North Carolina County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: North Carolina County Records, 1833-1970 .
Collection Time Period
These records cover the years 1793 to 1968.
The collection includes the following various county records:
- Coroner's Inquests (1793-1905)
- Voter Registration Books (1888-1896)
- Wills (1821-1968)
- Guardianships (1849-1967)
- Estates (1854-1968)
Most of the records are either handwritten or handwritten on preprinted forms.
The records generally include the following information:
- Date of the event, transaction, or recording with the county
- Names of individual, witnesses, family members, sometimes neighbors
- Signature or mark
- Amount of any money exchanged
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The type of event.
- The place where the event 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, the deceased, or grantor and grantees.
Compare the information in the records 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 age to calculate a birth date.
- Use the names, ages and residence church and census records.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. 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.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one 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 an index. There are often indexes done by a local historical or genealogical organization.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
Soon after they were formed, counties began recording vital records, court records, and land transactions. The records are generally well preserved.
Why this Record Was Created
The records were made to establish legal rights and to help track the population for health and taxation purposes.
The information is generally reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant. Some transcription errors may have occurred.
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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 citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"North Carolina, County Records, 1833-1970,"; 'FamilySearch' (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 23 June 2011). entry for R; Sloan Dixon, estate probated January 28, 1929; citing County Records, Gaston, Estates, vol. 39, 1909-1962, Dixon, P.M. - Dyson, Elnora Goins, Image 26; Gaston County Courthouse, Gastonia, North Carolina, United States.
Sources of Information for This Collection
“North Carolina County Records, 1833-1970,” database, "FamilySearch" (); from various county offices throughout North Carolina. FHL digital images, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.