Unicoi County, Tennessee Genealogy
Unicoi County, Tennessee ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Guide to Unicoi County (established 1875) 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.
|Unicoi County, Tennessee|
Location in the state of Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
|Founded:||March 23, 1875|
- 1 Quick Dates
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Getting Started
- 5.2 Research Guides
- 5.3 African American
- 5.4 Cemeteries
- 5.5 Census
- 5.6 Church
- 5.7 Court
- 5.8 DNA
- 5.9 Family Histories
- 5.10 Land
- 5.11 Local Histories
- 5.12 Maps
- 5.13 Military
- 5.14 Newspapers
- 5.15 Obituaries
- 5.16 Periodicals
- 5.17 Probate Records
- 5.18 Taxation
- 5.19 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Unicoi County Tennessee Genealogy Websites
- 8 Unicoi County Tennessee Genealogy References
Unicoi County's civil records start the following years:
Unicoi County Courthouse
100 Main St.
Erwin, TN 37650
Many historic records are currently being rehoused and prepared for public usage. They will be available in the fall of 2011. The Register of Deeds is currently open (July 26, 2010).
County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1875.
Clerk Circuit Court and Chancery Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1875. 
Unicoi County Clerk
Birth, marriage and probate records
P.O. Box 340
100 Main St., Suite 100
Erwin, TN 37650
Phone: 1- 423-743-3381
Unicoi County Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 305
Unicoi County Courthouse,Suite 202
Attn: Register of Deeds
100 Main Ave.
Erwin, TN 37650
Unicoi County Circuit Court Clerk
P.O. Box 2000
Erwin, TN 37650
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-noon (County Clerk)
In August 1784 delegates from Washington County (including land that eventually became Unicoi County) and other western North Carolina counties which had split off from Washington County (all now in Tennessee), declared their Independence from North Carolina because of perceived neglect, and misuse by North Carolina’s legislature. By May 1785 they petitioned to be admitted to the United States as the new State of Franklin. The Franklin statehood request was denied. By 1789 the hopes for a State of Franklin faded. North Carolina became a state in 1789 and ceded her westernmost counties to the United States. The ceded counties, including most of Washington County (and eventually Unicoi), became the Southwest Territory. In 1796 the Southwest Territory was admitted to the United States as the new State of Tennessee.
For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
|Briggs (hist.)||Erwin||Limestone Cove||Rock Creek|
|Brownlow (hist.)||Fordville (hist.)||Loganton (hist.)||Rocky Fork|
|Bumpus Cove||Flag Pond||Love Station||Shallowford|
|Chestoa||Harris Mill||Marbleton||Unaka Springs|
|Clearbranch||Hulan Hollow||Pleasant Garden||Unicoi|
|Coffee Ridge||Indian Creek (hist.)||Rice Bend||Woodby Hill|
|Davis Springs||Kittyton (hist.)||River Hill|| |
Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Unicoi County biography and cemetery 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.
- Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties: Unicoi County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.|
Additional Cemetery Resources
- Tennessee Cemeteries - Hometown Locator
|Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.|
See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.
1810 - 1891
- Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee 1880 Census. Erwin, Tenn.: H.B. Padgett, 1995. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2p 1880.
- Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census, Unicoi County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler & Associates, 1996. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2s 1880.
1890 Lost 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 US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 7 1891. Unicoi 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 US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.
1891 Male Voters
- Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee 1900 Census. Erwin, Tenn.: H.B. Padgett, 1995. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2p 1900.
- Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee 1910 Census. Erwin, Tenn.: H.B. Padgett, 1995. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2p 1910.
- Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee 1920 Census. Erwin, Tenn.: H. Padgett, 1996. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2p 1920.
- Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee 1930 Census. (n.p.: n.p.), 2002. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 X2p 1930.
Many of your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence, occupations, and other family history information.
- Circuit Court: Court minutes of Unicoi County, 1876-1890, FHL film 972733.
- County Court: Court minutes, 1875-1905, FHL films 972736 and 972737.
- Chancery Court: Court minutes, v. 1-2, 1876-1908, FHL film 972732.
- Tennessee Supreme Court Cases at TSLA
- Vinson - Descendant of Vinson family, migrated from Russell Co., VA to Unicoi Co., TN at the turn of twentieth century. Y-DNA 12 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 23453). Genetic signature available online (labelled V-2 in Haplogroup J), courtesy: The Vinson DNA Project, World Families Network.
This bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:
- Locate publications about direct ancestors
- Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
- Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club"([Friends, Associates, and Neighbors)
- Hensley, Benny E. Beneath the Oaks at the Foot of Meadow Creek Mountain, Oak Hill, Parrottsville, TN. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8895 D2h.
