North Carolina Public Records

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Many records created by city, county, and state governments do not fit into the categories described in this outline. Records of mayors, commissioners, overseers of the poor, schools, and state licensing and certification bureaus are examples of government sources that may give information not contained in other records. Some collections that contain a variety of records, such as land, history, tax, court, or other records, may be classified as public records.

Colonial Records[edit | edit source]

Many official records of the proprietors and governors’ councils (1662–1790) have been published in:

Saunders, William L., ed. Colonial Records of North Carolina: Published under the Supervision of the Trustees of the Public Libraries, by Order of the General Assembly. 30 vols. Raleigh, North Carolina: Broadfoot Publishing, 1993. FHL book 975.6 N2n. Digitized version available through FamilySearch Catalog entry. Many land records, military records, oaths of allegiance (1778), court records, official correspondence, and petitions are included. Volumes 1–10 contain records from the 1600s–1776, and volumes 11–26 cover 1777 to 1790, except volume 22, which has records from the 1720s to 1789. These include oaths of allegiance arranged by county (1778), the Spanish Alarm (1747–1748), quit rents (1729–1732), militia returns (1754–55, 1758, 1767), the War of the Regulators (1770–1771), Rowan County Court of Oyer (1777), and correspondence of governors and others (1775–1789). Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. Volume 25 has additional information for 1669–1771. The index to volumes 1–25 is found in volumes 27 (A–E), 28 (F–L), 29 (M–R), and 30 (S–Z).

To learn of records kept in England concerning North Carolina and other colonies, see:

Robert J. Cain, Preliminary Guide to the British Records Collection in North Carolina. Department of Cultural Resources. Archives and Records Section. Archives Information Circular 16 (July 1979). Raleigh, North Carolina: Department of Cultural Resources. Division of Archives and History, 1966–. (Family History Library book 975.6 B4a no.16) This 53-page guide describes many records in England pertaining to the colonial period in North Carolina.

Boards of County Commissioners[edit | edit source]

Many of the records of the boards of county commissioners—from about 1868 to the 1930s—have been microfilmed at the North Carolina State Archives, and are available on film at the Family History Library. These records mention money paid to individuals for work, names of jury members, licenses given, names of paupers, names of paupers for whom coffins were made, road overseers’ names, tax exemptions, and persons admitted to the county poor house.

Some city board of aldermen records dating from the mid-1800s to the 1960s have also been microfilmed.

Public records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search under: