Chatham County, North Carolina Genealogy

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United States
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Chatham County

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


Chatham County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Chatham County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
Location of North Carolina in the U.S.
Founded 1770
County Seat Pittsboro
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County Information


Chatham County is located in the Central portion of North Carolina and was named for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, who defended American rights in the British Parliament[1].

County Courthouse

Beginning Dates for Chatham County, North Carolina Genealogy Government Records

Chatham County Courthouse
12 East Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Court has divorce records from 1913
Probate Records from 1771 & court records from 1869[2]

Register of Deeds
PO Box 756
Pittsboro, NC 27252
Telephone: 919-542-8235
Fax: 919-542-8235

Clerk of Superior Court
PO Box 369
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Telephone: (919) 545-3500


The bill for establishing Chatham County was introduced in the Colonial Assembly, held at New Berne, December 5, 1770. But the bill was not ratified until January 26, 1771 and became effective the first day of April in 1771. The county was named for the first Earl of Chatham - William Pitt, 1708-1778). According to history, the Earl of Chatham was a true believer in the right of America and defended these rights in the British Parliament. Perhaps that zeal of patriotism transmitted itself to the inhabitants of Chatham County, because the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions struck the customary extolling of the King and his titles, in 1773, long before the first shot rang out in New England. Even though Chatham was a Crown Province of North Carolina until statehood was established on July 4, 1776. The county seat of Pittsboro was named for William Pitt, the younger, who was the youngest prime minister of Great Britain. He was 24 years of age, at the time.
Chatham was created from Orange County whose area was ten times what it is now. Because of political factions and difficulty in holding court and recording documents, the distance being so great, the counties of Guilford, Wake and Surry were created at the same time as Chatham. As a deterent to the meeting and assembly of these factions and to facilitate the governing of them. Chatham is in the center of the state, in the hilly, timber covered section of the state. The counties that are neighbors are: Almance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph and Wake.

Parent County

1770--Chatham County was created 5 December 1770 from Orange County.  County seat: Pittsboro [3]

Boundary Changes

In 1897 Chatham lost a portion of the NW boundary to Alamance Co., from a survey to establish a previously de facto boundary.

In 1907 Chatham lost a portion of the SE boundary to form the newly established Lee Co.

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.

Record Loss

Many court records missing, including:

  • The court minutes and other court records from the time of ratification of the bill to establish the county, in April of 1771 to 1774, there are no pleas and quarter session minutes.
  • There is a gap of about 5 years between 1800 to 1805 in these minutes.


Populated Places - Population as of the 2000 census

 Incorporated Cities:

  • Fearrington - population: 903
  • Goldston - population: 319
  • Pittsboro -  County Seat- population 2, 226. It is located 34 mi. SE of the state capitol, Raleigh.
  • Siler City - population: 8,747

Unincorporated Cities:

  • Bear Creek
  • Bennett
  • Bonlee
  • Brickhaven
  • Bynum
  • Carbonton
  • Corinth
  • Crutchfield Crossroads
  • Gulf
  • Haywood
  • Moncure
  • Silk Hope
  • Wilsonville

Neighboring Counties




Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
NCGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
NCGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
North Carolina Cemeteries
Billion Graves
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information.


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


  • Bear Creek. Constituted 1786.[4]
  • Collin's Mount. Founded before 1773.[4]
  • Deep River. Founded before 1773.[4]
  • Haw River. Church built 1769.[4]
  • Rocky River, near Siler City, N.C. Organized about 1757.[4][5] Formerly located in Orange County.
  • Tick Creek. Founded before 1773.[4]

County Records


Chatham County Courthouse
Clerk of Superior Court
(Wills & Estates)
ADDRESS: P.O. Box, 369, (12 East St.)
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Phone No. (919) 542-3240

Certified copies of documents are $2.00 for the first page,
.25 for additional pages.
Uncertified copies are $1.00 for the first page and
.25 for additional pages.

The following links will take you to an index or transcribed court records for the years as indicated:

Other Court Records:


The Register of Deeds Office maintains the following records for public inspection and retrieval:

  • All Chatham County land transactions, including any sales or exchanges of real property in the county. This includes any transactions involving parcels of land, easements, rights of way and leaseholdings.
    * Security documents, such as deeds of trust, mortgages, and uniform commercial code filings.
    * Public records of notaries.
    * Records of businesses operating under assumed names.
    * Vital records, including births, deaths and marriages. The office provides certified copies of vital records to persons who are eligible under state law.

Courthouse Annex - Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 756,
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Ph. No. (919) 542-8235

Chatham County deed records are indexed and copies of the actual documents  are available online starting from 1771. 

Access to  Chatham County Deeds Online Search

Local Histories



Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Service men in Chatham County, North Carolina Genealogy 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 Chatham County, North Carolina Genealogy:

-6th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
-11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
- 11th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company G
- 15th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, formerly the 5th Volunteers, Company M
- 1st Brigade, North Carolina Reserves, Company H
- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company H
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Cavalry (63rd Regiment Volunteers), Company E
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Cavalry (63rd Regiment Volunteers), Company G
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company I
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company B
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company E
- 6th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company I
World War I
World War II



Online Probate Records

Copies of wills and estate records can be obtained from the Clerk of the Superior Court.  Information on fees are available on their website:

Chatham County Courthouse Annex
12 East Street
P.O. Box 756
Pittsboro, NC 27312
(919) 542-8235

Clerk of Superior Court
The elected Chatham County Clerk of Court is David Samuel Cooper. He and some 14 staff members are responsible for all clerical and record keeping functions of the General Courts of Justice. His staff is spread throughout the courthouse annex and is organized according to their function and duties.

The Clerk's offices are open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (919) 542-3240, the fax number is (919) 542-1402, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 369, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

Decedent's Estates: Periodic inventories and the accountings necessary to administer the estates of deceased persons are filed, and appropriate forms obtained, from Clerk of Court. Estate-related business is conducted and all estate-related records are maintained at the Clerk of Court's Office, 12 East Street, Pittsboro. This office is also where wills are probated. It is a good idea to contact this office before making an official visit in order to insure that all of the required documentation is available.

The following links will take you to an Index to Chatham County Wills and Estate Records:

The Following links will take you to a series of Wills that have been abstracted:

The Following are links to Images of Records on FamilySearch:


  • 1755 - 1755 Orange County Tax List (transcript) online at NCGenWeb (many Chatham Co. families were included before formation of Chatham)
  • 1795 - 1795 Chatham County Tax List (transcript) online at NCGenWeb
  • 1815 - 1815 Chatham County Tax List (transcript) online at NCGenWeb
  • 1815 - Tax Lists, Chatham County, 1815 (images) online at North Carolina Digital Collections

Vital Records

Courthouse Annex - Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 756,
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Ph. No. (919) 542-8235

The Register of Deeds Office maintains vital records, including births, deaths and marriages. The office provides certified copies of vital records to persons who are eligible under state law.


Voter Registration

Societies and Libraries 

Chatham County Historical Association, Inc.
PO Box 93
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Chatham County Historical Association
PO Box 913
Pittsboro, NC 27312-0913

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.



  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Chatham County, North Carolina. Page 507 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 1:230-231, 297; 2:562-563. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  5. "Rocky River Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at