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The Evolution Of Virginia County Boundaries

by Ted Gose, December '99

In order to make sense of the birth, land acquisition, and death locations for our ancestors, it is necessary to understand how the various state counties were formed and when. For southwestern Virginia where most of our Gose ancestors settled beginning in the late 1700s, we at first find a few very large counties being further subdivided into smaller counties as the years pass and settlement populations increased.


For example, Russell County was formed from parts of Washington County, Botetourt, and Fincastle Counties in 1786. Russell County was initially a very large county extending north from Clinch Mountain to the Cumberland Gap on the present day Kentucky border and east to near the present day town of Bluefield, Virginia.


In 1793, Lee County was formed from a part of Russell County and in 1799, Tazewell County was formed from yet another part of Russell County. In 1815, Scott County was formed from a part of Russell County and Lee County. In 1855 Wise County was formed from part of Russell County and in 1858 Buchanan County was formed from still another part of Russell County. In 1860, Dickenson County was formed from part of Wise and Buchanan Counties.

In 1789, Wythe County was formed from the western half of Montgomery County and extended from the southern border of Virginia all the way to what was to become the Kentucky border. In 1792, Grayson County was formed from a southern section of Wythe County.

So from the above, you can see that a person could have been born in Russell or Wythe County and died in Tazewell or Grayson County without having ever moved. This, in fact, was the case with many of our Gose ancestors.

If you would like to view web pages with maps showing the Virginia county boundary changes from 1634 to the present . . .

. . click here ð   Virginia County Boundary Changes


Good places to find out more about the history of the various counties along with some good sources of genealogical research data, are the US GenWeb Project sites for each of the counties. The Cyndi’s List website contains a Genealogy Links Page that contains links to Virginia genealogy information. Approximately ¾ of the way down this page, under the US GenWeb Project heading, you will find a table with all of the Virginia counties listed. Clicking on the county name will link you to the US GenWeb Project web site for that Virginia county in which you are interested.

Cyndi's List link toVirginia Research Sources

For your convenience, we have also posted below, a few direct links to some of the Virginia county sites for which you are most likely to be interested in viewing if you are researching Gose ancestry. Other genealogy links relevant to Gose ancestry research are posted in the previous "LINKS" section of this website.

Selected Virginia County Links:     (This is the bottom of the "Evolution Of Virginia Counties" Page)


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