North Carolina State Supreme Court Case Files (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 State Supreme Court Case Files, 1800-1909 .

Record Description

This collection is comprised of images of case files from North Carolina State Supreme Court. The cases are generally appeals of lower court decisions with each case usually covering multiple pages. The records are arranged chronologically and handwritten.

The Supreme Court of North Carolina originated with the State Constitution of 1776, which empowered the General Assembly to appoint "Judges of the Supreme Courts of Law and Equity" and "Judges of Admiralty." The appellate court was created in 1799. For additional information on the history of the North Carolina State Supreme Court, see the following on-line article: 

Supreme Court of North Carolina 

For a list of records by dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

This collection covers the years 1800 to 1909. 

The records were created as a permanent copy of the court's proceedings.

The records are very reliable.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"North Carolina State Supreme Court Case Files, 1800-1909." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing State Archives, Raleigh.

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

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The case files usually include the following information:

  • Date of case or filing with the court
  • Names of interested parties and witnesses

Depending upon the type of case heard you may also find any of the following:

  • Names of family members
  • Names of neighbors
  • Ages
  • Relationships
  • Residences
  • Occupations
  • Signature or mark
  • Legal descriptions of land
  • Amount of money exchanged as part of business transactions or assessed by the courts

How to Use the Record

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

  • The approximate court date
  • The name of the individual or individuals involved in the case
  • If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, variant spellings of the surnames

Search the Collection

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the Year Range ⇒ Select the Box/Case Numbers 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.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, 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.

Next, 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 such as previous court cases, vital records, or land records. Add any new information to your records of each family. Keep in mind there can be variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Depending on the information you find in the case, you may find also try the following suggestions:

  • Use the age to calculate a birth date.
  • Use the names, ages, residence, church, and census records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment or other types of records such as military records.
  • 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Related Websites

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 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 Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"North Carolina, State Supreme Court Case Files, 1800-1909."  digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 18 August 2011).  Thomas Little and Valentina S Jordon, 26 December 1843; citing Supreme Court Files, 1859, Box 302, Case 7784-7795. images 73-77; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives, is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.