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North Carolina Genealogy

One of the great things about looking into North Carolina genealogy is that most government documents are relatively easy to access. Most will go back to around 1913 when the state began requiring registrations for births and deaths.

North Carolina Vital Records

If you are looking for vital records (births, deaths and marriages), then the Vital Records office will be able to help you back to 1913 only for birth records. Death records begin in 1930 and marriage records in 1961. Individual county clerk offices can have their own archives before that, and can sometimes provide documents as far back as the late 1700s. You can also check the State Archives for older records (more on that below).

Getting a copy of any vital record from the government office is simple, though not free. You will have the option of ordering a certified or a non-certified copy. Certified copies are legal pieces of ID and will only be issued to close relatives of the person on the record. But anyone can order a non-certified copy regardless of who you are. This is ideal for North Carolina genealogy studies.

Whichever one you want, you can send in the application forms to the Vital Records office, which is part of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Their website has the forms to download. Once completed, mail them to the Vital Records office in Raleigh. If you are in the area, you can also drop your papers off in person for quicker service. In person, you usually get your records back same-day, though the cost is more. Mailed requests can take up to 3 months to be processed.

As mentioned, there are fees attached to this service you need to know about. Each record will cost $24 each, and if you can't wait 3 months then you can add $15 for rush service. This rush fee will also be applied if you go to the service counter for walk-in service.

North Carolina State Archives

If you are in Raleigh and need more North Carolina genealogy documents than you can get from the Vital Records office, then you should head to the State Archives building. They are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, with shorter morning hours on Saturdays.

There, you can find archives of military records, old newspaper collections, maps, school records, old vital records no longer held at the state office, veteran's files, and a large number of other government-issued documents.

If you're not in Raleigh, you can use their online search engine to do a little further research into some of these document collections. You can usually only search the indexes but at least you can determine if the material you want is there. Also, you can make a request to the staff for some research through the mail (or email). There are additional fees for this and there are some limits to how much research they will do on your behalf.

State Resources

  • Shawna's Genealogy Page  A whole bunch of good old southern surnames, mostly from western North Carolina and southern Georgia including marriage and cemetery records, 




  • New River Notes   Collection of documents pertaining to Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes County, North Carolina; Grayson, Carroll, Smyth, Wythe, Washington, and other parts of Southwest Virginia


  • Battle of Bentonville, N.C.  The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive
  • Battle of Shallow Ford  (Rev War)  took place west of the Yadkin River, about a mile from the Shallow Ford crossing. Around 350 Whig militiamen from N. Carolina and Va., commanded by Maj. Joseph Cloyd, defeated a local band of Tories numbering between 400 and 900
  • North Carolina Civil War Homepage  The purpose of this page is to create a virtual central repository for information about North Carolina in the American Civil War.  
  • Revolutionary War Pension Applications  Stokes and Surry Counties, North Carolina   Abstracts from pension applications of Revolutionary War veterans or widows taken from National Archives microfilm. All have a connection to Stokes or Surry County, NC. unless otherwise noted.


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