Sullivan County, Tennessee

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Revision as of 18:47, 16 November 2012

United States Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee Gotoarrow.png Sullivan County


Sullivan County, Tennessee genealogy and family history research page. Guide to Sullivan County (established 1779) genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.


Sullivan County, Tennessee
Map
Boundary map of Sullivan County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Sullivan County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: October 18, 1779
County Seat Blountville
Courthouse
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Contents

Quick Dates

Sullivan County's civil records start the following years:[1]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1881 1863 1881 1830 1775 1838

County Courthouse

Sullivan County Courthouse, Blountville, Tenn.

Sullivan County Courthouse
3411 Highway 126
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: 1-423-323-6483 - 6428

County Clerk has marriage records from 1863,
birth records 1908-1912 and death records
1925-1938; Clerk and Master has probate records;
Register of Deeds has land records [2]


Sullivan County Department of Archives & Tourism

Located directly beside historic Sullivan County Courthouse
Marriage records (1863-1949)
Wills (1830-2001)
Death records (1908-1955)
Chancery records (1850-1950)
Circuit Court records (1850-1950)
P.O. Box 3179
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: 1-423-323-4660
Hours:
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Sullivan County Register of Deeds
Land records
3411 Hwy 126, Suite 101
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: 1-423-323-6420  

History

Governor John Sullivan (1740-1795)

East Tennessee county established in 1779. Originally part of the North Holston Settlement, from 1784 to 1788, this land was claimed by the abortive, short-lived State of Franklin.[3]

The county is named after Revolutionary War General and New Hampshire GovernorJohn_Sullivan (1740-1795).[4]

Sullivan County was created by the North Carolina legislature in 1779 from part of Washington County. In 1784 Sullivan joined two neighboring counties in declaring their independence from North Carolina. In 1785 these counties applied for admission to the United States as the State of Franklin. In March 1786 the Franklin legislaure created Spencer County from the western part of Sullivan County. Meanwhile, North Carolina created a duplicate of Spencer County but named it Hawkins County. By 1789 hopes for Franklin statehood faded. North Carolina refused to recognize Franklin's counties, so it is the Hawkins name that remains in use today. In 1796 all the land in these counties became part of the new State of Tennessee.

Parent County

18 October 1779: Sullivan County was created from Washington District and territory formerly claimed by Virginia.
County seat: Blountville [5]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[6] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[7] (female)
  3. Hear it spoken[8] (male)

Boundary Changes

"Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the My Tennessee Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss

Fire.png
1863--Fired damaged records

According to Leroy W. Tilton, this 1863 fire destroyed all courthouse records, except the deed books.[9] 

  • Lost censuses: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1890
  • Lost marriage records: 1780 to 1863
  • Lost probate records: 1780 to 1838
  • Lost court records: 1780 to 1850s/1860s

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:

