North Carolina Cohabitation Records

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United States > Rural Records of the Southern United States > Cohabitation Records > North Carolina

North Carolina State Law

In the March 1866 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, an Act was passed concerning negroes and persons of color. Justices of the Peace were to collect and record in the County Clerk’s office, a record of the cohabitation of former slaves to ratify their state of marriage. The Court Clerk was required to maintain a record book for this purpose and to receive 25 cents per entry for his service. In Section 6, Chapter 40 of the Act, it was a misdemeanor if negroes did not record their marriage by September, 1866. This section of the Act was amended by Section 1, Chapter 70 (ratified March 1867), to extend the time of recording these marriages until January 1, 1868. [1]

Cohabitation records have survived from the following counties:

County FHL Film Record Location
Alexander None State Archives
Alleghany None Alleghany County Courthouse
Beaufort 234244 Beaufort County Courthouse
Bertie 255266 State Archives
Brunswick None State Archives
Caldwell 975.6845 V2k Caldwell County Courthouse
Camden None Camden County Courthouse
Carteret None State Archives
Caswell None State Archives (one document)
Catawba None Catawba County Courthouse
Chowan None State Archives
Columbus None Columbus County Courthouse
Craven None Craven County Courthouse
Cumberland None Cumberland County Courthouse (one document)
Currituck 1689140 Item 3 Currituck County Courthouse
Davidson None State Archives
Davie 975.669 V29b Davie County Courthouse
Duplin None Duplin County Courthouse
Edgecombe None State Archives
Forsyth 899593 Forsyth County Courthouse
Franklin None State Archives
Gates None State Archives
Granville None Granville County Courthouse
Guilford 833292 State Archives
Halifax None State Archives
Hyde None State Archives
Iredell None State Archives
Johnston 1759193 State Archives
Lincoln 1760466 State Archives
Macon None State Archives (not catalogued)
Mitchell None Mitchell County Courthouse
Nash None State Archives
New Hanover None State Archives
Northampton None Northampton County Courthouse
Orange None State Archives
Pasquotank None State Archives
Perquimans None State Archives
Person None State Archives
Pitt None State Archives
Randolph None Randolph County Courthouse
Richmond 1426280 Item 1 State Archives
Robeson None Robeson County Courthouse
Rowan 1760523 Rowan County Courthouse
Rutherford None State Archives
Sampson None State Archives
Stokes None State Archives
Surry None State Archives
Union None Union County Courthouse
Wake None State Archives
Warren None Warren County Courthouse
Washington None State Archives
Wayne None Wayne County Courthouse
Wilkes None State Archives
Wilson None Wilson County Courthouse

A comprehensive index for North Carolina Cohabitation Records is:

White, Barnetta McGhee, Ph.D.Somebody Knows My Name: Marriages of Freed People in North Carolina County by County. (Athens, Georgia: Iberian Publishing Company, 1995.) (FHL book 975.6 V2wb)


  1. White, Barnetta McGhee, Ph.D.,Somebody Knows My Name: Marriages of Freed People in N.C. County by County.(Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co.), 1995: xiv, xv.

See also:

Rural Records of the Southern United States