Washington County, Virginia Genealogy

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

Washington County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Washington 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 1776
County Seat Abingdon

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Washington County lies in the Southwest Appalachian area of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was named in honor of General George Washington who was commander in chief of the American Revolutionary forces at the time[1].

Washington County, Virginia Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Washington County Courthouse
216 Park Street
Abingdon, Virginia 24210-3312
Phone: 540-628-8733

In 1974 nine square miles of Washington County were annexed to the City of Bristol, which is an independent city with its own clerks office and records. Circuit Court Clerk has marriage, divorce, probate, court and land records from 1777[2]

Gotoarrow.png See also Independent City of Bristol.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1853 1782 1853 1777 1777 1777 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1912.
General compliance year is unknown.

Washington County, Virginia History[edit | edit source]

President George Washington (1732-1799)

The county was named after George Washington (1732-1799), who later became President.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1776--Washington County was created 7 October 1776 from Fincastle County. Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt County in 1772, and was abolished in 1777.  See Montgomery County.
County seat: Abingdon [2]

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 MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]


1864 Courthouse was burned on 15 December 1864, destroying many loose papers and minute books from the periods 1787-1819 and 1821-1837.[4]

  • Lost federal censuses: 1790, 1800, 1890

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

Washington 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:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

Washington County, Virginia Genealogy cohabitation records are available online.

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

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
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
VAGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
VAGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Virginia Gravestones
Billion Graves
See Virginia Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 5,625
1800 9,536 69.5%
1810 12,156 27.5%
1820 12,444 2.4%
1830 15,614 25.5%
1840 13,001 −16.7%
1850 14,612 12.4%
1860 16,892 15.6%
1870 16,816 −0.4%
1880 25,203 49.9%
1890 29,020 15.1%
1900 28,995 −0.1%
1910 32,830 13.2%
1920 32,376 −1.4%
1930 33,850 4.6%
1940 38,197 12.8%
1950 37,536 −1.7%
1960 38,076 1.4%
1970 40,835 7.2%
1980 46,487 13.8%
1990 45,887 −1.3%
2000 51,103 11.4%
2010 54,876 7.4%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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


  • 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 Washington County.]


Barbe and Edwards annotated the 1850 census using county records, tombstone inscriptions, family Bibles, Jessee H. Miller's diary, and other censuses:

  • Barbe, Waverly W. and Shelby Ireson Edwards. 1850 Census of Washington County, Virginia, Annotated. Bristol, Tenn.: Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 2000.

1890 Union Veterans

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist[edit | edit source]

Early Baptist churches (with years constituted):

  1. Mill Creek Valley (1799)[6]
  2. North Fork of Holston (1783)[6]
  3. Rich Valley (1802)[6]
  4. South Fork of Holston or St. Clair's Bottom (1791), Cilhowie, Va.[6] Membership lists (beginning in 1791) and a history were published in the Appalachian Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Dec. 2005). This area is now part of Smyth County, Virginia Genealogy.
  • 1776 Petition of Baptists (10,000 names!) and sympathizers from all over Virginia, dated 16 October 1776, asking for an end to persecution of Baptists by the established church. After locating your ancestor, view the digital copies.
    – Digital copies at Library of Congress; also at Library of Virginia using the code word "000606093"
    – Hall, Jean Pickett. "Legislative Petitions: the 10,000 name petition" transcription in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vols. 35-38, with annotations in Vol. 39, (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Genealogical Society, 1983-) online at Ancestry ($) and in book form at various libraries.
    In 1810 Washington County fell within the bounds of the Holston and Mountain Associations. It later belonged to the Washington District Association.
  • Sutherland, Elihu Jasper. Regular Primitive Baptist Washington District Association: Short History, Abstract of Principles, Preamble and Constitution, Rules of Decorum, Other Data. 1952. 1985 edition: FHL Book 975.5 K2se.

