Burke County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Burke County, North Carolina ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Morganton
Organized: 8 April 1777
Parent County(s): Rowan[1]
Neighboring Counties
Avery  • Caldwell  • Catawba  • Cleveland  • Lincoln  • McDowell  • Rutherford
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Burke County is located in the Western portion of North Carolina and was named for Thomas Burke, delegate to the Continental Congress and governor of the state 1781-1782[2].

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Burke County Courthouse
201 S Green Street
P O Box 219
Morganton, NC 28680
Phone: 828-438-5450
Burke County Website

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1913
marriage, land and military discharge records from 1865;
Clerk Superior Court has divorce, probate and court records from 1865[3]

Burke County, North Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1913 1865 1913 1865 1865 1865 1784
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1865--Many court records and most land records burned by Federal troops.

Former Burke County Genealogical Society President Betsy Pittman's article can help you discover your Burke County ancestors despite record loss, see:

  • Pittman, Betsy Dodd. "Burke County 'Bypasses,'" The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2 (May 1989):68-72. FHL Book 975.6 B2s v. 15 (1989).

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1777--Burke County was created 8 April 1777 from Rowan County.
  • County seat: Morganton[5]

For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
  • Connelly Springs
  • Drexel
  • Hildebran
  • Icard
  • Jonas Ridge
  • Linville
  • Lovelady
  • Lower Creek
  • Lower Fork
  • Quaker Meadows
  • Rutherford College
  • Silver Creek
  • Smoky Creek
  • Upper Creek
  • Upper Fork
  • Valdese

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Burke County, North Carolina online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 8,106
1800 9,929 22.5%
1810 11,007 10.9%
1820 13,411 21.8%
1830 17,888 33.4%
1840 15,799 −11.7%
1850 7,772 −50.8%
1860 9,237 18.8%
1870 9,777 5.8%
1880 12,809 31.0%
1890 14,939 16.6%
1900 17,699 18.5%
1910 21,408 21.0%
1920 23,297 8.8%
1930 29,410 26.2%
1940 38,615 31.3%
1950 45,518 17.9%
1960 52,701 15.8%
1970 60,364 14.5%
1980 72,504 20.1%
1990 75,744 4.5%
2000 89,148 17.7%
2010 90,912 2.0%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Catawbo River. Constituted 1785.[7]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Many pre-1850 road orders have been published in the Journal of the Burke County Genealogical Society.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • Plumlee Plumlee, Robert D. The Plumlee Family. Clearwater, Fla.: Plumlee Systems, Inc., 1969, 1979. Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Avery CountyCaldwell CountyCatawba CountyLincoln CountyCleveland CountyRutherford CountyMcDowell CountyNC BURKE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Burke County for European settlers included:[8]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Burke County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Burke County:

- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, usually known as the Bethel Regiment.
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company B
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company D
- 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company E
- 41st Regiment Volunteers - 3rd Cavalry, Company F
- 5th Battalion, North Carolina Cavalry, Company C
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company F
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company I
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company D
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company E
- 8th Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company C

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • North Carolina Newspapers at DigitalNC
  • 1799-1893 Burke County marriages - may be included throughout Carrie Broughton's 6-volume index of the Raleigh Register & State Gazette newspaper (1799-1893). Marriages are listed by year and PDF files are searchable. Available on the North Carolina Digital Collections website.
  • Burke county newspapers - a listing of newspapers published in the county & libraries that hold them; via the Library of Congress.
  • Burke County residents in the newspaper - name listing of people from the county as located in misc. newspaper articles; time span varies. Articles indexed in the NC People in the Papers database.
  • North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project - contains full-text papers from 1752-1890s. Search for your Burke County ancestors.
  • Deaths of Burke County - list of county area deaths reported in various newspapers; dates range from late 1700s to 1900s.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Voter Registration

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1760-1839, 1864 - Tax Lists and Related Documents: Old Burke County, North Carolina 1760-1839 & 1864.

Many tax lists have been published in the Journal of the Burke County Genealogical Society.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Burke County. For state-wide archival repositories, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Burke County. For state-wide library facilities, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Burke County Public Library System

There are three branches in the system.

Museums[edit | edit source]

History Museum of Burke County
201 W Meeting St
PO Box 416
Morganton, NC 28655-0416
Telephone 828-437-1777
Email burkehistory@compascable.net

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Burke County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see North Carolina Societies.

Burke County Genealogical Society
PO Box 661
Morganton, NC 28680-0661
Telephone 828-764-9266
Email: bcgs-nc@hotmail.com

Burke County Historical Society
PO Box 151
Morganton, NC 28680-0151
Telephone 828-764-9266

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://www.ncpedia.org/geography/Burke
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Burke County, North Carolina. Page 506-514 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 505-509.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Burke County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke_County,_North_Carolina, accessed 9 February 2020.
  7. George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 2:562. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  8. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/4/4d/Iginorthcarolinaa.pdf.