Places/Localities

Populated Places

Anderson Double Springs Horace (hist.) Poplar Grove
Arcadia Earheart (hist.) Horse Creek Preston Woods
Avoca Eden Ridge (hist.) Howard Hill Ridgefield
Beartown Edgeworth (hist.) Huddle Mill Riverside
Beechnut City Edgemont Jacob (hist.) Riverview
Beidlemans (hist.) Emmett Kendrick Creek (hist.) Rock City
Big Creek (hist.) Fairmount Kingsport Rock Hill
Blair Gap Fairview Lake Crest Rock Springs
Bloomingdale Fishdam (hist.) Lawson (hist.) Ruthton
Bloomington Heights Fleenora Park (hist.) Lella (hist.) Sac (hist.)
Blountville Fordtown Leonardtown Samuel (hist.)
Blue Ridge Fort Robinson Litz Manor Silvacola
Bluff City Friendship Lone Star Silver Grove
Borden Village Galloway Mill Long Island Slaughter (hist.)
Bridwell Heights Gibsontown Lynn Garden Springdale
Bristol Glen Alpine Maple Hill Sullivan Gardens
Buffalo Grandview Terrace Maplehurst Summersville
Buncombe Greenfields Marlyn Hills Sumpter (hist.)
Bunker Hill Gross Crossroad Midfields Sunny Brook
Butterfly (hist.) Gunnings Morrison City Sunnyside
Cantrell (hist.) Harmony Hills Nelsontown Sunset Hills
Cedar Grove Harr New Bethel Thom (hist.)
Childress Harrtown Northcott Tennessee Hills
Chinquapin Grove Haynesfield Oak Hill Twin Oaks
Cleavet Springs (hist.) Hemlock Park Oakview Underwood Springs (hist.)
Cliffside Hickory Tree Offset Vance
Cloud Ford Highland Park Orebank Vinegar Hill
Cloverbottom (hist.) Hillcrest Pactolus Wahoo (hist.)
Colby (hist.) Hilton (hist.) Painter Spring Walnut Grove
Cold Spring Holston Paperville Walnut Hill
Colonial Heights Holston Heights Petlier (hist.) Weaver
Conkintown Holston Hills Pettyjohn Mill West View Park
Cross Holston Valley Piney Flats Woodrow

Neighboring Counties

Resources

Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Sullivan County biographies, land, marriage, and probate records. To determine which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.

Research Guides

In the 1780s, this county's land fell within the bounds of the State of Franklin.

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans

Some "colored" marriages appear in published abstracts of nineteenth-century Sullivan County marriage books. See Vital Records.

Cemeteries

Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation. 

The Tennessee Cemeteries page provides explanations of the following online resources:
Bibliography Online Gravestone Transcriptions Cemetery Gazetteers
FHLC Find A Grave | national search | county list ePodunk
WorldCat TNGenWeb Cemetery Database  
  USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project  

Published Sullivan County cemetery records:

  • Burow, Suzanne and David Burow. Cemetery Records of Sullivan County, Tennessee. Kingsport, Tennessee: S.Burow, 2007. WorldCat 184741751 FHL Book 976.896 V3b v.1 and 2 Index found at the end of Vol. 2. Maps on lining papers. Contents: v. 1. Kingsport, Indian Springs, Blountville, Bristol -- v. 2. Bristol, Holston Valley, Shady Valley, Lovelace, Sullivan Gardens, Boone Dam, Bluff City, Keenburg.
  • Montgomery, Mary Alice Hurt. Cemetery Census for Hawkins County, Tennessee, Sullivan County, Tennessee and Washington County, Virginia. Kingsport, Tenn.: M.A.H. Montgomery, [2002?]. FHL Book 976.896/K1 V3m

Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 4,447
1800 10,218 129.8%
1810 6,847 −33.0%
1820 7,015 2.5%
1830 10,073 43.6%
1840 10,736 6.6%
1850 11,742 9.4%
1860 13,552 15.4%
1870 13,136 −3.1%
1880 18,321 39.5%
1890 20,879 14.0%
1900 24,935 19.4%
1910 28,120 12.8%
1920 36,259 28.9%
1930 51,087 40.9%
1940 69,085 35.2%
1950 95,063 37.6%
1960 114,139 20.1%
1970 127,329 11.6%
1980 143,968 13.1%
1990 143,596 −0.3%
2000 153,048 6.6%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Sullivan County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Sullivan County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®.

1790: Lost, only statistics survive [10], but substitutes are available:

  • Eakle, Arlene. Tennessee Research. 2010. Purchase information at Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Genealogy Blog. Includes a reconstructed 1790 census, sources: "Contemporary lists–tax lists, militia rolls, land grants and deeds, claims for pre-emption lands, names recorded in diaries and journals. And numerous histories compiled by local historians from records that we have not seen or read ourselves."
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Ohio, 1790, Volume Two. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1986. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 977.1 X2o 1790. [Includes "Territory Southwest of the River Ohio," i.e. East Tennessee.[11]]
  • McGhee, Lucy Kate. Partial Census of 1787 to 1791 of Tennessee as Taken from the North Carolina Land Grants. 3 Parts. Microfilmed in 1990. FHL Collection US/CAN Films 1728882 Item 4 and 1683130 Item 3.