Court[edit | edit source]

  • Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index can be used to search Washington County chancery records for the years 1849-1913. Records are available on microfilm and the Clerk's Office.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Compiled Genealogies by Surname


Compiled Genealogies for Multiple Families

  • An Index to Family Files at the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia Library in Abingdon is available online.
  • Allison, Elizabeth Kelly. Early Southwest Virginia Families: Families of Kelly, Smyth, Buchanan, Clark and Related Families of Edmonson, Keys, Beattie, Ryburn, McDonald. Auburn, Ala., 1960.
  • Gordon Aronhime (1911-1983) collected information on hundreds of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee pioneers. His note cards, which reference more than 4,000 early settlers of the Holston-Clinch River area and East Tennessee (1770s-1790s), are held at the Library of Virginia. The cards have been digitized and made available online.[7]
  • Holston Territory Genealogical Society. Families of Washington County and Bristol, Virginia, 1776-1996. Bristol, Va.: Holston Territory Genealogical Society and Don Mills, 1996. FHL Collection 975.572 D2f
  • Blankenship, Gayle King. Some Families of Bedford & Washington Counties, Virginia and Orange County, North Carolina Bright, Buford, Cash, Crawford, Crews, Davis, Downs, Early, Foster, Franklin, Gray, Huddleston, Lawhorn, McGeorge, McNew, Parker, Perrott, Pendergrass, Poindexter, Powell, Quarles, St. Clair, Scoggins, Shrewsbury, Smith, Tyler, Warren, Watts, Wiggenton. Poquoson, Va.: G.K. Blankenship, 2000. FHL Collection; digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.

Immigration[edit | edit source]

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding a total of 3 British aliens, some of whom had families, living in Abingdon and Washington County.[8]

Early migration routes to and from Washington County for European settlers included:[9]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Publications of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia [Nos. 1-18]. Abingdon, Virginia, 1964.
  • Summers, Lewis Preston. History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, Washington County, 1777-1870. J.L.Hill Print Co., 1903. Available at FHL; digital versions at Ancestry ($), FamilySearch Digital Library, Google Books. Index at EveryNameIndex.com.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Bristol (Independent City)Grayson CountySmyth CountyRussell CountyScott CountySullivan CountyJohnson CountyAshe CountyVA WASHINGTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

French and Indian War[edit | edit source]
  • Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. FHL Collection [Identifies some Washington County veterans; see place name index.]
Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
  • Kegley, Mary B. Revolutionary War Pension Applications of Southwest Virginia Soldiers. n.p.: M.B. Kegley, 1997. FHL Collection [Includes Washington 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 versions at U.S. Census Bureau and Google Books. 1967 reprint: FHL Book 973 X2pc 1840. [See Virginia, Western District, Wythe 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 Book 973 M24ur; digital version at Ancestry ($). [Includes veterans from this county; Virginia section begins on page 238.]
War of 1812[edit | edit source]

Washington County men served in the 70th and 105th Regiments.[10]

  • 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 Book 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, Virginia, Washington County, p. 106-107. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

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

- 1st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate).
- 3rd Battalion, Kentucky Mounted Rifles (Confederate). Company F.
- 4th Regiment, Virginia State Line (Cavalry and Infantry) (Confederate). Company I (2nd).[11]
- 6th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company K.
- 9th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company K.
- 13th Battalion, Virginia Reserves (Confederate). Companies C, F, and I.[12]
- 21st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company C 2nd and Company F.[13]
- 22nd Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Bowen's Virginia Mounted Riflemen) (Confederate). Company A, Company C, and Company E.
- 30th Battalion, Virginia Sharpshooters (Clarke's) (Confederate). Company E.[14]
- 37th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company A (Goodson Rifle Guards), Company B (Virginia Mountain Boys), Company F (Glade Spring Rifles), Company H (King's Mountain Rifles), and Company K (Washington Dependents).[15]
- 48th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company E (Mountain Marksmen), Company F (Holston Foresters), and Company G (Campbell Greys).[16]
- 50th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company G (1st) (Floyd Blues).[17]
- 51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company I.[18]
- 63rd Regiment, Virginia Infantry (McMahon's) (Confederate). Companies A, B, E, F, and I.[19]

Records and histories are available, including:

World War II[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous Records[edit | edit source]

Naturalization[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

The Virginia Newspapers Project identifies local Washington County, Virginia Genealogy newspapers.
Indexed images of the Virginia Gazette (1736-1780) are available online through the Colonial Williamsburg website. In addition, Professor Tom Costa and The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia have created a database of all runaway advertisements for slaves, indentured servants, transported convicts, and ship deserters listed in this source and other Virginia newspapers (1736-1803), see: The Geography of Slavery in Virginia. These newspapers are valuable resources for all regions of Virginia.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Bulletin of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia

Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.

Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin

Genealogical articles with abstracts of Washington 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.

Private Papers[edit | edit source]

  • Davis--Hatfield--Parkey Family Bible Records, 1779-1919. Kentucky Bible and Cemetery Records / Genealogical Records Committee, Kentucky Society D.A.R. leaves 255-260; FHL US/CAN Film 855039 Item 4.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

A free index to Washington County, Virginia Genealogy wills and administrations (1770-1800) is available at the Library of Virginia.

