Mathews County, Virginia Genealogy

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

Mathews County, Virginia
Boundary map of Mathews County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Mathews County
Location in the state of Virginia, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1790
County Seat Mathews

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Mathews County is located in the Eastern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was named for Brigadier General Thomas Mathews, then speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates[1].

Mathews County, Virginia Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Mathews County Courthouse
P.O. Box 463
10622 Buckley Hall Road
Mathews, Virginia 23109
Phone: 804-725-2550

Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce, probate, court and land records from 1865[2]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1865 1827 1865 1795 1817 1795 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1912.
General compliance year is unknown.

Mathews County, Virginia History[edit | edit source]

The county is named after Thomas Mathews (1742–1812), an American Revolutionary War general and Virginia politician, who represented Norfolk Borough in the Virginia House of Delegates, and served as that body's Speaker from 1782 until 1793.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1790--Mathews County was created 16 December 1790 from Gloucester County.
County seat: Mathews [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Virginia county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Virginia County Boundary Maps" (1617-1995) may be viewed for free at the website.

Variant Spellings[edit | edit source]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1865 Most of the Mathews County Courthouse records were moved to Richmond for safekeeping during the American Civil War, but were destroyed there in the fire of 3 April 1865.[6]

  • Lost censuses: 1800, 1890

Visit the Library of Virginia's website to determine exactly what records have been lost and their Lost Records Localities Database to find additional resources. For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Mathews County, Virginia Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Middlesex | Gloucester | York

Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Davis, Virginia Lee Hutcheson. "Records of Tidewater Virginia Counties," Tidewater Virginia Families: A Magazine of History and Genealogy, Vol. 1, No. 2 (May-June 1992):53-66. FHL Collection 975.51 D25t [For Mathews County, see p. 61]

African American[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Images of the Mathews Archives' family Bible collections at the Mathews Memorial Library have been digitized:

Family Bible records available online or in manuscript form at the Library of Virginia covering Mathews County, Virginia:

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
VAGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
VAGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Virginia Gravestones
Billion Graves
See Virginia Cemeteries for more information.
  • Tyler, Lyon G. "Old Tombstones in Mathews County," The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Apr. 1895):255-256. Digital version at JSTOR - free
  • Tombstones of Mathews County, Virginia 1711-1986. Compilers: Christine L. Sheridan and Elsie W. Ernst. Mathews County Historical Society, Inc., 1988.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 5,806
1810 4,227 −27.2%
1820 6,920 63.7%
1830 7,664 10.8%
1840 7,442 −2.9%
1850 6,714 −9.8%
1860 7,091 5.6%
1870 6,200 −12.6%
1880 7,501 21.0%
1890 7,584 1.1%
1900 8,239 8.6%
1910 8,922 8.3%
1920 8,447 −5.3%
1930 7,884 −6.7%
1940 7,149 −9.3%
1950 7,148 −0.0%
1960 7,121 −0.4%
1970 7,168 0.7%
1980 7,995 11.5%
1990 8,348 4.4%
2000 9,207 10.3%
2010 8,978 −2.5%
Source: "".

1784 - First Census of the United States Heads of Families. Kingston Parish.

1890 Union Veterans[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Kingston Parish

Church of England[edit | edit source]

Gotoarrow.png Kingston Parish

  • Mason, George Carrington. Colonial Churches of Tidewater Virginia. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet and Shepperson, 1945. Available at FHL.

Court[edit | edit source]

  • Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index can be used to search Mathews County chancery records for the years 1842-1904, but this is an incomplete index. The majority of chancery records remain at the Mathews County Circuit Court Clerk's office.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Compiled Genealogies by Surname

Compiled Genealogies for Multiple Families

  • Yurechko, John Otto. Virginians Along and Near the Lower Rapphahannock River, 1607-1799. 2 vols. Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1997-1998. FHL Book 975.5 D2yj v. 1-v. 2. Contents: v. 1. Blake, Brooks (Brook), Churchill, Cook (Cock), Daniel, Dixon, Gore, Kidd, Lewis, Martin, Montague, Taylor and Wood -- v. 2. Brown, Clark, Elliott, Fox (Fowkes, Vaulx), Harrison, McTyre, Moore, Pate, Rawlins (Rollins), Rhodes, Sanders (Saunders) and Williams.

