North Carolina Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups

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Online Resources

African Americans

Resources for African American research fall into two periods: pre-and post-Civil War. Post-Civil War research consists of consulting the same record types as non-African-Americans. Pre-Civil War records consist of slave importation declarations, plantation records, emancipation records, apprenticeship bonds for freedmen, North Carolina hiring practices, census records, white family records, church and cemetery records, military records, vital records, and numerous North Carolina court records. African American vital records were usually recorded in separate books for many years.


Number of Slaves in North Carolina[1]
1860 1850 1840 1830 1820 1810 1800 1790
331059 288548 245817 245601 204917 168824 133296 100572
  • Crow, Jeffrey J. A History of African Americans in North Carolina.Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina. Division of Archives and History. Department of Cultural Resources, 1992. (Family History Library book FHL Collection

Research Guides

  • McBride, Ransom. "Searching for the Past of the North Carolina Black Family in Local, Regional, and Federal Record Resources," The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2 (May 1983):66-77. FHL Book 975.6 B2s v. 9.
  • Mitchell, Thornton W. Preliminary Guide to Records Relating to Blacks in the North Carolina State Archives. Archives Information Circular 17 (June 1980): 1–17. FHL 975.6 B4a This guide describes the contents and availability of county, state, private, federal, and miscellaneous records.


  • The African American Cemeteries of Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina (Facebook). A community forum for the African American cemeteries of Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina. Included are burial sites located in the counties and independent cities in the Tidewater regions of Virginia and North Carolina. Also includes cemetery news from around the United States, and listings in Maryland, New Jersey, and Georgia.


Census records are an important source for studying African American families. The 1850 and 1860 mortality schedules list all persons who died in the 12 months prior to the census and include the name, age, residence, state of birth, occupation, and cause of death. From 1870, censuses give every African American's name, age, state of birth, and other information. See:

  • African Americans in the 1870 Census. Family Tree Maker’s Family Archives, no.165. Brøderbund Software, Novato, California, 1996. FHL CD-ROM no. 388 This disc does not circulate to Family History Centers. This source indexes 660,000 African Americans in the 1870 federal census of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, and St. Louis. It includes name, state, county, town, birth date, birthplace, National Archives film number, and page number.
  • 1860 Granville County Slave Schedule.Abstracted and explained by Barnetta McGhee White, a complete listing that includes maps showing locations of where the families resided.

Cohabitation Records

Slaves were not allowed to legally marry. In 1886 many Cohabitation Certificates were issued and are on microfilm at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. This is a great guide that provides information about Cohabitation records and more more: Guide To Research Materials In the North Carolina State Archives. To find Cohabitation records for each county, look under "marriages."

For 1814 to 1866 information about husbands and wives who were former slaves in North Carolina has been published in:

Freedman's Savings Bank

The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company was originally created to assist African American soldiers of the Civil War and freed slaves. Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company signature cards or registers from 3 March 1865 to 25 July 1874 may list birth date; birthplace; occupation; residences; death information; and names of parents, children, spouses, siblings, and former masters. A database of these records, called the Freedman's Bank Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Family History Library, 2001. Available online at FamilySearch, United States, Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874.North Carolina had three branches of this bank at New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington. The signature registers for these branches are found in:

Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (Washington, D.C.), 1865–1874. Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, 1865–1874. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0816. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1969. Available online at FamilySearch, United States, Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874. Contains records for North Carolina.) In the records for each city, depositors are listed in order by account number. The registers of each North Carolina branch are as follows:

New Bern 1869–1874 FHL film 928586 item 1
Raleigh 1868–1874 FHL film 928586 item 2
Wilmington 1869, 1872–1874 FHL film 928586 item 3

The records of the North Carolina branches are published in:

  • Reaves, Bill. North Carolina Freedman’s Savings Trust Company Records. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1992. (Family History Library book FHL book 975.6 F2r. This book has abstracts of the genealogical data from the above records and is indexed.

