Franklin County, North Carolina Genealogy

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

Guide to Franklin County North Carolina genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Franklin County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Franklin 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 April 14, 1778
County Seat Louisburg
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County Courthouse

Franklin County Courthouse
113 S Main Street
P O Box 545
Louisberg, NC 27549
Phone: 919-496-3500

1820 Census missing
Register of deeds has birth and death records from 1913
marriage records from 1869, land records from 1779
Clerk Superior Court has divorce and court records [1]

Franklin County was formed in 1779 and, in the same year, the town of Louisburg was surveyed by William Christmas on land which had been purchased from Patewells & Jacobina Milner for that purpose. That deed from the Milners survives today in the first volume of county deeds. The county's first commissioners were William Brickell, William Green, William Hill, John Hunt, and Osborn Jeffreys and these men were charged with many tasks, the earliest of which were to build a courthouse and a jail. The first meeting of the men was the Franklin Court of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions of 1779 and it was held at the home of Benjamin Seawell. It is unfortunate that none of the records from those earliest days of Franklin County survive.

The first county courthouse was a log building erected circa 1781 either on or very near the current county courthouse location on Main Street between Court and Nash Streets. The log courthouse was replaced with a structure of brick and stone in 1849. The 1849 courthouse was completely remodeled in 1936 and again in 1968 when it was also enlarged.

The first jail was built close to the original courthouse and during the same timeframe, but it was destroyed by fire in 1872. It was replaced with a stone building which still stands, though now abandoned, on the south side of Nash Street about one-and-a-half blocks east of Main Street. The new Franklin County Jail & Sheriff's Department Complex was built in 1994 and is located west of downtown Louisburg on T. Kemp Road.


Franklin county was formed in 1779 from the southern half of Bute County in the midst of the American Revolution and was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin who had recently negotiated an alliance and secured loan agreements with France that would eventually help to win America's independence. The abolishment of Bute County came at the urging of area resident and strong political activist, Benjamin Seawell, who introduced a bill to separate from the county which had been named after the Earl of Bute. Seawell had also been among those selected to represent the county at the Halifax Congress of April 1776. Fellow representatives of Bute at that meeting included Green Hill, William Alston, Thomas Sherrod, Thomas Eaton, Benjamin Person, Benjamin Word, and Philemon Hawkins. The act establishing the county authorized that the first court be held at the home of Benjamin Seawell and it was left to the justices to determine where subsequent courts were to be held until a courthouse could be erected - a goal that was finally met in 1781 with the construction of a log courthouse.

Louisburg, the county seat, was also chartered in 1779 and is believed to have been named for King Louis XVI of France who was a strong American ally. There is disagreement among historians as to when the town was first named, with estimates ranging from as early as 1758, though historians generally agree that the name of the town was originally spelled "Lewisburg". Once the charter had been established, 100 acres of land were purchased from Patewells & Jacobina Milner for the platting of the new county seat. The initial survey for the town was performed by William Christmas who was also responsible for the layout of Raleigh, North Carolina. Louisburg remained the only town in the county until after the Revolutionary War.

Situated in the northeastern section of the State, Franklin County is bounded by Nash, Wake, Granville, Vance, and Warren counties. The present land area is 492.02 square miles and the population has grown from roughly 7,500 at the dawn of the 19th century to 47,260 in the year 2000. The soil is fertile and, in some areas, chock-full of granite. Originally a community focused primarily on agriculture and livestock and boasting 3,367 farms covering 267,530 acres in the year 1900, today Franklin County is home to 574 farms encompassing 128,412 total acres. The county is now focused on broadening her economic base through encouragement of real estate development and much attention is now given to enticing large corporations to bring their operations to the county.

Parent County

1778--Franklin County was created 14 April 1778 from Bute County when it was divided to also create Warren County.  Bute County was abolished in 1779.
County seat: Louisburg [2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Franklin County has had no appreciable loss of records.


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties





For tips on accessing Franklin County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.

Church Records

  • Jaile's Creek. Constituted 1771.[3]
  • Maple Spring. Constituted 1793.[3]
  • Sandy Creek. Constituted 1770.[3]



Local Histories




Civil War

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



North Carolina has a number of resources for collections of Wills at both the State and County levels. Older wills were sent to the North Carolina State Archives where most of them have been indexed and stored by County, including estate record materials such as inventories, accounts of sale and final settlements.  The records in the Archives are also filed under a cross index to wills, cross referenced by devisor and devisee. The Franklin County Courthouse has copies of all of the County wills while the originals have been transferred to thr State Archives, so depending on your needs, you may want to take that into consideration when looking for wills.

There are a few websites that have copies of Franklin County wills as listed below:


Vital Records

The North Carolina State Archives has copies of Franklin County records starting from its establishment in 1779, to see a complete listing of the records available for the County please Click Here to view their Guide to Research Materials in the North Carolina State Archives, and scroll to the County page. Adobe Reader is required and can be downloaded here for free if you don't have it. The Archives currently charges $20 for Requests from Out-of-State Residents, and a copy of their Request Form along with further details can be viewed here.

The Franklin County Register of Deeds and the Franklin County Court Clerk also have a number of records available to the public from their offices and should be contacted to verify which records they have and what their prices are for obtaining them. Note that most of the originals of the older records have been transferred to the State Archives and that the records contained at the County level are usually hand copied into the County Books. Generally, it is much more cost effective to get documents on the County level rather than through the Archives, so you may want to first check with the County Registrar or County Court Clerk for the records you are in search of.

Remember to always be as specific as possible when requesting information from any of these locations, this will give you a better chance of locating the document that you are looking for with the least chance of wasting their time and your money.

These records are available from:
Births from: 1913 located at: FC Register of Deeds office
Deaths from: 1913 located at: FC Register of Deeds office
Marriage Bonds from: 1779 located at: N.C. Archives
Marriage Licenses from: 1869 located at: FC Register of Deeds office
Property Deeds from: 1776 located at: FC Register of Deeds office
Wills from: 1780 located at: County Courthouse



Societies and Libraries 

North Carolina State Archives
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4614

Franklin County Clerk of Superior Court
102 S. Main Street
Louisburg, NC 27549

Franklin County Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 545
113 S. Main Street
Louisburg, NC 27549

Tar River Connections Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 8764
Rocky Mount, NC 27804

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Franklin County, North Carolina. Page 508 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 1:491; 2:564. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  4. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at