1800: Lost, but a substitute is available, see Taxation.

1810: Lost, but a substitute is available:

  • Sherrill, Charles A. The Reconstructed 1810 Census of Tennessee: 33,000 Long-lost Records from Tax Lists, Court Minutes, Church Records, Wills, Deeds and Other Sources. Mt. Juliet, Tenn.: C.A. Sherrill, 2001. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1810.

1820: Lost [12]

1820 Manufactures:

The original manufactures schedules for the Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee are kept at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Films 1024517-1024518.

The following book is a useful aid for finding the original records. A free online index, provided by Lineages, will help researchers determine if this resource can be of assistance:

  • National Archives. Indexes to Manufactures Census of 1820. 1920; reprint, Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, 1977. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 973 X2m 1820]; digital version at Lineages. Covers this county.

These records have also been abstracted:

  • 1820 Census of Manufactures, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 6, No. 2 ():56-. See Periodicals.

1830:

  • Sistler, Byron H. 1830 Census, East Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: n.p., 1969. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2p 1830.
  • Hunt, Shelia Steele. 1830 and 1840 Sullivan County, Tennessee Censuses. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2hs.

1840:

  • Hunt, Shelia Steele. 1830 and 1840 Sullivan County, Tennessee Censuses. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2hs.

1840 Revolutionary War 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; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. WorldCat 2648500FHL Collection US/CAN Book 973 X2pc 1840; US/CAN Film 2321. 1841 edition digitized by the U.S. Census Bureau and Google Books et. al. See Tennessee, Eastern District, Sullivan County on page 154.

1850:

  • Burgner, Marion Keith. Population Schedule of the United States Census of 1850 for Sullivan County, Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn.: Clinchdale Press, 1963. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2p 1850.
  • Hunt, Shelia Steele. 1850 Sullivan County, Tennessee Census. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2h 1850.

1850 Slave Schedule:

  • 1850 Slave Schedules, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 5, No. 1 ():15-. See Periodicals.

1860

  • Hunt, Shelia Steele. 1860 Sullivan County, Tennessee Census. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2h 1860].

1870:

  • Holston Territory Genealogical Society. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Bristol, Va.: Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 1994. FHL Collection FHL US/CAN Book 976.896 X29us 1870.

1880:

  • Sistler, Byron and Samuel D. Sistler. 1880 Census, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: B. Sistler & Associates, 1992. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X2s 1880.

1890: Lost, but substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 7 1891. Sullivan County is included in Vol. 7.
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.

1900:

  • Wagner, Fred L. 1900 Sullivan County, Tennessee Census Surname Index. [Blountville, Tenn.]: F.L. Wagner, 2002. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X22w 1900.

1910:

  • Wagner, Fred L. 1910 Sullivan County, Tennessee Census Surname Index. [Blountville, Tenn.]: F.L. Wagner, 2002. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X22w 1910.

1920:

  • Wagner, Fred L. 1920 Sullivan County, Tennessee Census Surname Index. [Blountville, Tenn.]: F.L. Wagner, 2003. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 X22w 1920.

Church History and Records

  • Sullivan County Historical Society. Foundations of Faith in Sullivan, 1777-1935. [Blountville, Tenn.?]: Sullivan County Historical Society, 1986. [A history of the early churches and religious organizations of Sullivan County in existence for more than fifty years.]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Kingsport

Court Records

Genealogy

More than 75 genealogies have been published about Sullivan County, Tennessee families. To view a list, visit Sullivan County, Tennessee Genealogy.

Historic Residences

  • Blountville: Historic House, Ansearchin' News, Vol. 49 (2002). Available at FHL, see Periodicals.

