Vance County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Vance County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Vance 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 1881
County Seat Henderson
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  North Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Vance County

County Courthouse


The county was formed in 1881 from parts of Franklin County, Granville County, and Warren County. According to the 1955 book, Zeb's Black Baby, by Samuel Thomas Peace Sr., "The formation of Vance County was accomplished largely as a political expediency. It was in 1881 when Blacks in large numbers were voting solidly Republican. Granville and Franklin Counties were nip and tuck, Democratic or Republican. From the Democratic standpoint, Warren County was hopelessly Republican. But by taking from Granville, Franklin and Warren, those sections that were heavily Republican and out of these sections forming the new county of Vance, the Democratic party could lose Vance to the Republicans and save Granville and Franklin for the Democrats (see gerrymandering). [U.S.] Senator [Zebulon Baird] Vance was a Democrat. He took kindly to this move and thanked the [North Carolina] Legislature for honoring him with naming the new county after him. At the same time Vance showed his humor by always referring to Vance County as 'Zeb's Black Baby.'  In the 1890 Census, Vance County was more than 63 percent African American.

Formation and Naming of Vance County

Vance County Quick Facts

Henderson in the 1920s

Parent County

1881--Vance County was created from Granville, Warren, and Franklin Counties.
County seat: Henderson [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties





Vance County's Court system is the District 9 jurisdiction. More information about their Court system can be found on their website.
Vance County District Court
156 Church St., Suite 101
Henderson, NC 27536


The Vance County Register of Deeds maintains land records back to the formation of the County in 1881. You will want to contact them for more details on how to obtain copies of these records.
Vance County Register of Deeds
122 Young Street, Suite F
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-738-2110

There is a searchable online database for land records dating back to 1881 available here:

Land Records

Local Histories


  • North Carolina Maps,  collaborative digitization project by the North Carolina State Archives, the Outer Banks History Center, and the University Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • NC Vance: Maps


The following sites have Vance County military pages:


The Daily Dispatch (Henderson, NC)


Wills and Estate Records are maintained by the County Clerk of the Superior Court. Copies may be obtained by contacting their office at the following:

Vance County Clerk of the Court
156 Church St., Suite 101
Henderson, NC 27536

The following online sites have indexed lists of the Will Books:

Vance County Probate Records Images are available for browsing here


Vital Records

Vance County has a number of marriage records missing, reason unknown.  They have Marriage Registers that cover 1881-1962; Marriage Licenses for 1897, 1902, 1911-1968; there is an Index to the Marriage Register, 1963-1969.

North Carolina began requiring Birth and Death records in 1913; there are a number of Delayed Birth Certificates that were filed by those born prior to that date, and there are a few Death Certificates that go back as far as 1909.

Copies of Birth, Death and Marriage records can be obtained from the Register of Deeds office.

           Vance County Register of Deeds
           122 Young Street, Suite F
           Henderson, NC 27536
           Phone: 252-738-2110

There are Birth or Marriage records for Vance County on a few places online, the following databases are free:

Societies and Libraries 

Vance County has an active Historical Society and a new Genealogical Society which is an offshoot of the Historical Society.

H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library

Web Sites


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