Wise County, Virginia Genealogy

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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, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1856
County Seat Wise

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1856 1856 1856 1856 1856 1856 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1912.
General compliance year is unknown.

Wise County, Virginia History[edit | edit source]

Henry A Wise.jpg

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.[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

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

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

  • Lost census: 1890

Wise 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]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

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

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

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
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.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 4,508
1870 4,785 6.1%
1880 7,772 62.4%
1890 9,345 20.2%
1900 19,653 110.3%
1910 34,162 73.8%
1920 46,500 36.1%
1930 51,167 10.0%
1940 52,458 2.5%
1950 56,336 7.4%
1960 43,579 −22.6%
1970 35,947 −17.5%
1980 43,863 22.0%
1990 39,573 −9.8%
2000 40,123 1.4%
2010 41,452 3.3%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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[edit | edit source]

Baptist[edit | edit source]
  • Little Primitive Baptist Church, Wise, Va. (by 1856).[6]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Compiled Genealogies by Surname


Compiled Genealogies for Multiple Families

  • Adams, James Taylor (1892-1954). James Taylor Adams Collection. MSS., Cooke-Wyllie Library, Clinch Valley College, Wise, Va.; microfilmed reproduction available: FHL Collection [Adams collected material for a history of the first settlers of Wise County, Virginia.]
  • Heritage Book Committee and Wise County Historical Society. The Heritage of Wise County and the City of Norton. 2 vols. [Wise, Virginia?]: Wise County Historical Society (Va.), c1993, 2001. FHL Collection
  • Laningham, Anne Wynn and Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales. Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties. 2 vols. Greensboro, North Carolina: Media, Inc., 1977. FHL Collection
  • Lockwood, Frances B. and Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales. Annotations, Corrections and Additions to Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties. 1978. FHL Collection [Includes Wise County families.]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • 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 ($).

Maps[edit | edit source]

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

Military[edit | edit source]

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

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.[7]
- 29th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company F.[8]
- 50th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company H (Wise Yankee Catchers).[9]

Records and histories are available, including:

World War II[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous Records[edit | edit source]

Naturalization[edit | edit source]

Virginia Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1929

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

The Virginia Newspapers Project identifies local Wise County, Virginia Genealogy newspapers.
*The Big Stone Gap Post, Big Stone Gap, VA, 1892-1928. (Chronicling America at the Library of Congress)

Private Papers[edit | edit source]

Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

  • "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 ($).

Taxation[edit | edit source]

How can Virginia tax lists help me?

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

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. See also How to order Virginia Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

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

Vital Record Substitutes[edit | edit source]

Wise 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.

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.wisecounty.org/wise_history.html
  2. 2.02.1 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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wise 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. "Henry A. Wise," in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wise, accessed 13 January 2012.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Wise County,_Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wise_County,_Virginia#Communities accessed 6 March 2020.
  6. Charles A. Johnson, A narrative history of Wise County, Virginia (Norton, Va.: Norton Press, 1938), 8. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  7. The Virginia State Line: Organizational Structure of the Virginia State Line, Ranger95.com, accessed 11 June 2012.
  8. John Perry Alderman, 29th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1989). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 53.
  9. John C. Chapla, 50th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1997). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 129.
  10. 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.