History

  • Taylor, Oliver. Historic Sullivan: A History of Sullivan County, Tennessee with Brief Biographies of the Makers of History. Bristol, Tenn.: The King Printing Co. (Le Roi Press), 1909. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 H2t and Index: FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 H2t index; digital version at Google Books.

Immigration and Emigration

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding a total of 7 British aliens, many of whom had families, living in Blountville and Sullivan County.[13]

Land and Property

Deeds

The original Sullivan County Deed Books are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed Deed Books 1-58 (1775-1894) and Indexes (1781-1930) in the 1970s. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Films 972701-972726.

The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Sullivan County land records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:

  1. Deed Book 1: 1775-1789
  2. Deed Book 2: 1788-1796

The early deed books have been abstracted multiple times:

  • [1775-1836] Austin, Susan Hardin. Sullivan County, Tennessee Deeds. 11 vols. [1775-1836] n.p.: S.H. Austin, 2002-2004. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 R2a v. 1-4 ff. Digital versions at BYU Family History Archives:
FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 1 (1775-1789)] FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 7 (1820-1824)]
FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 2 (1789-1795)] FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 8 (1824-1826)]
FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 3 (1795-1802)] Vol. 9 (1826-1830)
FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 4 (1802-1808)] Vol. 10 (1830-1833)
FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 5 (1809-1815)] FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 11 (1833-1836)]
58985&vid=FHD&vid=FHD FamilySearch Books Online Vol. 6 (1815-1820)] .

N.B. These volume numbers refer to the published abstract volumes and not to the original deed book volumes.

  • [1775-1835] Edwards, Shelby Ireson. Sullivan County, Tennessee, Deed Books: Abstracted from the Original Records. 10 vols. [1775-1835] Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 1984-1985. FHL Collection US/CAN Books 976.896 R2e ff. Free Surname Indexes and purchase details for several volumes, courtesy: Mountain Press website.
  • [1775-1815] Historical Records Project. Deeds, 1775-1815, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Typescript, TSLA, Nashville, Tenn. FHL Collection US/CAN Film 24836 Items 1-7.
  • [1775-1789] Willis, Laura and Betty Sellers. Sullivan County, Tenn. Deeds. Mayfield, Ky.: Willis Historical, 1998. FHL Collection US/CAN& Book 976.896 R2w.

Local Land Entries Issued by North Carolina

The original Sullivan County land entries issued by North Carolina are kept at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. On their website, users can bring up a list of land entries issued in Sullivan County, both before and after its land became a part of the state of Tennessee. Years covered: 1770-1798.

Instructions:

  1. Follow this link to conduct a "Call Number Search" using the MARS Catalog on their site.
  2. Using the pull down window, change "Call Numbers starting" to "A MarsID matching."
  3. Type 12.14.2 (Windows Vista users may need to include a period after the last digit, for example 12.14.2.) and click Search. This is the specific MarsID for Sullivan County.
  4. Click on the entry that is returned: "Tennessee, Sullivan County."
  5. In the window that pops up, click Show List of Child Records and a list of Sullivan County land entries will be produced. Browse to find abstracts of the original records.[14]

N.B. You can also search by name through the Basic Search, but it lacks soundex capabilities.

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. January 25, 2005. [In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service.] TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Maps

  • [1779] Reeves, Charles A. Sullivan and Washington Counties [Tennessee], the County Bounds in 1779. Published 2000. Purchase at ReevesMaps.com; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.
  • [1832] Creekmore, Pollyanna. Early East Tennessee Taxpayers. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1980. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4cp and Silas Emmett Lucas's Revised Index FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4cp index. Includes 1832 map of the county.
  • [1912] Mortimore, Thaddeus. Aero View of Bristol Virginia and Tennessee. Originally published 1912. Purchase at ReevesMaps.com; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.

