North Carolina Davidson County Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984 .

Record Description

North Carolina birth, marriage and death records are recorded on a printed form which were filled in by hand or typed. Delayed birth certificates may also include handwritten supporting documents. The marriage records are arranged by year and then by the the groom's surname. The "Indexed Register of Marriages" is arranged first by the first letter of the groom's surname and then by the date of the marriage. Note that the first four pages here are special lists: "Marriage License out of State (White)" and "Marriage License out of State (Colored)"--the main index begins with image 5. The death records are arranged by year, then by township, and then chronologically by the date of the event.

The Vital Records Section of the Department of Public Health is responsible for maintaining and issuing certified copies of vital records, including birth, marriage and death certificates for births, marriages and deaths that occurred in North Carolina. They officially began recording birth and death events in March 1913. Birth records were usually filled out by a midwife, doctor or other attendant. Death certificates were usually filled out by a mortician or medical professional. Marriage records were usually filled out by the person performing the marriage. Each official filled in the information concerning the event and obtained personal information on the deceased from an informant, usually a relative. That information was submitted to the county, who sent a copy to the state. Delayed birth records were required in the absence of a certificate of birth. They include affidavits and other supporting information from persons testifying to the birth. 

Marriages were not often recorded until after 1868 when the Register of Deeds for each county began to issue marriage licenses. The State of North Carolina began statewide registration in 1913 and achieved compliance by 1920. 

For a list of record categories currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

This collection includes records for the years 1869-2005. 

The state required counties to begin recording vital records in compliance with state law to document the births and deaths and to better serve public health needs. Death certificates were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.

Birth, death and marriage records are the most reliable sources of vital information. Information pertaining to the event is reliable. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984" Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Register of Deeds, Lexington.

Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout North Carolina.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most birth certificates are:
North Carolina Davidson County Birth Records 004127782 00097.jpg
  • Name of the child
  • Sex; whether a twin, triplet or other, race and marital status of parents
  • Date and time of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Names and sometimes ages of parents, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Parent’s residences, races, birthplaces, occupations and sometimes educational attainments
  • Sometimes the number of children born to the mother, and the number of surviving children
  • Attending physician or midwife and time of birth
The key genealogical facts found in most delayed certificates of birth are:
North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records (08-0571) Delayed Birth DGS 4129356 645.jpg
  • Name of child at birth
  • Date and location of birth
  • Birth attendant
  • Names of parents of the child, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Parent’s residences, races, birthplaces and occupations
  • Abstract of supporting evidence of birth
  • Name of register of deeds

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:
North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records (08-0571) Marriage DGS 4136816 457.jpg
  • Names of the groom and bride, including the maiden name of the bride
  • Race and sometimes ages of the groom and bride
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Residences of bride and groom
  • Names of parents of the bride and groom, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Parent’s residences, races, birthplaces and occupations
  • Names of witnesses and the officiator

The key genealogical facts found in most death certificates are:
North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records (08-0571) Death Record DGS 4129335 263.jpg
  • Name of the deceased
  • Sex, race, marital status and age of the deceased
  • Dates of death and burial
  • Birth date and birthplace of the deceased
  • City, county, and state of death
  • Name and location of the cemetery where buried
  • Frequently, the country or state and sometimes the town and county of birth for the deceased
  • Names of parents, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Name of the informant, who is often a child or other family member
  • Residence or address of the deceased, if foreign-born
  • Whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death
  • Occupation of the deceased

How To Use The Record

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Record Type" category
⇒ Select the "Years, Volume#, Page#" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the birth, marriage, or death occurred.
  • The approximate date the event occurred.
  • The name of the individual or individuals such as the names of the bride and groom, the infant, or the deceased.

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • Use a marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Related Web Sites

North Carolina GenWeb Project

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1876-1984," images, FamilySearch ( accessed 28 March 2012), Carrie Falls Culp,  February 1, 1959, citing Death Records, 1959, Vol 046, Image 1; Davidson County Vital Records , Register of Deeds, Lexington, North Carolina.