include "an Added Index to States." FHL Collection 973 M24ur; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Includes veterans from this county; Virginia section begins on page 238.]
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, Russell County, p. 102. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War

Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865

Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers 1861-1865

Russell County Civil War Pension Applications 1900

World War I and Later
  • Military discharge records from World War I and later are housed in the courthouse


Virginia Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1929



Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin

Genealogical articles with abstracts of Russell County, Virginia records have been published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (39+ vols., 1972-present), the journal of the Watauga Association of Genealogists. The organization has posted tables of contents for most volumes on their website. Back issues are available for purchase. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Books 976.897 B2w, including Margaret W. Hougland and Betty Jane Hylton's Bulletin Subject Index: The First Thirty Years, 1972-2001 (Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Association of Genealogists, 2002) FHL US/CAN Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001.


  • Indexed digital photo archive at the Russell County Public Library in Lebanon, documenting Russell County communities from the 20th century to the present

Private Papers

Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007

  • Knisely, Mary Jane. "An Old Account Book of Russell County, Virginia," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1977):310. Available at FHL; digital version at New England Ancestors ($).


Research Guides

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Russell County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1978):131-133. Available at FHL; digital version at New England Ancestors ($).


How can Virginia tax lists help me?

Russell County's original personal property tax books are held at the Library of Virginia. The years 1787 through 1850 were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1993: FHL US/CAN Films 1905718-1905720.

Digitized images for select years are available online and abstracts of many of these records have appeared in print:

Vital Records

Indexes to Russell 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

Indexes to Russell 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

  • Birth registers, 1853-1889, on microfilm at the Russell County Public Library
  • Birth records, 1863-1864, are missing
  • Birth records, 1889-1896,  on microfilm at the Library of Virginia
  • Birth records, 1890, are missing
  • Birth records, 1895, are missing
  • Russell County Births, 1853-1896 (Russell Co. GenWeb)

Societies and Libraries

General William Campbell Chapter SAR

19770 McCray Drive

Abingdon, Virginia 24211 


Family History Centers


Russell County, Virginia USGENWEB

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Russell County Family History Hall of Fame
"May we preserve their memories & Contributions!"

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  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Alycon Trubey Pierce, "In Praise of Errors Made by Census Enumerators," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 1 (March 1993):51-55. FHL Book 973 B2ng