Military History and Records

====

The following Sullivan County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

The 1840 Census of Pensioners has been abstracted multiple times:

  • 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; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. WorldCat 2648500FHL Collection FHL US/CAN Book 973 X2pc 1840; FHL US/CAN Film 2321. 1841 edition digitized by the U.S. Census Bureau and Google Books et. al. [See Tennessee, Eastern District, Sullivan County on page 154.]
  • 1840 Census Index, Military Pensioners, Ansearchin' News, Vol. 26 (1979). Available online, see Periodicals.
  • Census of Pensioners, 1840, Eastern District (sel.), Sullivan County Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring 2004).

Additional resources include:

  • Allen, Penelope Johnson. Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution: A Roster of Soldiers Living During the Revolutionary War in the Counties of Washington and Sullivan. n.p.: Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1935. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.89 M23a.
  • Long Island Flats Battle, 1776, Appalachian Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Mar. 2001).
  • 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." Digital version at Ancestry ($). Tennessee entries abstracted online at Tennesseans in the Revolutionary War, courtesy: TNGenWeb. [Includes veterans from this county; Tennessee section begins on page 381.]
  • Rejected or Suspended Revolutionary War Pensions, June 7, 1832, Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 1 (2007).
  • Revolutionary War Petitioners Rejected, Holston Pastfinder, Vol. 7, No. 25 (Dec. 1988).
  • Revolutionary War Stub Indents Books, 1782, North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Apr. 1975).
  • Soldiers in Battle of Kings Mountain, Holston Pastfinder, Issue 70 (Mar. 2000).
  • Soldiers of the Revolution, Holston Pastfinder, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Dec. 1997).

Indian Wars

  • Service against Chickamaugas, 1790 Claims, Tennessee Ancestors, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Dec. 1989).
====

Civil War

Civil War service men from Sullivan County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Sullivan County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Sullivan County:


The Battle of Blountville took place in Sullivan County on 22 September 1863. The result was a Union victory.[16] Learn more at American Civil War.com.


The following Civil War battle wa fought in Sullivan County


Map showing Civil War battles in Tennessee

Newspapers

  Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Sullivan County click on the following cities or towns:

Occupations

  • Miller, Alan N. East Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1778 to 1911. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2m. Digital version at World Vital Records ($). Purchase at Genealogical.com. [Includes Sullivan County.]

Periodicals

Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Sullivan County, Tennessee have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.]
East Tennessee Roots
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Sullivan County, Tennessee records have been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to these articles is available online. Surname indexes to Volumes 9 and 10 are also available online. The Family History Library has collected most issues of East Tennessee Roots FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 D25e].
Holston Pastfinder
Sullivan County Historical and Genealogical Society Journal
Previously known as the Sullivan County Historical and Genealogical Society Newsletter, this journal has been in print since 1997. For more information, visit the society's website. The Family History Library has collected most issues FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 D25s].
Sullivan County Historical Society Newsletter
The Family History Library has volumes 1 - 87 (1977 - 1993) with the exception of no. 5, 25, 40, 41, 46, 47, and 51. FHL Collection US/CAN 976.896 B2n]
Indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
For additional information see the Sullivan County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Sullivan County, Tennessee 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 Collection 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 Collection US/CAN Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001].

Prisons

Learn if your Sullivan County, Tennessee ancestors went to prison!

Probate

The original Sullivan County Will Books are held at the County Courthouse. The earliest records have been lost. TSLA microfilmed Will Books 1-2 (1838-1915) in the 1970s. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Film 972700].

FamilySearch has placed scans of the following records online in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 collection. These are browse-only collections. Handwritten indexes may be found at the front or back of some volumes:

  • Wills, 1830-1915 (3 vols.)
  • Insolvent estate records, 1881-1942
  • Inventories, 1864-1902 (4 vols.)
  • Settlements, 1878-1901 (5 vols.)

