Wise County, Virginia Genealogy

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Wise County, Virginia
Boundary map of Wise County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Wise County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Location of Virginia in the U.S.
Founded 1856
County Seat Wise
United States  Gotoarrow.png  Virginia  Gotoarrow.png  Wise County 
Southwest Virginia county.

County Courthouse

Wise County Courthouse
206 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1248
Room 245
Wise, VA 24293

Circuit Clerk has marriage and div records

from 1856

Probate and Land Records


Gov. Henry A. Wise (1806-1876)

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.[1]

Parent County

1856--Wise County was created 16 February 1856 from Lee, Russell, and Scott Counties.
County seat: Wise [2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

  • Lost census: 1890


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties



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


  • 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.


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

Historical populations
Census Pop.

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



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.


More than 25 genealogies have been published about Wise County families. To view a list, visit Wise County, Virginia Genealogy.


Local Histories

  • 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 ($).



War of 1812
  • 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

Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865

Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers 1861-1865

Virginia, The Civil War in Wise County, Virginia: 1861-1865. Wise, VA: Wise County Historical Society, 2004. WorldCat page.

  • Gobble, Lillian and Rhonda Robertson. Between Brothers: Civil War Soldiers of Wise & Dickenson County [Virginia]. [Big Stone Gap, Va.: L. Gobble & R. Robertson, 200-?]. FHL Collection


Virginia Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1929

Private Papers

Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007

Research Guides

  • "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Wise County," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1980):204-206. Available at New England Ancestors ($).


How can Virginia tax lists help me?

Vital Records

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 - free. See also How to order Virginia Vital Records


  • Wise Co., Va., Births, 1867-1871, MSS., James Taylor Adams Collection, Box 68. St. Louis, Mo.: R.R. Seibel and D.A. Griffith, 1971. Microfilmed reproduction: FHL Collection


  • Kilgore, Paul and Fred Harry King Funeral Home. Death Records, Fred H. King Funeral Home, 1927-1935. Wise, Va.: Wise County Historical Society (Va.), [1999?]. FHL Collection
  • Robertson, Rhonda. The Wise County, Virginia Death Register 1856-1894. [Wise, Virginia]: Wise County Historical Society (VA), [200-?]. FHL Collection

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers


Hands on keyboard.png Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in Fun Five Minute Genealogy Videos.


  1. "Henry A. Wise," in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wise, accessed 13 January 2012.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
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