Other Freedman’s Bureau records include:

  • United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1862–1870. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M843. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1972. FHL film 1616841–1616878 These records give names of freed slaves and sometimes give genealogical information. The records include letters, ration reports, oaths of office, reports of persons hired, court cases (in some cases families are listed), orphans placed as apprentices (sometimes several brothers and sisters are listed), registrars recommended, land and property records, records and reports of claims, reports on freedmen available for work (only a few names of persons are given), and persons who received food.
  • United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Records of the Superintendent of Education for the State of North Carolina, 1865–1870. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M844. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1971. FHL film 1695567–1695582 These records contain information about schools built for freed slaves, owners of the schools, teachers in the schools, and teachers’ requests for funds.
  • North Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioners Records, 1862-1870 -These records include letters and endorsements sent and received, account books, applications for rations, applications for relief, court records, labor contracts, registers of bounty claimants, registers of complaints, registers of contracts, registers of disbursements, registers of freedmen issued rations, registers of patients, reports, rosters of officers and employees, special and general orders and circulars received, special orders and circulars issued, records relating to claims, court trials, property restoration, and homesteads.

Help Index Freedmen's Bureau Records
Help yourself and others find their African American ancestors by participating in the Discover Freedmen Indexing Project. June 19th Press Conference

Slave Sales

Slaves are sometimes mentioned in deeds (see North Carolina Land and Property), in wills (see North Carolina Probate Records), in tax records, and in court order books (see North Carolina Court Records). You must know the name of the slave owner, and you can then search these records by the owner’s name to find the name of the slave. A few parish registers (see North Carolina Church Records) list slaves who attended church with their masters. Their births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, or burials may be listed.

Slaves in Wills

The following surnames in this database: North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970 have wills that mention slaves by name

  • Arthur Branch
  • Thomas Crowder
  • John Rhodes

Many transcribed wills for all of the Counties have the names of Slaves included. Choose the County of your choice and visit the site's Will Index pages:

Runaway Advertisements

Runaway slave ad

Names of hundreds of runaway slaves, their descriptions, owners, and ages can be found in:

  • Windley, Lathan A., comp. Runaway Slave Advertisements. Vol.1, Virginia and North Carolina. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1983. FHL 975 F2wL This volume is not indexed. The information is in chronological order from 1751–1790.

Free African Americans

Number of Free People of Color in North Carolina[1]
1860 1850 1840 1830 1820 1810 1800 1790
30463 27463 22732 19543 14712 10266 7043 4975

Many black families freed prior to 1820 are listed in: Heinegg, Paul. Free African-Americans of North Carolina and Virginia: Including the Family Histories of More Than 80% of Those Counted as "All Other Free Persons" in the 1790 and 1800 Census. 3rd. ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1993. FHL book 975.6 F2hp This book provides information concerning 281 families and often traces a family to the 1860s. An updated version is available online for free at Free African

Slave Laws

Finkelman, Paul. State Slavery Statutes: Guide to the Microfiche Collection. Frederick, Maryland: University Pub. of America, 1989. FHL book 975 F23s This book has information about laws passed that mention particular slaves. It is indexed by subjects, names, and geographic locations. The time period for names of North Carolina slaves is 1789–1854.

Plantation Records

Slaves are occasionally mentioned in records of plantations described in the following series of booklets:

  • Stampp, Kenneth M. A Guide to Records of Ante- Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War: Series F, Selections from the Manuscript Department, Duke University Library. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1991. FHL book 975 H2sm ser. F and FHL book 975 H2sm ser. J. The guide for series F lists records at the Duke University library. The series J guide describes holdings at the library of the University of North Carolina. The guide booklets are not indexed, but, they describe in detail the contents of each microfilm. The Family History Library has microfilms of the North Carolina plantation records described in these guides:
  • Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War: Series F, Selections from the Manuscript Department, Duke University Library. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1986–87. FHL film 1549774 (first film)
  • Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War: Series J, Selections from the Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1989–1992. FHL film 1672791 (first of 455)

Also see,Sankofagen Wiki, which contains info on Plantations and the names of many Slaves who lived on them.

Military Records

Family History Library Collection

For books about African Americans, see the FamilySearch Catalog, using a Place Search under:




American Indians

See Indians of North Carolina.


Main article: Melungeons


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ninth Census of the United States: Statistics of Population, Tables I to VIII Inclusive (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1872), 53-54. Digital version at Internet Archive; FHL Book 973 X2pcu.
  2. Dick Eastman, " to Publish the Patriots of Color Database," Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, 24 February 2012,