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Smyth County Virginia
Smyth County was formed in 1832 from portions of Washington and Wythe counties. The county's name honored Alexander Smyth, a former congressman from Virginia who had died in 1830 while seeking to create the new county. The earliest settlement of the region dates from 1745.
The county's records are virtually complete, despite Federal forces having set fire to the wagon transporting them to safety in 1864. The fire was extinguished by a neighbor, Elizabeth Catherine Killinger, and returned to the courthouse. Another small fire of an unknown date destroyed a few court records.
For a better understanding of county boundary changes, see our new section Virginia in Maps
SMYTH CO. VA PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX LISTS, 1832-1837, 1839-1849, 1852-1853, 1855, 1857, 1859, 1861, 1863
Abstracted, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett and Donald Helton. 2014. iv, 323 pages, complete name index. 8x10, paperback.
From the author's preface:
I believe the county to be unique among counties in the commonwealth in that it received a hearty number of New England and New York settlers – a group perhaps second only to the very numerous PA settlers – primarily of German origin with occasional elements of Swiss-German, but also very likely English, Scottish and a few Ulsterite (Scots-Irish) settlers also from PA. A few examples of this can be found in the histories of such families as the Coles and Wheelers from New England, the Bishops and Sherwoods (the latter family via New Brunswick, CA) from NY (and just across the line in WCV, the Aylesworths (Rhode Island to Saratoga, NY to WCV), Dentons (NY), and Thompsons (stonemasons from CT). The county also harbored a number of persons from MD (such as the Talbot [Talbert], Smallwood, Vermillion, Smallwood, and Poston families [and right across the line in WCV, the McNew, Cawood and Athey families], as well as “Delaware Swedish ” (Stalcop/Stolcup). Some German speaking persons might have come via NC such as the Swiss Billetor/Billeter family (Stokes Co NC). But, of course, it was the PA settlers that, by far, dominated the ranks of the early settlers of the county. This likely put the “Eastern Virginia English” into a quite small minority although some few families from the VA Piedmont did appear in early times, such as the Harris, Thompson, and McGhee families (Louisa Co), the Crenshaw family (Amelia, Nottoway Co – originally in St. Martin’s Parish, Hanover Co), and the Ferguson and Lee families (both from Buckingham Co.). In my opinion, the early migration to Smyth Co VA indicates a heavy preponderance of settlers from North of VA, with PA dominance and a unique and fairly sizeable New England and other Middle Atlantic contingents.
In summary, the county was heavily German and Swiss German with a healthy dash of Scottish and some few “Eastern Virginia English” having crossed through the water gaps to join the principally Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and New England early settlers to the county.
SMYTH CO. VA 1890 PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX LISTS
Abstracted, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett and Donald Helton. 2011. ii, 44 pages, complete name index. 8x10, paperback. The loss of the 1890 census
has made for some difficulties for the genealogist. The 1890 Personal Property Tax Lists are extant and they are an excellent source of information and supplement
to the missing 1890 census
SELECTED DEATH RECORDS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIANS WHO DIED IN MISSOURI (OR WERE RELATED TO THOSE WHO DIED IN MISSOURI (with additions from Iowa and Sullivan County/East Tennessee)
Researched by Thomas Jack Hockett; Abstracted & compiled by by Donald W. Helton. iv,220pp., every-name index (8.25" x 10.75" paperback). These deaths are taken from a variety of sources and methods employed, including "hunt and seek", census, on-line sources at Rootsweb, Ancestry, IGI, Family Genealogy Forums, censuses, etc. and the very valuable Missouri Death Certificates 1912-1958 which are generously available online. These deaths of mid and extreme SW VA people in MO during the subject time likely represent only a fraction of the deaths which could be ferreted out with difficulty employing 2-4 sources (in conjunction) in conjunction. The work represents considerable labor (not to mention eye-strain) and it is hoped it will bolster further the efforts to document the migration of SW VA persons”.
During the process of abstracting and compiling the death records listed herein, instances of conflict occurred between the certificate and additional information found on-line. The information is entered as found. Any such conflicts are left to the discretion of the reader to reconcile.
