Unicoi County, Tennessee Genealogy
East Tennessee county established in 1875. From 1784 to 1788, this land was claimed by the abortive, short-lived State of Franklin.
- 1 Quick Dates
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Web Sites
- 8 References
Unicoi County's civil records start the following years:
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).
Unicoi County Courthouse
100 Main Street
Erwin, TN 37650
Unicoi County Clerk
Birth, marriage and probate records
P.O. Box 340
100 Main Street, Suite 100
Erwin, TN 37650
Unicoi County Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 305
Unicoi County Courthouse,Suite 202
Attn: Register of Deeds
100 Main Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650
Unicoi County Circuit Court Clerk
P.O. Box 2000
Erwin, TN 37650
Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 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.
- Lost census: 1890
- County records are complete
|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|
The following have information concerning African American research. Both should be used:
- African American Research (US) has more information about the kinds of records
- African American Research for Tennessee is specific for Tennessee
- 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.)
1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Unicoi 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.
- 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, 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 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.
- 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.
- [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.
It is anticipated that 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.
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.]
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:
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:
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.
The following Unicoi County tax records have been abstracted:
-  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.]
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.
The following Unicoi County marriage records have been abstracted:
- [1876-1904] Padgett, Hilda Britt. Unicoi County, Tennessee Marriages, 1876-1904. [Erwin, Tenn.]: H.B. Padgett, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 V2p.
- [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:
- 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 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s.]
Societies and Libraries
The Unicoi County Historical Society
405 Ohio Avenue
Erwin, Tennessee 37650
Located at Unicoi County Public Library
Watauga Association of Genealogists
Upper East Tennessee
P.O. Box 117
Johnson City, Tennessee 37605-0117
Publications: The Bulletin (May and October)
East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay Street
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-1629
Unicoi County Public Library
201 Nolichucky Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650-1239
Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 11 am - 3 pm
- Family History Library Catalog (FamilySearch)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: TNUNICOI-L (Unicoi County, Tennessee List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: ETN-L (East Tennessee List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: ETN-OZ-L (East Tennessee Migrants to Ozarks Region List)
- RootsWeb 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 Forum (GenForum)
- Unicoi County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- 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.
- "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002), 644.
- Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1966), 46.
- The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.