Historic Sites & Properties[edit | edit source]

  • Historic Homes and Properties of Mathews County, Virginia, Vol. 1 by MCHS (2009). First in a series of five highlighting ten pre-Civil War home in Mathews County, Virginia: Carobian (Sibley Farm), Fountain Green, Magnolia, Milford II (William Penn Hudgins House), Old Pine (John Warner Borum House), Palace Green (Francis Armistead House), R-R Retreat Acres (Archibald Taylor Hudgins House), Seth Foster House, Whitfield Landing (Jesse Hudgins House) and Williamsdale (Riverlawn).
  • Historic Homes and Properties of Mathews County, Virginia, Vol. 2 by MCHS (2013). Second in a series of five highlighting ten pre-Civil War home in Mathews County, Virginia: Bellevue, Brunson’s Landing (Jesse Thomas House), Edwards Hall (Bohannon Place/Hurricane Hall II) Pleasant View (Tynant), Poplar Grove, Ransone House (Rebel Yell), Springdale, Sutherland (Shadecliff), Watcombe Manor and White Dog Bistro (Lane Hotel/Bailey Hudgins’ House/Bullfrogs & Butterflies/White Dog Inn).
  • Historic Homes and Properties of Mathews County, Virginia, Vol. 3 by MCHS (2018). Third in a series of five highlighting ten pre-Civil War home in Mathews County, Virginia: Alexander James House, Bayview (Batavia), Belmont, Eastover (Sandberg House/East End), Folly Farm, Miles-Gamble House, Milford (Billups House), Oakland, Tompkins Cottage and Willow Grove.
  • Historic Homes and Properties of Mathews County, Virginia, Vol. 4 by MCHS (2020). Fourth in a series of five highlighting ten pre-Civil War home in Mathews County, Virginia: Auburn, Augustine Diggs House (Pear Tree Hall), Augustine F. Hudgins House, Cedar Grove (Cedar Croft/Williams House), Gwynnville, Henry Sibley House, Hyco (Haiku House), Isleham, Lilly House and Seaford.
  • New Point Comfort Lighthouse, Its History and Preservation by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford (2013). ​A lone tower reinforced by riprap, surrounded by Chesapeake Bay waters and off the southern tip of Mathews County, Virginia, the lighthouse at New Point Comfort has weathered a constantly shifting shoreline as well as enemy troops in two wars. First lit in 1806 when it stood onshore beside a keeper's dwelling, the tower has survived intact. The book traces the station's history and present-day preservation efforts by the New Point Comfort Lighthouse Preservation Taskforce.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Middlesex CountyGloucester CountyVA MATTHEWS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
War of 1812[edit | edit source]

Mathews County men served in the 61st Regiment.[8]

  • 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, Matthews County [sic], p. 90. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

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

- 5th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate).
- 26th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company D.[9]

Records and histories are available, including:

World War II[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous Records[edit | edit source]

Museums[edit | edit source]

