Duplin County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Duplin County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Duplin 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 1749
County Seat Kenansville
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  North Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Duplin County

County Courthouse


Duplin County was created in 1750 from the northern part of New Hanover County and is named for Thomas Hay, Viscount Dupplin, later 9th Earl of Kinnoull. The earliest immigrants were Welsh, who arrived in the 1700′s, and soon followed by German Palatines and the Swiss in the 1730′s and 1740′s. The Scotch-Irish arrived in 1736 with Henry McCulloch, a wealthy London merchant, to settle on a rich and fertile 71,160-acre land granted to him from the British Crown. The French Huguenots and English, who migrated from Virginia along with Scottish Highlanders who came from the upper Cape Fear region, also were among the earliest settlers to the area along with African-Americans. The early settlements were primarily along the river and larger creeks as these were the best means of transportation. Henry McCulloch established several settlements. One on the east bank of the Northeast Cape Fear River named Sarecta, became Duplin’s first incorporated town in 1787. Another settlement was established on the west side of the river on Goshen Swamp, and a third at a place referred to as Golden Grove, later to become the Town of Kenansville. (Source: Duplin County History).

Parent County

1749--Duplin County was created 17 March 1749 from New Hanover County.
County seat: Kenansville [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Many court records are missing.


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties


African American

The first U.S. Federal census enumerating freed slaves was taken in 1870. Their records have been published:

  • Melton, Carol K.W. and Joseph W. Wescott III. 1870 Federal Census: The African American Population of Duplin County, North Carolina. Rose Hill, N.C.: Duplin County Historical Foundation, 2000. FHL Book 975.6382 X28m 1870



Church of England

St. Gabriel's Parish served Duplin County.

Surviving records include Warden's Records of the Poor (1799-1817), which are kept at the North Carolina State Archives. Microfilm copy: FHL Film 19974.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Albertson



