National Coordinator: Denise Wells


Hidden Gems on FamilySearch

A number of North Carolina records on FamilySearch which you might not know about, and that you have to do some extra work to find them. They are not all searchable, many you have to go to the specific County and browse through the images, but they are so well worth it.  These records I call, FamilySearch's Hidden Gems.

North Carolina Marriages 1762-1979
Has a searchable index, however, not all images are indexed. If you don't see the record you want in the search, use the browse function, and select from the County list, which will bring up the list of images available for that County.


North Carolina, Civil Action Court Papers, 1712-1970
This collection includes digital images of civil court records filed in North Carolina counties between 1737 and 1968. Records included in civil actions may include land ownership, unpaid debts, contracts, suits concerning dower, breach of contract, & slander; divorces, legitimating of bastard children; some records of emancipation and of naturalization proceedings.


North Carolina County Records, 1833-1970
For some of the Counties, an interesting assortment of images that are not indexed but could be just what you are looking for. These will not come up in a search on FamilySearch, you have to go to the specific databases and browse through the images. Many include Wills & Estates, which are already included in their own separate Collections on FamilySearch, but some other specific County records are:

Ashe - School Census & Teach vouchers 1881-1903
Buncombe - Child Custody proceedings 1844-1946; Election Records 1871-1900
Camden - Civil Action cases 1816-1902
Chatham - Voter Registrations 1888-1896
Chowan - Election & Poll Books 1875-1910
Columbus - Civil Action cases; Deeds 1741-1917
Cumberland - School Records various 1819-1965
Currituck - Civil Actions concerning land 1858-1915; Criminal Action papers 1858-1902
Duplin - Widows year support 1900-1968
Durham - Widows Dower and years support 1881-1944
Forsyth - Bonds of all kinds 1779-1954
Gaston - Guardianships 1849-1967
Jackson - Civil Actions
Lincoln - Marriage Records 1892-1916; Tax Records 1868-1924
Mecklenburg - Guardianships 1779-1953
Northampton - Guardian records & Guardianships 1780-1939
Perquimans - Criminal Action papers 1861-1936; Land sales 1869-1941
Randolph - Grand juror recommends 1784-1898; Grist Mills, Justice of Peace appointments 1780-1922; Liquor Licenses 1817-1919; Miscellaneous records, among which include school records,etc.
Richmond -Coroners inquests 1906-1967
Stanly - Criminal dockets 1841-1943; Chattel Mortgages 1844-1941; Coroners Inquests 1914-1957; Insolvents, Citizenship restorations 1842-1961; Records of Slaves & Free Persons of Colors 1832-1868
Transylvania - Apprentice bonds, records to bridge records 1864-1926; Child custody to jury duty 1864-1926
Wake - Death Certificates 1900-1909
(Raleigh was one of a handful of cities that started recording deaths a few years earlier than the State; note some of the records are from those who died out-of-state)

To get to any of these, first click the Browsable link, then select your County.


FamilySearch has images of most all of the Marriage Records- Registers, Bonds and Licenses- under their North Carolina Marriages 1762-1979 Collection, but there are some additional little gems included in that Collection, which vary by County, and are not included in any Search feature, you have to go to the specific Collection and browse to the document you want. Some of these, such as those that have Birth & Death Certificates after 1976, possibly may have been mistakenly included in a release by a County or State Source. Most all of the Counties have whatever Marriage Records that survive for their location, which I am not including but you should check for yourself if you can't find a Marriage. But Ohhh, I found some additional little goodies in these Collections that you can spend a nice quiet afternoon or two looking through. You may want to first try a Search of the Collection, but if you don't find what you're looking for, go directly to the "Browse images...", then select your County. These are the Counties and the records in addition to the regular Marriage Registers, Bonds and Licenses for the location:
Alien registration, 1900-1975
Cohabitation records, 1851-1863, vol 1
Cohabitation records, 1851-1863, vol I
Commissioners minutes, 1868-1876
Overseer records, 1845-1868, vol I
Tax lists, 1832-1852

Slave Records 1782-1870; while collection reads Slaves, there are also records concerning Free People of Color of Chatham & Wake Counties proving their status.

Court Minutes 1844-1868

Cohabitation records 1866-1868

Military discharge index, 1919-1973, vol 1

Cohabitation records, 1866
Court minutes, 1831-1832

Births, deaths, delayed births, 2003, vol 29

Marriage acknowledgments, 1866, colored (Marriages of Freed People)- this is a Marriage Book
Marriage records, 1866-1868, colored; Marriage Certificates. (these were probably marriages of former slaves who chose to get licenses)

Cohabitation records, plantation records, 1866, vol A-W; Edgecombe's records were included in their Slaveowners files

Death Certificates for 2005
Delayed Death Index
Record book of World War I Soldiers 1917-1918

Cohabitation records, 1866

Estate inventories, 1859-1867
Will records, 1843-1865

Deed records, 1861-1885, vol 1-5

Naturalization records, 1908

Cohabitation certificates, 1866-1867
Cohabitation index, 1841-1868
Cohabitation registers, 1866-1868

Coroners inquest, 1785-1911
Poll tax registers, 1902-1914
Voter registration, 1896-1898

Alien registration, 1940-1956
Cohabitation certificates, 1866-1868
Registration of voters, 1902-1908
Slave records, 1778-1866

Marriage registers, 1933-1944, vol. marriage cohabitation, 1850-1866; divorced women, 1940-1966. (Cohabitation Marriage Records start with Image 39; Maiden Names of Divorced Women starts Image 172)

Grantee index, 1878-1937, vol A-D. (General Index to Real Estate Conveyances)

Stray notices, 1883-1912
Timber records, 1889-1899

Marriage registers, 1867-1964, vol cohabitation records, L-Z, vol 1, divorced women. (Cohabitation Records begin Image 341; Maiden Names of Divorced Womens starts Image 672)

Marriages of freedmen, 1866-1872

Overseers of roads, 1822-1856

The link to the Collection:


County Marriage Holdings for North Carolina

Listings to catalog by County, which contains links to marriage images for that County

The Freedmen's Bureau Records.
While many Freedmen's Bureau Records have been indexed and are searchable on FamilySearch, a great many others, mostly from the State Field Offices, are online, but are not indexed and will not show up in any search. As is the case for many databases on FamilySearch, you have to go to the specific Collection, and browse through the images to see what is there. Each State has their own collections of records on FamilySearch, and when you see a
collection that says "Browse Images" from the main Records Collection page, that is a clue that those are not indexed. It is well worth ones time to browse FamilySearch records, otherwise, you are missing about 70% of their online collections, you have to do some work to get to those records. The Records Collection page for the United States, Collections are listed by States; you can scroll down to the State you want, or select the State from the list on the left side of the page.


Land Records, North Carolina & Tennessee 1600-1959
North Carolina Land Grants
These are microfilmed records found only through the FamilySearch Catalog which are not indexed for searching. While they are entitled as "Index", these are the original Land Grants in a complete collection of loose documents. For the NC Land Grants, scroll down to where it starts with Warrants and lists a County. To view the downloadable images, click onto the camera icon to the far right of the page.

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