The following Sullivan County probate records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1830-1870] Historical Records Project (Tennessee). Will Books, 1830-1870, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Typescript, TSLA, Nashville, Tenn. FHL Collection US/CAN Film 24836 Item 9].
  • [1838-1861] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills and Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL Collection FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s]. [Includes an index to this county's wills.] Free Lookups Available!

Though the original will itself was destroyed in 1863, a copy made in 1829 survives and been published:

Taxation

The original Sullivan County Tax Books, 1877-1895, are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed these records in the 1970s. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Film 972728-972731].

The following Sullivan County tax records, stored in various archives, have been abstracted:[18]

  • [1796] Creekmore, Pollyanna. Early East Tennessee Taxpayers. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1980. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4cp and Silas Emmett Lucas's Revised Index FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4cp index. Includes 1796 tax list.
  • [1796-1797, 1812] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Early Tennessee Tax Lists. Evanston, Ill.: B. & B. Sistler, 1977. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4s. Includes 1796-1797, and 1812 tax lists.
  • [1796-1797, 1812] Mary Barnett Curtis, Early East Tennessee Tax Lists (Fort Worth, Texas: Arrow Printing Company, 1964), FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 R4c]. Includes 1796-1797, and 1812 tax lists.
  • [1796] Bralley, Edgar M. "1796 Sullivan County, Tennessee Tax List," available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb. Source: TSLA Microfilm Reels #8 and #12 Early Tennessee Tax Lists.
Muriel Clark Spoden's abstracts of the 1811 and 1812 tax lists were published in two periodicals. Some users might find the Watauga version easier to use, as the article was not serialized.
  • [1811-1812] Spoden, Muriel Clark. "Sullivan County, Tennessee Tax Lists, 1811-1812," Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 1972):51-62. FHL US/CAN Book 976.897 B2w v. 1. For further access, see Periodicals. [Source: TSLA manuscript.]
  • [1811-1812] Spoden, Muriel Clark. "Sullivan County, Tennessee Tax Lists, 1811-1812," Holston Pastfinder, Vol. 15, No. 57 (Dec. 1996):38-39; Vol. 15, No. 58 (Mar. 1997):38-39; Vol. 15, No. 59 (Jun. 1997):38-39; Vol. 16, No. 60 (Sep. 1997):43-44; Vol. 16, No. 61 (Dec. 1997):40-41. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 975 D25hp no. 56-59 (1996-1997)]; FHL CollectionUS/CAN Book 975 D25hp v. 16 (1997-1998)]; indexed in FHL US/CAN Book 975 D25hp index v. 15-16. For further access, see Periodicals. [Source: TSLA manuscript.]
  • [1814] "Direct Federal Tax-Delinquent Property Owners Listed for 1814," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 43, No. 3(Fall 1996):115-120. For further access, see Periodicals. [Includes Sullivan County.]
  • [1837] Spoden, Muriel M.C. and Pollyanna Creekmore, "Sullivan County, TN Tax List 1837," Holston Pastfinder, Vol. 1, No. 9 (Dec. 1984):27-28; Vol. 1, No. 10 (Mar. 1985):31-34; Vol. 1, No. 11 (Jun. 1985):23-26; Vol. 1, No. 14 (Mar. 1986):35-38; Vol. 1, No. 15 (Jun. 1986):29-32; Vol. 1, No. 16 (Sep. 1986):31-34; Vol. 1, No. 17 (Dec. 1986):25-28. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 975 D25hp no. 6-10 (1984-1985)] ff. For further access, see Periodicals.
  • [1862] Smith, Wilma McGarry. "List of Delinquent Taxpayers from Sullivan County, Tennessee Court Minutes December, 1862," Holston Pastfinder, Vol. 15, Issue 59 (Jun. 1997):37. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 975 D25hp no. 56-59 (1996-1997)]; indexed in FHL US/CAN Book 975 D25hp index v. 15-16. For further access, see Periodicals. [Marked with "Gone to War" or "Dead."]