It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]
  • [Alderman] Stone, Spessard. Lineage of John Carlton. [Wauchula, Fla.?]: S. Stone, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 C197s
  • [Bradley] Clegg, Reed L. Richard Bradley and Descendants: Lives and Times of Richard, Thomas, Henry, Samuel Carroll, James Harvey Bradley Families. Salt Lake City, Utah: R.L. Clegg Publishers, [1999?]. FHL Book 929.273 B728c
  • [Broadhurst] Wooten, David Robert. We All Become Forefathers: Genealogies of the Wooten, Boykin, Whitaker and Broadhurst Families. 1993. FHL Book 929.273 W889wdr
  • [Bullard] Bullard, Spencer Ardell. William and Nathan Bullard Family: History and Genealogy. Lakewood, Colo.: S.A. Bullard, 2004. FHL Book 929.273 B872bs
  • [Carlton] Morris, Scott. Liberty Worth Fighting For: The Sacrifice of a South Georgia Wiregrass Family in the War Between the States. [Sale City, Ga.]: S. Morris, 1990. FHL Book 929.273 L272m
  • [Carlton] Stone, Spessard. Lineage of John Carlton. [Wauchula, Fla.?]: S. Stone, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 C197s; 1998 edition: FHL Book 929.273 C197s 1998
  • [Churchill] Churchill, Levis Allen and Dorothy Churchill Moye Sumrell. Churchill/Churchwell, Duplin, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt Counties, North Carolina. Greenville, N.C.: L.A. Churchill, 1993. FHL Book 929.273 C473cL
  • [Churchwell] See Churchill.
  • [Clark] Crook, Billie Louise and Simeon English Clark. Our Clark Family: Or Texas Clarks. Austin, Texas: B.L. Clark, 1957. FHL Book 929.273 C547co
  • [Dickson] Carr, James Ozborn. The Dickson Letters. Wilmington, N.C.: n.p., 1933. FHL Book 921.73 D561a 1933
  • [Flowers] Hendrix, Mary Louise Flowers. Flowers Kith and Kin: A Record of the Descendants of Thomas Flowers through Henry and Nancy Adams Flowers. Jackson, Miss.: Hendrix, 1943. FHL Book 929.273 F669h
  • [Fowler] Hollis, Jane Cook. Immigrated to Tennessee: Chronicles of a Fowler Family. Memphis, Tenn.: J.C. Hollis, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 F829i
  • [Grady] Grady, Benjamin, Louis Carr Hendry and Henry A. Grady. John Grady (1710-1787) of Dobbs and Duplin, with Some of His Descendants. Wilson, N.C.: P.D. Gold Publishing, 1930. FHL Film 1321187 Item 8
  • [Gulley] John, Paul. John Gulley Genealogy, a Planter in Alabama and Arkansas and His Descendants: Also the Families of Bizzell, Godley, Ligon, Mendenhall, Purifoy and Others of England and Colonial America. Houston, Texas: P. John, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 G951j
  • [Hutchison] Hutchison: Family Records. MSS. Microfilmed 1974. FHL Film 288187
  • [Lanier] Ingersoll, Louise. Lanier: A Genealogy of the Family Who Came to Virginia and Their French Ancestors in London. Washington, D.C.: Goetz Printing Company, 1965. Digital version at World Vital Records ($).
  • [Lanier] Morris, Scott. Liberty Worth Fighting For: The Sacrifice of a South Georgia Wiregrass Family in the War Between the States. [Sale City, Ga.]: S. Morris, 1990. FHL Book 929.273 L272m
  • [Lewis] Lewis, J.D. My Neck of the Woods: The Lewis Families of Southeastern North Carolina and Northeastern South Carolina. Little River, S.C.: J.D. Lewis, 2002. FHL Book 929.273 L585Ljd; CD-ROM no. 1036
  • [McCallop] Headley, Katy McCaleb. MacKillop (McCaleb) Clan of Scotland and the United States. 2 vols. Chillicothe, Mo.: E.P. Ellsberry, [1964]. FHL Book 929.273 M124h
  • [McCanne] McCanne, Elizabeth C. A Brief Autobiography. Typescript. Microfilmed 1994. FHL Film 1698051 Item 47
  • [Merritt] Merritt, Edward and Leora Hiatt McEachern. The Merritts of Sampson and Duplin Counties, North Carolina. Typescript, 1968. FHL Film 874721 Item 4
  • [Middleton] Brown, Leslie H. "John Middleton of Hampton, Va., and Onslow County, N.C.," The American Genealogist, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Jul. 1979):161-162. FHL 973 D25aga v. 55
  • [Parrish] Lytton, Eugene R. Josiah Parrish, 1771-1846, Migrated to Alachua County, Florida 1823, Volunteer Soldier in the War of 1812. Typescript. Microfilmed 2001. FHL Film 1425373 Item 20
  • [Powell] Andrea, Leonardo. Powell. MSS., 1962, Photocopy, Polk County Historical Library, Bartow, Fla. FHL Film 978080 Item 2
  • [Sheffield] Hussey, Ray Walter. Descendants of John Hussey and Barbara Sheffield. Kernville, Calif.: R.W. Hussey, 1986. FHL Book 929.273 H965hu
  • [Sloan] Sloan, Stanley E. John Sloan, ca. 1783-ca. 1863: Descendants & Allied Families. Tucson, Ariz.: S. Sloan, 1988. FHL Film 1685453 Item 1
  • [Sloan] Bryant, Catherine M. The Dixon Sloan Family of Colquitt County, Ga.: Includes Families of Laura Sloan Pelham, W. P. Sloan, Amanda Sloan Webb, Oscar N. Sloan, Ella Sloan Bryant. n.p.: C. Bryant, 1988. FHL Book 1685453 Item 1
  • [Smith] Draughon, Eleanor Daphine Smith. Descendants of Elijah Smith of Duplin County, North Carolina. Durham, N.C.: E.D.S. Smith, 1971. FHL Book 929.273 Sm55d
  • [Sullivan] Pringle, Elizabeth Muir. Sullivans of Duplin County, North Carolina. 2 vols. Ogden, Utah: E.M. Pringle, 2007. FHL Books 929.273 Su53p v. 1, v. 2; CD-ROM no. 4367; digital version at Family History Archives.
  • [Wade] Rosser, John C. Some Descendants of Joseph and Mary Wade of Duplin County, North Carolina. Godwin, N.C.: J. Rosser, 1992. FHL Book 929.273 W119rj
  • [Ward] Ward, James Mayfield. The Noble Family of Ward. n.p.: J.M. Ward, 1975. FHL Book 929.273 W21wj
  • [Watkins] Watkins, William Bismarck. The Watkins Family of North Carolina: Particularly Enumerating Those Descendants of Levin Watkins of Duplin County, N.C., Who Emigrated to Alabama and Mississippi Early in the Nineteenth Century. Jackson, Tenn.: McCowat-Mercer, [1915]. FHL Film 1321283 Item 9
  • [Wells] Wells, James W. Descendants of Jacob Wells of Duplin County, North Carolina. Benton, Ark.: n.p., 1973. FHL Film 1318198 Item 7
  • [Wilkins] Murphy, Nathan W. Early Families of Muhlenburg County, Kentucky: Vincent, Wright, McElwain, Wilkins and Jarvis. Hanson, Ky.: David W. Murphy & Associates, 1999. FHL Book 929.273 V743m
  • [Williamson] Wise, Bel. Williamson Relatives. Typescript, 1977. FHL Film 1697644 Item 38


