Johnston County, North Carolina Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Smithfield
Organized: June 28, 1746
Parent County(s): Craven[1]
Neighboring Counties
Franklin  • Harnett  • Nash  • Sampson  • Wake  • Wayne  • Wilson
See County Maps
Johnston County, NC courthouse from NE 2.JPG
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Johnston County is located in the central portion of North Carolina and was named for Royal Governor of North Carolina Gabriel Johnston.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Johnston County Courthouse
207 East Johnston Street
PO Box 118
Smithfield, NC 27577-4515
Phone: 919-989-5160
Johnston County Website

Register of Deeds has marriage and land records.
Clerk Superior Court has probate and court records.[3]

Johnston 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 1746 1914 1759 1748 1760 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]

  • 1746 Johnston County was created 28 June 1746 from Craven County.
  • County seat: Smithfield[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
  • Banner
  • Bentonville
  • Beulah
  • Boon Hill
  • Brogden
  • Clayton
  • Cleveland
  • Elevation
  • Ingrams
  • Meadow
  • Micro
  • O'Neals
  • Pine Level
  • Pleasant Grove
  • Selma
  • Smithfield
  • Wilders
  • Wilson Mills

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • June 28, 1746 Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston signs legislation creating the County of Johnston.
  • Oct. 18, 1775 Independent North Carolina's Provincial Council holds its first meeting at Johnston County Courthouse (Smithfield).
  • May 9, 1777 Town of Smithfield chartered by the N.C. General Assembly.
  • May 3-15, 1779 N.C. General Assembly meets in Smithfield.
  • Feb. 16, 1861 Town of Boon Hill chartered - renamed Princeton in 1873.
  • March 19-21, 1865 Civil War Battle of Bentonville rages as the "bloodiest battle ever fought on North Carolina soil."
  • April 12, 1869 Town of Clayton chartered.
  • Feb. 11, 1873 Town of Selma chartered.
  • Jan. 30, 1874 Town of Pine Level chartered.
  • March 7, 1887 Towns of Benson and Kenly chartered.
  • March 11, 1889 Town of Four Oaks chartered.
  • May 1, 1899 Town of Jerome chartered - renamed Micro in 1905.
  • Aug. 15, 1945 Farmers Day in Smithfield celebrates the end of World War II.
  • Sept. 1, 1965 Johnston County's public schools begin racial desegregation, completed by consolidation of high schools in 1969.
  • Oct. 1, 1991 Land-use zoning instituted throughout Johnston County as suburbanization follows recently completed I-40 from Raleigh.
  • Aug. 2, 1996 Town of Wilson's Mills re-chartered (original charter issued in 1927, revoked in 1971).
  • Nov. 3, 2009 Town of Archer Lodge incorporated by a majority vote of residents within its proposed borders.

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 Johnston 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 5,691
1800 6,301 10.7%
1810 6,867 9.0%
1820 9,607 39.9%
1830 10,938 13.9%
1840 10,599 −3.1%
1850 13,726 29.5%
1860 15,656 14.1%
1870 16,897 7.9%
1880 23,461 38.8%
1890 27,239 16.1%
1900 32,250 18.4%
1910 41,401 28.4%
1920 48,998 18.3%
1930 57,621 17.6%
1940 63,798 10.7%
1950 65,906 3.3%
1960 62,936 −4.5%
1970 61,737 −1.9%
1980 70,599 14.4%
1990 81,306 15.2%
2000 121,965 50.0%
2010 168,878 38.5%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Johnston County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Mill Creek. Established by 1808.[7]
  • Rocky Spring. Constituted 1793.[7]
  • Three Creeks. Established by 1789.[8]

Church of England

  • St. Patrick's Parish. Established 1756.[9]

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]

  • [Humphries] Holcomb, Brent Howard. Ancestors and Descendants of Charles Humphries (d. 1837) of Union District, South Carolina, 1677-1984. Columbia, S.C., 1985. FHL Book 929.273 H889hb.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Franklin CountyNash CountyWilson CountyWayne CountySampson CountyHarnett CountyWake CountyNC JOHNSTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Johnston 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 Johnston County:

- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company H
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company C
- 7th Battalion, North Carolina Cavalry, Company F
- 7th Battalion, North Carolina Cavalry, Company G
- 8th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Captain John Daniel's Company

Civil War Battles
The following Civil War battle was fought in Johnston County:

  • March 19-21, 1865 Bentonville, also known as Bentonsville[10]
  • Map showing Civil War battles in North Carolina.

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]

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 Johnston County. For state-wide archival repositories, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Johnston County Heritage Center
241 East Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Telephone 919-934-2836

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

Johnston County Heritage Center
241 East Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Telephone 919-934-2836

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Johnston County Heritage Center
241 East Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Telephone 919-934-2836

Johnston County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2373
Smithfield, NC 27577-2373
Telephone 828-631-2646

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. NCpedia Johnnston County
  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), Johnston 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, "Johnston County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_North_Carolina, accessed 17 February 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read, A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association: From Its Original Rise Down to 1808 (1808), Chapter 16. Digital version at
  8. George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 1:491. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  9. Robert J. Cain, ed., The Church of England in North Carolina: Documents, 1699-1741 (Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1999), xxxiii. FHL Book 975.6 K2cr.
  10. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 8 August, 2012)
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at Marriages at the Johnston County NCGenWeb site