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Rockingham County, Virginia
Genealogy, History & Facts

Rockingham County, Virginia Facts

When was Rockingham County, VA Created?
Rockingham County was established on January 12, 1778 from Augusta County . This county was named for Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, British Prime Minister .

What is the County Seat of Rockingham County, VA?
The County Seat is located in Harrisonburg also, the county government website is .

What counties are adjacent to Rockingham County, VA?
Bordering Counties are Pendleton County, West Virginia (west), Hardy County, West Virginia (north), Shenandoah County (northeast), Page County (east), Greene County (southeast), Albemarle County (southeast), Augusta County (southwest).

What cities and towns are in Rockingham County, VA?
Cities and towns located in Rockingham County include Bridgewater, Broadway, Clover Hill, Cootes' Store, Cross Keys, Dayton, Edom, Elkton, Grottoes, Harrisonburg, Keezletown, Lacey Spring, Linville, McGaheysville, Mt. Clinton, Mt. Crawford, Newhaven, Ottobine, Port Republic, River Bank, Rushville, Singers Glen, Sparta (Mauzy), Spring Creek, Stemphleytown, Timberville, Turleytown .

Rockingham County, VA Vital Records

Where can find Rockingham County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Rockingham County vital records can be found at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Vital Records which has Birth and Death Records since June 14, 1912 and copies of Marriage and Divorce Records since 1918 to present. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Virginia for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Rockingham County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also order Order Electronically Online or you can download an application for copies of Rockingham Co. Virginia Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

The Archives Division has copies of surviving birth and death records for the period 1853 to 1896 and marriage records prior to 1936. Another resource is the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Health Department, 110 North Mason Street, P.O. Box 26, Harrisonburg, VA 22801; (540) 574-5100

Rockingham County, VA Census Records

What Rockingham County, VA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Rockingham County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1790 (destroyed), 1800 (destroyed), 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Rockingham Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Rockingham Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Rockingham Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. The Slave Schedules exist for 1850 & 1860. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also Virginia Census Records Research Guide

Rockingham County, VA Courthouse and Government Records

Rockingham County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Rockingham County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Rockingham County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. See Also Virginia Corthouse Records Research Guide.

The first building to function as a courthouse is thought to have been a log building on the Daniel Smith estate about two miles northeast of Harrisonburg. Daniel Smith was married to a daughter of Robert Harrison, and it is possible that the first courthouse had been built as a building for Harrison. The initial meeting at Smith’s, near where “Smithland” still stands, took place April 27, 1778. The original log courthouse on the square was still used for several years, but in 1799 the court ordered that the old structure be sold at auction and removed from courthouse square.

Ten years later, in 1791, a second courthouse was built on Court Square. The first courthouse had apparently been damaged by fire because records indicate that it was “unfit for business.” The justices decided to repair the damage and court was held temporarily in the home of Andrew Shanklin.

The second court building was located near the middle of the square but on the north side of Market Street “near the Maypole.” It was a two-story structure, 26 by 32 feet, built of stone by Brewer Reeves, a tavern keeper in Harrisonburg. By January 1833, Jacob Rush, David Henton, John Kenney, and Peachy Harrison, commissioners, advertised the old courthouse for sale. It was scheduled to be sold to the highest bidder on regular Court Day, the third Monday in January. The buyer had to remove the structure by March 15th to have the square cleared for the contractors who would begin construction of a new courthouse.

The third courthouse was built 1833–1834 for about $4,000. In 1832 the second courthouse was so rundown that it was seen as unsafe. The court decided to replace it with a 40 by 50 foot “plain, neat, brick building.”

By 1873 the third courthouse had become so dilapidated it was viewed as being unsafe. Judge James Kenney ordered that court proceedings should be temporarily moved to the Federal Court-house. This fourth courthouse, also of brick, cost $11,450.

By March 1896, slightly less than 20 years after its construction, the fourth courthouse was in need of replacement. The Clerk’s Office was moved temporarily to the town council building on the west side of Court Square and other offices were moved to nearby buildings. Court sessions were held in the new Federal Courthouse that had been erected at the corner of North Main and Elizabeth streets.

The fifth and current courthouse building was built 1896–97 for $96,826.24. It underwent a major renovation costing $93,000 in 1931 and another update, including the addition of new windows and air-conditioning, in the 1990s.

  • Rockingham County Clerk of Circuit Court serves as custodian of all county court records, and is responsible for providing access to those court records by court personnel, the legal community and the public.
    • Address: 80 Court Square, Courthouse, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
    • Phone: (540) 564-3111
    • Marriage Records: 1778 
    • Land Records: 1778
    • Court Records: 1778
    • Probate Records: 1778
  • Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850
  • Using County and City Court Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia
  • County and City Research in Virginia Guides and Indexes - County and city records document the daily activities of the courts in Virginia's counties, independent cities, and towns. The Library of Virginia houses both original and microfilm records for many of Virginia's counties and independent cities. The guides list will help researchers navigate the complex variety of county and city records in the Library's collections. It includes County and City Records at the Library of Virginia, Using County and City Court Records, Chancery Cases, Judgments, Lost Records Localities database and Burned Jurisdiction database.
  • Virginia County Records, Volume, VI, VII , IX, X - The records in these series were compiled as part of a series known as the Virginia County Records . The volume includes wills, land grants, and marriage bonds as well as other miscellaneous information on early Virginia settlers.
  • BLM Land Records

Rockingham County, VA Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Rockingham County, VA?
A list of Rockingham County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Virginia Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other Rockingham County, VA Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Rockingham County, VA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Rockingham County. A lot of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Commercial Sites, Personal Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some call for a fee. This is just a listing which has been compiled or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site above another.

Rockingham Co. VA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Rockingham Co. VA Church / Bible Records & Cemeteries / Graveyards

Rockingham Co. VA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Rockingham Co. VA General and History Websites

Rockingham Co. VA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Rockingham Co. VA Military Records

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