Cleveland County, North Carolina Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Shelby
Organized: January 11, 1841
Parent County(s): Lincoln, Rutherford[1]
Variant Spellings: Cleaveland
Neighboring Counties
Burke  • Catawba  • Cherokee (SC)  • Gaston  • Lincoln  • Rutherford  • York (SC)
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Benjamin Cleveland, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, who took part in the Battle of King's Mountain. Cleveland County is located in the western area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Cleveland County Courthouse
11 East Marion St
PO Box 1210
Shelby, NC 28150
Phone: 704-484-4834
Cleveland County Website

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1914, marriage records from 1851 and land records from 1841.
Clerk Superior Court has divorce records from 1921, probate records from 1843 and circuit records from 1914.[3]

Cleveland 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
1914 1851 1914 1914 1841 1843 1784
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1841 Cleveland County was created 11 January 1841 from Lincoln and Rutherford Counties. Cleaveland was originally used but the present spelling was adopted in 1887.
  • County seat: Shelby[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 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

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

  • Bible Records at North Carolina Digital Archives - index and images

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Cleveland 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.
1850 10,396
1860 12,348 18.8%
1870 12,696 2.8%
1880 16,571 30.5%
1890 20,394 23.1%
1900 25,078 23.0%
1910 29,494 17.6%
1920 34,272 16.2%
1930 51,914 51.5%
1940 58,055 11.8%
1950 64,357 10.9%
1960 66,048 2.6%
1970 72,556 9.9%
1980 83,435 15.0%
1990 84,714 1.5%
2000 96,287 13.7%
2010 98,078 1.9%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Mount Harmony United Methodist Church, near Polkville, N.C. Organized by 1791.[7]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

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]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Burke CountyCatawba CountyLincoln CountyGaston CountyRutherford CountySpartanburg CountyCherokee CountyYork CountyNC CLEVELAND.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Cleveland 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 Cleveland County:

- 12th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company E
- 14th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, formerly the 4th Volunteers, Company D
- 15th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, formerly the 5th Volunteers, 1st Company D
- 15th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, formerly the 5th Volunteers, Company C
- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company C
- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company D
- 4th Regiment, North Carolina Cavalry (59th North Carolina State Troops), Company I
- 4th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company H
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company E

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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]

  • 1840-1848 Cleveland County Tax Scroll, 1840-1848 (images) at FamilySearch
  • 1849-1857 Cleveland County Tax Scroll, 1849-1857 (images) at FamilySearch: Part 1 and Part 2

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 Cleveland 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 Cleveland County. For state-wide library facilities, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

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. Wikipedia contributors, "Cleveland County, North Carolina" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_North_Carolina." accessed 01/10/2019
  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), Cleveland 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, "Cleveland County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_North_Carolina, accessed 11 February 2020.
  7. "Mount Harmony United Methodist Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at