North Carolina Newspapers
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
North Carolina Division of Archives and History
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. The State Library of North Carolina and many other 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.
More recently the State Archives of North Carolina has completed a project of digitizing newspapers from its microfilm collection and began with the earliest known newspapers; The Western Carolinian and the Carolina Watchman. The project was completed in 2009 and the collection is now available online and is keyword searchable. The collection includes papers dating from 1752 - 1890 from cities like Edenton (1787-1801), Fayetteville (1798-1795), Hillsboro (1786), new Bern (1751-1804), Salisbury (1790-1898), and Wilmington (1765-1816).
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.
- North Carolina Newspaper Extracts Bibliography page for a more comprehensive list of books that include abstracts from NC Newspapers.
- 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.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL 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.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL 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.
- Broughton, Carrie L., Marriage and Death Notices in Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 1799–1855. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1949–.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL film 873831 item 2, book 975.6 V2b Volume 2 only.
- Broughton, Carrie L., Marriage and Death Notices in Raleigh Register, North Carolina State Gazette, Daily Sentinel, Raleigh Observer and News and Observer. 4 vols. (Raleigh, North Carolina:North Carolina State Library, 1951.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL film 896909 items 8-9, book 975.6 V2b
- Fouts, Raymond Parker, Abstracts from the North Carolina Gazette of New Bern, North Carolina. 2 vols. (Cocoa, Florida: GenRec Books, 1983.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL 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) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL 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.) At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL 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.
Family History Library
- The Family History Library has copies of very few North Carolina newspapers, but there are a few nineteenth century newspapers for Guilford, Orange, and Wake counties.
To find resources for local North Carolina newspapers in the Family History Library Catalog use a Place-names Search for:
- NORTH CAROLINA- NEWSPAPERS
- NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY]- NEWSPAPERS
- NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- NEWSPAPERS
- 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.
North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project, North Carolina State Archives