Rutherford County, North Carolina Genealogy

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

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

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Online Records

Rutherford County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Rutherford 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 1779
County Seat Rutherfordton
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County Courthouse

Rutherford County Court
229 N Main Street P O Box 551
Rutherforton, NC 28139-0630
Phone: 828-287-6155

Courthouse burned in 1857
Clerk Superor Courtt has birth records from 1917
death records from 1913
marriage dirvorce probate court and land records from 1779
tax lists and voter registration[1]


Parent County

1779--Rutherford County was created from Tryon County. Tyron County was abolished in 1779.
County seat: Rutherfordton [2]

Boundary Changes

After Rutherford County's initial creation in 1779, there have been some distinct changes made to the boundaries.

In 1791, a small portion of the west sides of Rutherford and Burke County created Buncombe County.

In 1841, about a third of the county on the east side, as well as western side of the neighboring Lincoln county, were formed into Cleveland County.

The year following that, 1842, a small portion of the northern side of Rutherford county and half of the neighboring County of Burke was taken to make McDowell County.

In 1855, the southwestern side of the county was formed into Polk County.

For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

1907--Courthouse fire destroyed many court records. For a list of record loss in North Carolina counties see: North Carolina Counties with Burned Courthouses


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties





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

Church Records

  • Bill's Creek. Constituted 1782.[3]
  • Buffalow Creek. Constituted 1777.[3]
  • Green River. Constituted 1778.[3]
  • Mountain Creek. Constituted 1789.[3]
  • Sandy Run. Constituted 1788.[3]
  • Brittain Church, Rutherfordton, N.C. Organized 1768.[4] Originally located in Tryon County.



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]
  • "Notes on a Proctor Family of Northeastern Rutherford Co., N.C.," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 38, No. 3 (August 2010):102-110. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 38


Local Histories



Early migration routes to and from Rutherford County for European settlers included:[5]


Civil War

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



  • 1780-1784 - Minutes of the Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1780 to 1784. (mentions wills filed, inventory lists, sales, administratrators, orphans, deeds proved, etc. If you cannot find a will in the will book, this is where to search) North Carolina Pioneers ($)


Vital Records

  • 1880-1932 - Rutherford County Birth Index 1880-1932. Batch C752254 at FamilySearch - free.[6]

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Rutherford County, North Carolina. Page 512 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 3.3 3.4 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 2:568. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  4. "Brittain Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
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