Contacting the NC State Archives

For the latest update on ordering and changes at Requesting Records by Mail.
This number does not answer on weekends.
Phone: (919) 807-7310

Fax: (919) 733-1354
Email: archives@ncdcr.gov

*Ordering records from the North Carolina State Archives*
Archives and Records Section
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4614  

The Physical Address of the Archives (and State Library of North Carolina) is:
109 E. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2807

Click for instructions for ordering if you are a North Carolina Resident
Only North Carolina residents can order via email.

Click for instructions for ordering if you are Not a North Carolina Resident

 

For requests: I quote from a response by one of the employees:
Write one brief letter for each problem, enclosing a SASE
and $20.00 search fee if you are a nonresident of North Carolina.
North Carolina law requires it.

Checks and Money Orders should be made payable to:
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

Provide name of the person whose record is desired, date of the record, probable county, and the type of record sought. Keep it brief!! Do not explain familial relationships and accomplishments!!
Unless you are a long lost relative, THEY DON"T CARE!!!

The North Carolina taxpayers support the Archives with their tax dollars (whether they wish to do so or not) and unfortunately, economics prevent them from supplying those services free, for non-residents, much as they might desire so to do.

Result: In the fullness of time a sheet will arrive in one SASE with a description of the material and the price for photocopying same. If there is no record # that will be noted, along with the types of records that have been unsuccessfully searched.

Ordering: Return sheet with a check or money order and you will receive a stamped dated photocopy
of the record as soon as your request can be filled." (My note, sometimes they are a month or more, backlogged)

The under funded North Carolina State Archives fields at least 17,000 mail queries a year. Archives of original colonies are simply swamped -- and they want to provide copies of the records. They are amazingly prompt and skilled and responsive. (and might I add, very polite and helpful). The well-trained personnel cannot look up the estates papers IF the request is just for a WILL.

[Sue Ashby's note - I always advise my clients to ask for the "complete estate files or packets", when writing for probate records.]

[They cannot tell you if there is a will, for Joe Blow, in Watchmacallit County. You have to tell them the name of the testator and and the county where that person died. If you do not know, you cannot expect them to find it.

In fact, they probably will not, search for anything in the archives, unless there is an index that they can use.

Or, they will send you, a list of professional genealogists who do that kind of thing..
They want to help the researcher, and their performance has been superb in responding to requests. They have no control over the records that were created, nor over those that have survived.

Notice: The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources does have the Rev. War Army Accounts on microfilm but, they do not do the search for the names included. (These accounts are involved and not easy to read and understand)

They do not have the Federal Revolutionary War service or pension records. Those are housed at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D.C. and must be obtained from them. You can now order files from NARA through their website by using downloadable forms. The types of records available at NARA are listed here:

Access to Military Service and Pension Records

 The forms are available on this Order Online Page.

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Alternative Resources

Before ordering anything from the State Archives, it is a good idea to check if the document you want may be available at the County level, or in an online digital collection.  One can obtain copies of Marriage Records from the County Register of Deeds, or copies of Wills from the County Courthouse in most instances, and for a much lower fee than is charged by the State Archives. To find out which Counties offer the services, as well as additional details, visit the website for NCGenWeb County of your choice to locate their Register of Deeds and County Courthouse offices information pages. 

The North Carolina State Archives has made a number of records available through their online North Carolina Digital Collections; check and see if there is a record there for you by doing a search in the Collection or through their Online Catalog and Finding Aids, both available on their Digital Collections and Publications page.

Many Military Records are now available through Ancestry.com or Fold3, which are fee based services, so if you have a subscription to either of these, you will want to check there first.

FamilySearch.org, has many free databases online which have actual images of documents, including the NC Probate Records 1735 - 1970, and NC Estate Files 1663-1979. Copies of wills from most Counties are available in the browsable Probate collections, while the Estate Records are indexed and searchable by name; a complete listing of all of the Estates can be found at the North Carolina Estate Records Index. They also have some of the free indices to the Civil War Service Records which are linked to the images on Fold3 or Ancestry.com.  Those collections currently indexed are the North Carolina Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865 and the North Carolina Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865. In addition, FamilySearch has the actual images of the North Carolina Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953, that are not indexed but are browsable by a range of Surnames. Their list of all North Carolina databases can be found here.

HeritageQuest, which is available for free from home through many local library websites, also has a large collection of Revolutionary War Pension files, although, not all of the files are complete.  Check with your local libraries and some historical societies to see if they have HQ; libraries will generally allow access from your own computer by using your library card.

 

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Last updated:  November 27, 2014