Surry County, Virginia
Genealogy and Facts

Surry County was founded on 1652 from James City County. This county was named for Surrey, United Kingdom.

The Surry County Seat is located in Surry also, the county government website is www.surrycountyva.gov/ .

Areas bordering to Surry County are Charles City County (northwest), James City County (northeast), Isle of Wight County (southeast), Southampton County (south), Sussex County (southwest), Prince George County (west).

Cities and towns located in Surry County include Claremont, Dendron, Surry, Bacon's Castle, Cabin Point, Scotland and Spring Grove .

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

Surry County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1790 (destroyed), 1800 (destroyed), 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Surry Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Surry Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Surry 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.

Surry County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Surry County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Surry County Courthouse and Government Records


Surry County Courthouse

Genealogist frequently forget the value of Surry County court, probate, and land documents as a resource of genealogy and family history information. Hidden away in Virginia courthouses and archives everywhere are often the aspirations and worries of countless Virginia residents.

The possibilities are great that your ancestors and forefathers have left a detailed record of at least a few elements of their lives in the Surry County court records. Even if your forebears is not mentioned in a Court case, give some thought to all of the other methods that could have lead to him or her appearing in court records.

Surry County has had nine courthouses since 1652. At least four of these burned. Enemy troops came through the county, camped and burned in both the Revolutionary war and the Civil War. The county suffered shelling in the War of 1812. Despite all this, the county still has its records. 

  • In 1652 the county of Surry was formed and the county court started. The first courthouse was established at Wareneck or Southwarke, close to Underwood's mill.
  • From  1707-1710 A new courthouse was built at Wareneck. 20,000 pounds of tobacco was paid Francis Clements to build the courthouse in November, 1707 and 20,000 pounds of tobacco was paid Nathaniel Harrison to finish the courthouse in 1710.
  • In 1728 Surry county's courthouse was moved to the land of Howell Edmonds near Shingleton Plantation, south of the Blackwater River near present day Route 40, now in Sussex County. This was near the center of the population of Surry County at that time, which then extended to the North Carolina line. While some records state that it was near Littleton, this is incorrect.
  • In  1754 As the result of Sussex County being split from Surry, the courthouse was moved back closer to the James River. It was built on the land of William Clinch called "Troopers." It was a wooden building.
  • In  1765 The wooden courthouse at Troopers burned. It was replaced with a new brick courthouse on the same site.
  • In  1787 The brick courthouse at Troopers burned. The records are silent as to where the court was held until April 25, 1797, when it first met in the new courthouse at Macintosh's Crossroads, now the town of Surry, Virginia. It was a one story brick courthouse, facing west, built on land given to the county by Robert Macintosh. He owned the ordinary and served as contractor of the new courthouse. 1795 Legislative Petition asking permission to build the new courthouse.
  • From  1825-1826 The brick Clerk's Office across the lawn from the courthouse was built by John Hopkins for $979.00, the low bid. It was accepted by the county in May, 1826. For the first time in its 174 year history, Surry County had a permanent home for its records. Before this, records had been kept at home by the Clerk of Court.
  • From 1864-1865 - As the Civil War progressed, our records were moved from the Clerk's Office and hidden by the clerk of court. By 1864 Union troops ranged freely through Surry County. The courthouse was abandoned until the Civil War was over. Court, however, continued to be held. Beginning on 2 August 1864, court was held at the Parish House. By 28 March 1865, court was moved to Moore's Swamp Meeting House. On 25 September 1865, the war being over, court was moved back to our court house. Our records were all saved, as shown in a 1869 inventory written into our court records.
  • In  1895 With the growth of Dendron and Claremont, the 1797 courthouse was insufficient to handle the county's business. The old courthouse was torn down and a new Victorian courthouse was built to replace it. It had the first fireproof vault for safekeeping of the county's valuable records.
  • In  1906. The Victorian courthouse burned. It was replaced with a classical two story courthouse in 1907. It was similar to the present courthouse, but with a large cupola on its roof. Our records were saved.
  • In  1922. The courthouse burned again, and was replaced with a similar structure. Again the county's records were saved. This building is being used today.

The following indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Surry county.  The dates indicated below are the first known records for each county. Has lost deeds for 1835-1838 and order books for 1718-1741 and various other early record books are fragmentary. Court house fires in 1906 and 1922 did not result in loss of records which were then housed in a separate clerk's office.

Please make sure to get in touch with the clerk's department to determine hours, mailing address, fees and other particulars in advance of visiting or requesting information because of many times changing contact information. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The files are readily available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. The majority of staff will guide individuals in obtaining the materials, however it's up to the individual to perform the research.
  • Surry 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: 28 Colonial Trail, East, Surry, VA 23883
    • Phone: (757) 294-3161
    • Marriage Records: 1768 
    • Land Records: 1645
    • Court Records: 1652
    • Probate Records: 1645
  • Surry Health Department, 474 Colonial Trail West, Surry, Virginia 23883, Telephone: (757) 294-3185
  • County and City Research in Virginia Guides and Indexes (lva.virginia.gov) 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.

Surry County Links

The following are web links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources related to Surry 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. Feel free to provide your own favorite Surry County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Surry Co. VA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Surry Co. VA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Surry Co. VA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Surry Co. VA Census Records

Surry Co. VA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Surry Co. VA Church & Bible Records

Surry Co. VA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Surry Co. VA General and History Websites

Surry Co. VA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Surry Co. VA Military Records

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