Chatham County, North Carolina Genealogy

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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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United States  Gotoarrow.png  North Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Chatham County

County Courthouse


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 [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Many court records missing.


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties





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:


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





Copies of wills and estate records can be obtained from the Register of Deeds Office.  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

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:


Vital Records

Societies and Libraries 

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).