Table of contents
Missouri Deaths from
Washington County       1
Wythe Co., Va      43
Russell Co., Va      56
Grayson/Carroll Cos., VA       80
Smyth Co., Va      85
Tazewell Co., Va      101
Lee Co., Va      118
Scott Co., Va      138
Dickenson Co., Va      151
Buchanan Co., Va      154
Miscellaneous Deaths from southwest Va.      181
Iowa Deaths from Southwest Virginia      193
Alphabetical Index      202
SMYTH CO. VA. SELECTED DEATH RECORDS & MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS (ANNOTATED), 1853-1939
Researched and abstracted by Thomas Jack Hockett; compiled by Donald Helton. iv,204pp., every-name index (8.25" x 10.75" paperback). The author has gathered together more than four thousand death records from Smyth and surrounding counties (Grayson, Wythe, Mercer). The majority of the records carry annotations drawn from a myriad of sources.
The volume also contains the records of Smyth Countians who died in Mercer County, WV, as well as some Smyth County Migrations (3) and a listing of miscellaneous Smyth County Birth Records. This is an important resource for researchers working in the southwest Virginia area.
THE ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS OF RICHARD COMER (1763-1844)
by Kathryn B. Greever, Richard Kreiss, and Dee Miller. 2007) iv, 389 pages, all name index. 8x10, paperback. Richard Comer, born in York County, Pennsylvania 1763, was one of the early settlers in southwest Virginia. He died in Smyth Co., Virginia in 1844. The authors have completed a seven-year genealogical search on the male descendants of this pioneer, and a second volume on the female lines is planned. The current volume answers many of the difficult questions on this family line, and its index include more than 13,000 persons who are related either by descent or marriage.
SMYTH CO. VA MARRIAGES, 1851-1891 & SMYTH CO, VA 1860 CENSUS
Transcribed, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett & Shelia Steele Hunt. 2007) viii, 213 pages, separate surname indices. 8x10, paperback. A thorough and meticulous transcription. The census is carefully done from difficult-to-read pencilled census records.
SMYTH CO. VA MARRIAGES, 1892-1905 & SMYTH CO, VA MARRIAGES, 1906-1915 OF PERSONS WHOSE BIRTHS OR PLACES OF RESIDENCE WERE LISTED AS WASHINGTON OR RUSSELL COUNTIES, VIRGINIA
Transcribed, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett & Shelia Steele Hunt. 2000 (reprinted and reformatted, 2007) vi, 188 pages, bride cross-reference index. 8x10, paperback. Includes names of groom & bride, ages, marital status, parents of each, birthplaces, groom's occupation, date of marriages, person performing the ceremony, and place of marriage where given. A thorough and meticulous transcription, with copious annotations added..
1880 CENSUS OF SMYTH CO. VA
Transcribed, annotated and edited by Jack Hockett & Shelia Steele Hunt. 2007 vi, 99 pages, every-name surname index. 8x10, paperback. The second census following the Civil War, this census presents significant and detailed information on every member of the household. A thorough and meticulous transcription taken from microfilms [Population Schedules of the Tenth Census of the United States].
SMYTH CO. VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 1, APR.1832-AUG.1836
Thomas & Jane Ann Colley. 2004, ii, 219 pages, index. One can locate considerable information on the county’s history and genealogy by referencing its deed books, containing not only deeds
(Indentures of Bargain & Sale) but relinquishment of dower, powers of attorney and Deeds of Gift, Deeds of Trust, etc. This includes the all-important location of female surnames
and also valuable clues to the misconstrued and translated (Anglicized) German and Swiss German names. This is the first deed book for this new county, and the index will list many of the early settlers in the region as well as the influx of new landowners.
A very valuable addition to southwestern Virginia history.
SMYTH COUNTY MARRIAGES, 1832-1850
John Vogt & T. William Kethley, Jr. 1984, viii, 89 pages, indices, figure, map. A total of 831 marriage records
are abstracted in this volume and they are taken from the county clerk's register. Accompanying data includes
minister's name, date of marriage and/or return to clerk.
Smyth Co. 1815 Directory of Landowners
by Roger G. Ward. 2005. 12 pages, map, 5 1/2X8 1/2.
For a full description of the 1815 LAND DIRECTORY Records and a listing of available counties, see:
Individual County Booklets, 1815 Directory of Virginia Landowners
For more records pertaining to SMYTH COUNTY, VIRGINIA see also:
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