Vance County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Untied States
North Carolina
Vance County

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


Vance County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Vance 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 1881
County Seat Henderson
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County Information


Vance County is located in the North-Central portion of North Carolina and shares a border with Virginia. It was named for Zebulon Baird Vance, Governor of North Carolina and U.S. congressman and senator[1].

County Courthouse

Beginning Dates for Vance County, North Carolina Genealogy Government Records

Vance County Courthouse
122 Young St Suite F
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-438-4155

Clerk Superior Court has divorce, probate and court records
Register of Deeds has marrriage and land[2]

Register of Deeds
122 Young Street, Suite F
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-738-2110
Fax: 252-738-2117

Clerk Superior Court
156 Church St Ste 101
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: (252) 430-5100


The county was formed in 1881 from parts of Franklin County, Granville County, and Warren County. According to the 1955 book, Zeb's Black Baby, by Samuel Thomas Peace Sr., "The formation of Vance County was accomplished largely as a political expediency. It was in 1881 when Blacks in large numbers were voting solidly Republican. Granville and Franklin Counties were nip and tuck, Democratic or Republican. From the Democratic standpoint, Warren County was hopelessly Republican. But by taking from Granville, Franklin and Warren, those sections that were heavily Republican and out of these sections forming the new county of Vance, the Democratic party could lose Vance to the Republicans and save Granville and Franklin for the Democrats (see gerrymandering). [U.S.] Senator [Zebulon Baird] Vance was a Democrat. He took kindly to this move and thanked the [North Carolina] Legislature for honoring him with naming the new county after him. At the same time Vance showed his humor by always referring to Vance County as 'Zeb's Black Baby.'  In the 1890 Census, Vance County was more than 63 percent African American.

Parent County

1881--Vance County was created from Granville, Warren, and Franklin Counties.
County seat: Henderson [3]

Boundary Changes

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

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Populated Places

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 Vance County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.

Church Records

Church of England
  • St. John's Parish, Williamsboro, N.C. Historical church building, established 1746, church building completed in 1773.

County Records


Vance County's Court system is the District 9 jurisdiction. More information about their Court system can be found on their website.
Vance County District Court
156 Church St., Suite 101
Henderson, NC 27536


The Vance County Register of Deeds maintains land records back to the formation of the County in 1881. You will want to contact them for more details on how to obtain copies of these records.
Vance County Register of Deeds
122 Young Street, Suite F
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-738-2110

There is a searchable online database for land records dating back to 1881 available here:

Land Records

Local Histories


  • North Carolina Maps,  collaborative digitization project by the North Carolina State Archives, the Outer Banks History Center, and the University Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Revolutionary War
Civil War

Online Records

World War I
World War II


The Daily Dispatch (Henderson, NC)


Online Probate Records

Wills and Estate Records are maintained by the County Clerk of the Superior Court. Copies may be obtained by contacting their office at the following:

Vance County Clerk of the Court
156 Church St., Suite 101
Henderson, NC 27536

The following online sites have indexed lists of the Will Books:

There are transcribed copies of Vance County Wills below:

A free Master Index to All of the North Carolina Estate Files with direct links to the files can be accessed here:


  • 1771 - Tax Lists, Vance County, 1771 (index) in NC Taxpayers vol. 2, online at Ancestry ($)

Vital Records

Vance County has a number of marriage records missing, reason unknown.  They have Marriage Registers that cover 1881-1962; Marriage Licenses for 1897, 1902, 1911-1968; there is an Index to the Marriage Register, 1963-1969.

North Carolina began requiring Birth and Death records in 1913; there are a number of Delayed Birth Certificates that were filed by those born prior to that date, and there are a few Death Certificates that go back as far as 1909.

Copies of Birth, Death and Marriage records can be obtained from the Register of Deeds office.

Vance County Register of Deeds
122 Young Street, Suite F
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-738-2110
Birth Records
Death Records
Divorce Records
Marriage Records

Societies and Libraries 

Vance County Historical Society
PO Box 2284
Henderson 27536

Tar River Connections Genealogical Society
101 Wildwood Avenue
Rocky Mount 27803

H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library

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), Vance County, North Carolina. Page 513 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. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  5. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at

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