Vital Records

Birth

The original Sullivan County Birth Register (1881-1882, 1908-1912) is kept at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, the TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Film 972699.

Marriage

Sullivan County's early marriage records have been lost. Surviving records and bonds are kept at the County Courthouse. Volume 1 begins in 1863. They have been microfilmed twice. The second filming took place after the records were reorganized:

  1. Marriage Books 1 to 14 (1863-1953), Marriage Bond Books 1 to 12 (1880-1938). Microfilmed in 1970s and 1980s by the TSLA; FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Films 972684-972686, 1928833-1928839.
  2. Marriage Record Documents 1863-1950; Index. Microfilmed in 1990s by Genealogical Society of Utah. The films are not numbered consecutively in the Family History Library collection; link to FHL Collection title page.

The marriage books found in the Sullivan County Courthouse have been abstracted multiple times. Each editor was selective in the amount of detail he or she published. As guides to lead you back to the original sources, the W.P.A., Simmons, and Hunt all cite volume and page numbers. For ease of use, the W.P.A. and Hunt's publications are superior, as they were published in bound volumes, rather than as a serial article. The following is a list of these publications:

  • [1861-1870] Historical Records Project (W.P.A.). Marriage Records, 1861-1870, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Microfilmed in 1939. FHL Collection US/CAN Film 24836 Item 8]. [Abstracts names of brides, grooms, officiators, dates of marriage and/or license, and citations to the original volume and page numbers.]
  • [1863-1893] Simmons, Dessie L. Marriage Books 1-2-3, Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 1; Vol. 20, No. 2; Vol. 21, No. 1; Vol. 21, No. 2; Vol. 22, No. 1; Vol. 22, No. 2; Vol. 23, No. 1; Vol. 23, No. 2; Vol. 24, No. 1; Vol. 24, No. 2; Vol. 25, No. 1; Vol. 26, No. 1; Vol. 26, No. 2; Vol. 27, No. 1; Vol. 27, No. 2; Vol. 28, No. 1; Vol. 28, No. 2; Vol. 29, No. 1; Vol. 29, No. 2; Vol. 30, No. 1; Vol. 30, No. 2; Vol. 31, No. 1; Vol. 31, No. 2; Vol. 32, No. 1; Vol. 32, No. 2; Vol. 33, No. 1; Vol. 33, No. 2; Vol. 34, No. 1; Vol. 34, No. 2; Vol. 35, No. 1; Vol. 35, No. 2; Vol. 36, No. 1. For FHL availability or to order back issues, see Periodicals. [Abstracts names of brides, grooms, and officiators, dates of license and marriage, and citations to the original volume and page numbers. Includes "colored" marriages.]
  • [1863-1893] Hunt, Shelia Steele. Sullivan County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1863-1893. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 V2h]. [Indexes marriage record books 1, 2, and 3; abstracts names of brides, grooms, dates of marriage or license, and citations to the TSLA microfilm reproductions of the original volume and page numbers.]
  • [1880-1899] Hunt, Shelia Steele. Sullivan County, Tennessee, Marriage Bonds, 1880-1899. Kingsport, Tenn.: S.S. Hunt, 1997. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 V2hs]. [Indexes marriage bond books 1, 2, and 3; abstracts names of brides, grooms, dates of marriage or license, and citations to the TSLA microfilm reproductions of the original volume and page numbers.]

Divorce

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Sullivan County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, see:

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.

Death

The original Sullivan County Deaths Register (1881-1894) is kept at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Film 972699. The earliest death register has been abstracted:

  • Sullivan County Death Records May 1881-June 1882, Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 2. For FHL availability or to order back issues, see Periodicals.

The State of Tennessee officially began recording deaths of residents of Sullivan County in 1908. The following records have been abstracted:

  • [1908-1925] Nikazy, Eddie M. Sullivan County, Tennessee, Death Records [1908-1925]. 2 vols. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1994. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.896 V28n ff.