The Duplin County Register of Deeds Office has a complete record of all property conveyances dating back to 1750 when the county was founded. All of the indexes to Duplin County property records from 1784 thru the present are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via their internet website: rod.duplincounty.org. Additionally, all of the property records books have been scanned and are available for viewing and downloading with the exception of books 20, 22, 33, 43, 106, 249, 276, and 318. These books are however available at the Register of Deeds Office.

A number of land records have been transcribed and are available at the following sites:

Local Histories



Civil War

Civil War Confederate units - Brief history, counties where recruited, etc.

-3rd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry


  • Duplin County newspapers - a listing of newspapers published in the county & libraries that hold them; via the Library of Congress. If you find a paper of interest on microfilm, you may be able to request it via Interlibrary Loan with your local public library.
  • Duplin County residents in the newspaper - name listing of people from the county as located in misc. newspaper articles; time span varies. Articles indexed in the NC People in the Papers database from the NCGenWeb project.
  • North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project - contains full-text papers from 1752-1890s. Search for your Duplin County ancestors to see if they were mentioned.


The Duplin County Clerk Office is located in the city of Kenansville. The North Carolina Constitution mandates that there be a Clerk of Superior Court for each county. The clerk is elected for a period of 4 years. The responsibilities of the Clerk are numerous and varied. As the judge of probate the Duplin County Clerk handles probate of wills and the administration of estates of decedents, minors and incompetents.

Duplin County Clerk
112 Duplin St.,
Kenansville, NC 28349
Phone: (910) 275-7000

A number of Wills and Estate Records have been transcribed and are available at the following sites:


Vital Records

You may search Duplin County public birth, death, marriage and property records in the Office of the Register of Deeds free of charge. No appointment is necessary. The office is located in Room# 106 of the Duplin County Courthouse Annex at 118 Duplin Street; Kenansville, North Carolina 28349.

  • Duplin County Marriages, 1867 - present - search all Duplin County marriage records on the Register of Deeds website.
  • African-American cohabitation records - search at the Register of Deeds website
  • Duplin County Marriages - misc. marriages added to the NCGenWeb Archives
  • Duplin County marriages - may be included throughout Carrie Broughton's 6-volume index of the Raleigh Register & State Gazette newspaper (1799-1893). Marriages are listed by year and PDF files are searchable. Available on the North Carolina Digital Collections website.


Societies and Libraries 

  • Duplin County Historical Society
    Historical Society/Commission
    L. H. Sikes
    PO Box 220
    Rose Hill, NC 28458-0220

Family History Centers

Web Sites


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