  • Gwynn's Island Museum originally established as a Community Project in 1991, the Gwynn’s Island Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Gwynn’s Island and Mathews County, Virginia.
  • Mathews Historical Museum will have a permanent museum in Mathews County within five years, that will collect, preserve and exhibit cultural artifacts that represent the history of the county.
  • Mathews Maritime Foundation Museum & Boat Shop is owned and operated by the Mathews Maritime Foundation. Established in 1998, the Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Mathews County’s maritime and cultural heritage through research, conservation, documentation and education.
  • Thomas James Store, owned by the Mathews County Historical Society, is a rare and excellent example of an early nineteenth-century rural commercial building. Although it has undergone some alterations and was almost certainly moved from its original location, the store retains much of its original fabric and is remarkably well preserved for its age. It dates to c. 1820, and appears to be one of the oldest buildings in the downtown commercial district of Mathews County. It is a registered National Historic Building.
  • Tompkins Cottage Museum, which is headquarters for the Mathews County Historical Society, is named for Christopher Tompkins, a local sea captain, planter, local merchant and member of the state legislature. He bought the cottage property in 1837 and is the first known owner. Exhibits include a room dedicated to the history of Mathews County and serves as a gift shop, two rooms representing a home from the 1840s to the 1920s, and a room dedicated to Sally Louisa Tompkins who was the first woman commissioned in an American military unit. It is a registered National Historic Building.

Naturalization[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Papers Private[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

  • Lustenberger, Anita A., Heirs and Estates: Mathews County, Virginia Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery Process Book 1831-1861. 2012. Mathews Memorial Library CREF 975.531 LUS
  • Hopkins, William Lindsay. Some Wills from the Burned Counties of Virginia and Other Wills Not Listed in Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800. Richmond, Virginia: W.L. Hopkins, 1987. FHL Collection [Includes Mathews County.]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

How can Virginia tax lists help me?

  • [1774-1775] Billups, John R. Tithables, 1774-1775, of Kingston Parish, also Billups' Accounts, 1787-1842. MSS., Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia; also available at FHL. [Kingston Parish was located in Gloucester County at the time, but later fell within the bounds of Mathews County.]
  • [1774-1791] Mason, Polly Cary. Records of Colonial Gloucester County Virginia. 2 vols. 1946-1948; reprint, Baltimore: Clearfield, 2003. Original edition and 1965 reprintavailable at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($); and World Vital Records ($). [Includes land patent abstracts, 1704/05 rent roll, Gloucester County tax lists 1770-1782, Mathews County tax lists 1774-1791, burgesses, council, and court, county officials, etc.]
  • [1791] 1791 Mathews County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List; index online at New River Notes - free.
  • [1791-1820] Ward, Roger G. "Burned County Gleanings: Mathews County Land Tax Lists, 1791-1820," Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Fall 1997):317-323. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Abstracts of some taxpayers that include "genealogical tidbits," such as relationships, land transfers, etc.]
  • [1791-1815] Heinegg, Paul. "Mathews County Personal Property Tax List, 1791-1815," Free African [Heinegg abstracted free blacks listed in these records.]
  • [1803] Indexed images of the 1803 Personal Property Tax List of Mathews County, Virginia are available online, courtesy:Binns Genealogy.
  • [1803] Indexed images of the 1803 Land Tax List of Mathews County, Virginia are available online, courtesy: Binns Genealogy.
  • [1809-1816, 1822-1831] Mathews County Personal Property Tax Lists 1809-1816, 1822-1831 (images); digital version in Tax List Club at Binns Genealogy ($).

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Indexes to Mathews 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. See also How to order Virginia Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]
Vital Record Substitutes[edit | edit source]

The Virginia Historical Society's Marriage and Obituary Index, 1736-1820 (newspaper abstracts) is available at FamilySearch. Images of the original index cards are browseable, arranged alphabetically by surname.

Voter Records[edit | edit source]

Mathews County, Virginia Genealogy Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

To locate the closest family history center or affiliate library, use the link listed above.

Mathews County, Virginia Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Mathews County, Virginia. Page 717 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Mathews County, Virginia . Page 710-723 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), 715-720.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. 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), 90. FHL Book 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive.
  6. Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records, 3, in Library of Virginia (accessed 4 April 2014).
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Mathews_ County,_Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Virginia#Communities accessed 19 February 2020.
  8. Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Pub. Co., 1988), 135. FHL Book 975.5 M2bs.
  9. Alexander Lloyd Wiatt, 26th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1984). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 13.