Online Probate Links

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Washington County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1980):58-60. Digital version at American Ancestors ($).

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Online Washington County, Virginia Tax Lists
Type Index Images
Free FHC Fee Free FHC Fee
Personal Property 1782, 1782 - - 1782 1782*
Personal Property 1783 - - 1783 A|B 1783 1783
Personal Property - - - 1784 1784 1784
Personal Property - - - 1785 1785 1785
Personal Property - - - 1786 1786 1786
Personal Property 1787 - - 1787 1787 1787
Personal Property - - - - 1788 1788
Personal Property - - - - 1789 1789
Personal Property - - - - 1790 1790
Personal Property - - - - 1791 1791
Personal Property - - - - 1792 1792
Personal Property - - - - 1793 1793
Personal Property - - - - 1794 1794
Personal Property - - - - 1795 1795
Personal Property - - - - 1796 1796
Personal Property 1797 - - 1797 1797 1797
Personal Property - - - - 1798 1798
Personal Property - - - - 1799 1799
Personal Property - - - - 1800 1800
Personal Property - - - - 1801 1801
Personal Property - - - - 1802 1802
Personal Property - - - - 1803 1803
Personal Property - - - 1804 1804 1804
Personal Property - - - 1805 1805 1805
Personal Property 1806 - - 1806 1806 -
Personal Property - - - - 1807-1850 -
  • This folder has been incorrectly labeled as being 1786. The names and entries here match those of 1782 and not 1786. It is listed first as it is easier to read and a cleaner copy.

How can Virginia tax lists help me?


Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Indexes to Washington 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]
  • 1853-1892 - Washington County Birth Index 1853-1892. Batch C868695 at FamilySearch - free.[20]
  • 1889-1896 - Fridley, Beth, comp. Washington County, Virginia Births, 1889-96 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Available at Ancestry ($).
Marriage[edit | edit source]
  • 1782-1820 - Fleet, Beverley. Washington County Marriage Register, 1782-1820. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1961. Available at FHL; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • 1785-1902 - Washington County Marriage Index 1785-1902. Batch M868696 at FamilySearch - free.
  • 1785-1940 Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 at Ancestry.com ($) — index
  • 1801-1820 - Barbe, Waverly. "Washington County, Virginia, Mc Marriages, 1801-1820," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1976):130-132. Available at American Ancestors ($).
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Washington County, Virginia Genealogy deaths are online in the Library of Virginia's Death Index of Virginia, 1853-1896, sponsored by Virginia Genealogical Society.

  • 1853-1892 - Washington County Death Index 1853-1892. Batch B868695 at FamilySearch - free.

Beth Fridley has published abstracts of the following Washington County death records online at Ancestry:

  • Washington County, Virginia Deaths, 1853-85 [database on-line]. Available at Ancestry ($). 
  • Washington County, Virginia Deaths, 1886-96 [database on-line]. Available at Ancestry ($).
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.

Washington 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.

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.washcova.com/visitors/history/
  2. 2.02.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Washington County, Virginia. Page 722 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Washington 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. Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records, 6, in Library of Virginia (accessed 4 April 2014).
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Washington County,_Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_County,_Virginia#Communities accessed 4 March 2020.
  6. Robert Baylor Semple and George William Beale, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia (Pitt and Dickinson, 1894), 358-359. Digital version at Google Books.
  7. "Original Virginia Records Imaged and Indexed Online," *Arlene Eakle's Virginia Genealogy Blog, 12 October 2008.
  8. Kenneth Scott, British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812 (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979), 320-333. FHL Book 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  9. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  10. Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Pub. Co., 1988), 209. FHL Book 975.5 M2bs.
  11. The Virginia State Line: Organizational Structure of the Virginia State Line, Ranger95.com, accessed 11 June 2012.
  12. William C. Pendleton, History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748-1920 (Richmond, Va.: W.C. Hill Printing Company, 1920), 629-630. Digital version at Google Books.
  13. John E. Olson, 21st Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, c1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 57.
  14. Michael West, 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1995). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 108.
  15. Thomas M. Rankin, 37th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1987). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 37.
  16. John D. Chapla, 48th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 54.
  17. John C. Chapla, 50th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1997). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 129.
  18. James A. Davis, 51st Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1984). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 9.
  19. Jeffrey C. Weaver, 63rd Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1991). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 76.
  20. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/3/37/Igivirginia.pdf.