- Beckelhimer - Kerns, Gloria Lambert and Diane Sims. Beckelhimer: Family Records. FHL US/CAN Access Services Window 2243264 Item 1.
- Moore - Fobes, Lawrence G. Moore. 1976?. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 M781f.
- Tilson - Bicentennial Register of The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the District of Columbia, 1978. Washington, D.C., 1976.
- Tilson - Alderman, Pat. Tilson Grist Mill, Mountain Folklore Genealogy. Johnson City, Tenn.: The Overmountain Press, 1981. FHL Book 929.273 T469a.
The original Unicoi County Deed Books are held at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed Deed Books 1-7 (1876-1903), Trust Deed Book 1 (1876-1899), and Index to Deeds and Mortgages (1876-1920). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 972739-972744.
War of 1812
- Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul. 1961):95-98. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Unicoi County pensioners (p. 97.)
- 1861-1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1891-1965 - Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891-1965 at FamilySearch — images
- Civil War Research Database $
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Unicoi County:
- Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications: Unicoi County. Includes soldier's name, county, pension #, unit or widow.
- United States Pension Bureau, List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883: Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for... (Washington Printing Office; 1883). Online at Internet Archive. Unicoi County, page 379-380.
Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the 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 Unicoi County click on the following town:
Obituaries may mention birth, marriage, spouse, parents, and living family members. Obituaries for residents may be found in:
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 Unicoi 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 US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.
- East Tennessee Roots
- Genealogical articles with abstracts of Unicoi 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 US/CAN Book 976.8 D25e.
- Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin
- Genealogical articles with abstracts of Unicoi 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 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.
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, 1876-1947
- Wills, 1947-1963, Vol. 2
- Bonds, 1876-1937, Vol. 1
- Bonds, 1837-1957, Vol. 2
The following Unicoi County tax records have been abstracted:
- 1798 - 1798 Tax List, Carter County, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 9, No. 4. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. Includes digital images of the original source; covers area that later became Unicoi County.
When the Social Security Administration was created in 1935, the agency asked for birth certificates as proof the applicant qualified for entry into the program. Most Tennesseans who wished to apply were born prior to the 1908 state law that first required the issuing of birth certificates. Beginning in 1935, Tennessee began to issue Delayed Birth Certificates thru an application process that required supporting documents.
Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the 1869-1909 delayed birth records of Tennessee. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page are free to search at TSLA on Ancestry - indexes are free, images require subscription.
The original Unicoi County Marriage Books are kept at the County Courthouse and TSLA. In the 1970s and 1980s, the TSLA microfilmed Marriage Books 1 to 16 (1876-1955). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 972735, 1928855-1928860.
State Marriage Records
The following Unicoi County marriage records have been indexed:
- 1876-1895 - Unicoi County Marriage Index 1876-1895 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch.org - free. Batches M519761 and M519762.
- 1876-1904 - Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee Marriages, 1876-1904. Erwin, Tenn.: H.B. Padgett, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 V2p.
In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Unicoi County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, see the following resources:
- W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.
- 1908-1936 - Nikazy, Eddie M. Unicoi County, Tennessee Death Record Abstracts 1908-1936. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1997. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 V28n.
For deaths of Methodists in Unicoi County (or what later became Unicoi County) between the 1830s and the 1920s, try searching the following records:
- 1847-1914 - 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 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 1830's, 1840's, 1910's and 1920's.
Societies and Libraries
Watauga Association of Genealogists
Upper East Tennessee
P.O. Box 117
Johnson City, TN 37605-0117
Publications: The Bulletin (May and October)
East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay St.
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, TN 37901-1629
Unicoi County Public Library
201 Nolichucky Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650-1239
Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Family History Centers
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
Unicoi County Tennessee Genealogy Websites
- FamilySearch Catalog (FamilySearch) — The catalog is genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) This catalog is different than the indexed Historical Records.
- Mailing List: TNUNICOI-L (Unicoi County, Tennessee List)
- Mailing List: ETN-L (East Tennessee List)
- Mailing List: ETN-OZ-L (East Tennessee Migrants to Ozarks Region List)
- Mailing List: FRANKLIN-STATE-L (State of Franklin 1784-1788 List)
- Unicoi County, TN Family History and Genealogy Message Board (Ancestry)
- Unicoi County, TN Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Unicoi County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- Unicoi County TN Genealogy (LDS Genealogy)
Unicoi County Tennessee Genealogy References
- 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.
- Telephone conversation with Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch, July 26, 2010.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Unicoi County, Tennessee page 644, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
- "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 644. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
- The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
- Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/64/Igitennessees.pdf.