For deaths of Methodists in Sullivan County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

  • Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, the Nashville Christian Advocate. [1847-1914] 10 vols. [Jackson, Tenn.]: J.K.T. Smith, 1997-2003. FHL Collection US/CAN Books 976.855/N1 V48s 1847-1851 ff; digital versions at David Donahue Memorial: Tennessee Records Repository. [Website expands upon the publications and includes deaths from the 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s.]

Societies, Libraries and Museums

  Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism, Regional History Center
Located directly beside historic Sullivan County Courthouse at Blountville
P.O. Box 3179
3425 Hwy. 126, Suite 100
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: 1-423-323-4660
E-mail: hunt@sullivancounty.org
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Archives houses massive historical and genealogical holdings including original county records, vital records, cemetery abstracts, genealogy library, manuscripts collection, census records, guardianship records, tax records, maps, wills, estate settlements, thousands of surname files, massive Civil War research center, Bible records, chancery records, deeds and land records, artifacts, military collection, Native American records, newspapers, photographs, and more.
Facebook page

Sullivan County Historical and Genealogical Society
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 568, Blountville, TN 37617
Facebook page

East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay St.
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, TN 37901-1629
Phone: 1-865-215-8824
E-mail: eths@east-tennessee-history.org

Kingsport Public Library
400 Broad St.
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: 1-423-229-9465
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 9 a.m.-7:45 p.m.
Thurs.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5:15 p.m.
Sun. 2 -4:30 p.m.
Library holds the Kingsport Community and Municipal Manuscript Collection which includes documents created by various departments in the Kingsport Government as well as city directories, marriage and death indexes, census, maps, newspapers from 1916 to the present and family histories.

Sullivan County Public Library
1655 Blountville Boulevard
P.O. Box 510
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: 1-423-279-2714
Hours: Wed. and Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tues. and Thurs. 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Genealogical resources: Vital, cemetery, census, guardian, immigration, military and Native American records as well as deeds, court minutes, obituaries, tax lists and wills. Also, several resources are available on CD-ROM. See website for further information on holdings.

Charles C. Sherrod Library, East Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 70665
Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: Information desk 1-423-439-4307
Hours vary depending on the time of year because of school sessions. See website for hours.
The Sherrod Library has genealogical information concerning the East Tennessee Region.

Family History Centers

100 Cannongate Rd.
Kingsport, TN
Phone: 1-423-245-2321

This is not a mailing address. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Websites

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: Sullivan County, Tennessee

References

  1. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey (W.P.A.), 1941; "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Sullivan County, Tennessee page 644, {WorldCat|50140092|disp=At various libr40ries (WorldCat)}}; FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  4. List_of_Tennessee_county_name_etymologies
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 644. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  6. Voice of Betty Jane Hylton, County Co-coordinator, Washington County, Tennessee TNGenWeb; Editor, Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (2010).
  7. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  8. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  9. Leroy W. Tilton, "Will of Col. David Looney of Sullivan County, Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Mar. 1946):25.
  10. Arlene Eakle, "Reconstructing the 1790 Census of Tennessee," Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Genealogy Blog, 20 May 2010.
  11. Arlene Eakle, "Territory Southwest of the River Ohio," Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Genealogy Blog, 5 June 2009.
  12. Mary Barnett Curtis, WorldCat 1136652 Early East Tennessee Tax Lists: a compiled list of residents of the area covered in 22 east Tennessee counties for which there is (sic) no census records prior to 1830] (Fort Worth, Texas: Arrow Printing, 1964) [FHL 976.8 R4c].
  13. Kenneth Scott. British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979, 372-378 (see East Tennessee). FHL US/CAN 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  14. J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  15. Scott C. Cole, 34th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1993). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 94.
  16. "Tennessee Civil War Battle Blountsville American Civil War," American Civil War website.
  17. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 7 August 2012)
  18. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.