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Newspapers publish marriage, divorce, death, and funeral notices, and obituaries. Beginning about 1900, newspapers also published birth notices. Notices include names, dates, and places. Marriage and death notices may contain maiden names and names of parents and other living relatives.
Newspapers also publish articles of local interest that often cover religious and social events in the community and include the names of people involved. Some newspapers serve several communities and devote columns to the everyday happenings in the area. Newspapers also include legal notices, estate sales, and advertising for local businesses.
Resources for North Carolina Newspapers
Libraries and Archives
Since 1959 the North Carolina Division of Archives and History has been microfilming newspapers in the state. Their collection of newspapers is the state’s largest. Many public and university libraries in North Carolina have copies of these microfilms. Copies can often be obtained by other libraries in the United States through inter-library loan.
The U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present is a national directory from the Library of Congress of over 140,000 newspaper titles. The directory provides a list of libraries from around the country that have the newspapers in their collections.
Inventory on the Internet
- North Carolina Newspapers. In the State Library of North Carolina Over 7,100 North Carolina newspaper titles (3 million pages) are cataloged. This site briefly lists the newspaper title, town, and life span so researchers can obtain microfilm copies through interlibrary loan.
- The North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project from the North Carolina State Archives is a collection of digitized newspapers from some North Carolina cities. A list of newspapers included is provided on their website.
- North Carolina Newspapers 1851-1875 - a list of newspapers published in the state organized by year. This is especially helpful if you have a specific event in mind and would like to figure out where it may have been covered. Provided by the Joyner Library of Eastern Carolina University.
- NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a collection of digitized North Carolina newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries under the name Access NewspaperArchive.
Several inventories of North Carolina newspapers are:
- Jones, Roger C., comp. Guide to North Carolina Newspapers on Microfilm: Titles Available from the Division of Archives and History. 6th ed. Raleigh, North Carolina: Division of Archives and History, 1984. (Family History Library book 975.6 A3g.) This guide is arranged alphabetically by city and covers newspapers from 1751 to the 1950s. The list of newspapers on the Internet site above updates this inventory and includes all titles filmed since 1991.
- Jones, H. G., and Julius H. Avant. Union List of North Carolina Newspapers, 1751–1900. Raleigh, North Carolina: State Department of Archives and History, 1963. (Family History Library book 975.6 B3n.)
Birth, Marriage, and Death Notices in Newspapers
Many birth, death, and marriage notices have been copied from North Carolina newspapers and published. For example:
- Broughton, Carrie L. Marriage and Death Notices in Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 1799–1855. 4 vols. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1949–. (Family History Library
book 975.6 V2b; film 873831 item 2 [vol. 2 only].)
- Fouts, Raymond Parker. Abstracts from the North Carolina Gazette of New Bern, North Carolina. 2 vols. Cocoa, Florida: GenRec Books, 1983. (Family History Library book 975.6192/N1 B3f.) Volume 1 has abstracts for 1751–1759 and 1768–1790, volume 2 for 1791–1798. This is an important source for finding information about marriages, deaths, slave runaways and sales, dead letters, land sales, vessel arrivals and sales, Revolutionary War activities, estate settlements, elections, businesses, Indian attacks, emancipations, powers of attorney, rental advertisements, and relief of the poor. Each volume is well indexed.
- Fuller, Marian Camper. Obituaries and Marriage Notices from the Carolina Watchman, 1832–1890: An Index. Greenville, South Carolina: A Press, 1981. (Family History Library book 975.6 V22fm.) This book usually give names, marriage date or death date, newspaper issue, and date.
- Neal, Lois Smathers. Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh, North Carolina Newspapers, 1799–1839. 3 vols. Spartanburg, South Carolina: Reprint Co., 1979–1995. (Family History Library book 975.655/R1 V28n.) This book lists name, county, date of event, and issue and date of newspaper. It often gives age, and may also state relationships.
View the North Carolina Newspaper Extracts Bibliography page for a more comprehensive list of books that include abstracts from NC Newspapers.
Family History Library
- The Family History Library has copies of very few North Carolina newspapers. There are a few nineteenth century newspapers for Guilford, Orange, and Wake counties.
- Many periodicals publish information from newspapers. They are referenced in the "Places" search of the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) described in North Carolina Periodicals. See also North Carolina Obituaries for help in finding obituaries.
You can find more resources for local North Carolina newspapers in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:
- NORTH CAROLINA- NEWSPAPERS
- NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY]- NEWSPAPERS
- NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- NEWSPAPERS
North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project, North Carolina State Archives
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