List of Counties

There are currently exactly 100 counties in North Carolina. The NCGenWeb project includes sites for each of these counties, for several counties that are now defunct (Albemarle, Bath, Bute, Dobbs, Glasgow, Tryon), and for the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary).

The history of formation of these counties is complicated, but is essential information for genealogists to have, since records for a specific community may be found in several different counties over time.  The county formation map set may help you visualize these changes, as well as this excerpt overview from David Corbitt’s The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943.

  • If you are interested in an adoptable county, view our volunteer information here.
  • If you’re using records from the NC state archives, you may find the list of numerical codes for the counties to be helpful.
  • If you have no idea where in NC your ancestor came from, or if you need to look up the county for a town or community name, visit the Unknown NC County  page (currently not available).
  • Information for the Historical Counties – check our page for resources applicable to all the historical counties.
County County Origins Coordinator
Alamance 1849, from Orange Cathy von Hassel-Davies
Albemarle 1664, original county (subdivided 1668 & discontinued in 1689) Historical County
Alexander 1847, from Iredell, Caldwell, and Wilkes ADOPTABLE
Alleghany 1859, from Ashe Eireann Brooks & LaRae Halsey-Brooks
Anson 1750, from Bladen ADOPTABLE
Ashe 1799, from Wilkes Crystal French
Avery 1911, from Caldwell, Mitchell and Watauga Mike DeLoach
Bath 1696 [original county]; subdivided into 3-precincts in 1705, Archdale, Wickham, & Pamtecough; and, ceased in 1739 Historical County
Beaufort 1712, renamed from Pamtecough Precinct of Bath County; formally became a separate county in 1739. Kay Midgett Sheppard & Ron Dailey
Bertie 1722, from Chowan Virginia Crilley
Bladen 1734, from New Hanover Sarah Edmondson
Brunswick 1764, from New Hanover and Bladen Natasha Miles
Buncombe 1791, from Burke and Rutherford Sylvia Hill
Burke 1777, from Rowan Derick S. Hartshorn
Bute 1764, from Granville; became Franklin and Warren in 1779 Historical County
Cabarrus 1792, from Mecklenburg Katherine Benbow
Caldwell 1841, from Burke and Wilkes ADOPTABLE
Camden 1777, from Pasquotank Tina McBride
Carteret 1722, from Craven Joel S. Russell
Caswell 1777, from Orange Rick Frederick & Martha Spencer
Catawba 1842, from Lincoln Derick S. Hartshorn
Chatham 1771, from Orange Sue Ashby
Cherokee 1839, from Macon Crystal French
Cherokee Reservation also called Qualla Boundary Historical County
Chowan 1670, from Albemarle Susan C. Griffin
Clay 1861, from Cherokee Tim Seowolf-Self & Barbara A. Peck
Clarendon 1654-1677 Historical County
Cleveland 1841, from Rutherford and Lincoln Derick S. Hartshorn
Columbus 1808, from Bladen and Brunswick Natasha Miles
Craven 1712, renamed from Archdale Precinct of Bath County; formally became a separate county in 1739. ADOPTABLE
Cumberland 1754, from Bladen Myrtle Bridges
Currituck 1681, from Albemarle Kay Midgett Sheppard
Dare 1870, from Currituck, Tyrrell and Hyde Kay Midgett Sheppard
Davidson 1822, from Rowan Sylvia Hill
Davie 1836, from Rowan Marie Craig
Dobbs 1758, from Johnston, became Glasgow and Lenoir in 1791 Historical County
Duplin 1750, from New Hanover Ron Dailey
Durham 1881, from Orange and Wake Denise Griffin
Edgecombe 1741, from Bertie Dan Clark
Forsyth 1849, from Stokes Sylvia Hill
Franklin 1779, from Bute Deloris Williams  
Gaston 1846, from Lincoln Derick S. Hartshorn
Gates 1779, from Chowan, Hertford and Perquimans ADOPTABLE
Glasgow 1791, from Dobbs became Greene in 1799 N/A
Graham 1872, from Cherokee Crystal French
Granville 1746, from Edgecombe Deloris  Williams
Greene 1799, renamed from Glasgow ADOPTABLE
Guilford 1771, from Rowan and Orange Katherine Benbow
Halifax 1758, from Edgecombe Deloris Williams & Rebecca Dozier
Harnett 1855, from Cumberland Myrtle Bridges
Haywood 1808, from Buncombe ADOPTABLE
Henderson 1838, from Buncombe ADOPTABLE
Hertford 1759, from Bertie, Chowan, and Northampton ADOPTABLE
Hoke 1911, from Cumberland and Robeson Myrtle Bridges
Hyde 1712, renamed from Wickham Precinct of Bath County; formally became a separate county in 1739. Kay Midgett Sheppard
Iredell 1788, from Rowan Katherine Benbow
Jackson 1851, from Haywood and Macon ADOPTABLE
Johnston 1746, from Craven Michael Kay
Jones 1778, from Craven Taneya Koonce
Lee 1907, from Chatham and Moore Sue Ashby
Lenoir 1791, from Dobbs ADOPTABLE
Lincoln 1779, from Tryon Derick S. Hartshorn
Macon 1828, from Haywood ADOPTABLE
Madison 1851, from Buncombe and Yancey ADOPTABLE
Martin 1774, from Halifax and Tyrrell Taneya Koonce
McDowell 1842, from Burke and Rutherford Jane Gouge
Mecklenburg 1762, from Anson Lisa Frank
Mitchell 1861, from Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Watauga and Yancey Beth Bradford-Pytel
Montgomery 1779, from Anson Sue Ashby
Moore 1784, from Cumberland Sue Ashby
Nash 1777, from Edgecombe Earl Bell
New Hanover 1729, from Craven Natasha Miles
Northhampton 1741, from Bertie Ken Odom & Thomas E. Davis
Onslow 1734, from New Hanover Taneya Koonce
Orange 1752, from Bladen, Granville, and Johnston Katherine Benbow
Pamlico 1872, from Beaufort and Craven Kay Midgett Sheppard & Ron Dailey
Pasquotank 1681, from Albemarle Susan C. Griffin
Pender 1875, from New Hanover ADOPTABLE
Perquimans 1679, from Albemarle Susan C. Griffin
Person 1791, from Caswell Sue Ashby & Deloris Williams
Pitt 1760, from Beaufort Brian Nichols
Polk 1855, from Henderson and Rutherford ADOPTABLE
Randolph 1779, from Guilford Brittany Jenkins
Richmond 1779, from Anson Myrtle Bridges
Robeson 1787, from Bladen Blake Tyner
Rockingham 1785, from Guilford Mary Gomez
Rowan 1753, from Anson Katherine Benbow
Rutherford 1779, from Burke and Tryon Jeff Kemp
Sampson 1784, from Duplin ADOPTABLE
Scotland 1899, from Richmond June Power
Stanly 1841, from Montgomery ADOPTABLE
Stokes 1789, from Surry Sylvia Hill
Surry 1771, from Rowan Eireann Brooks & LaRae Halsey-Brooks
Swain 1871, from Jackson and Macon ADOPTABLE
Transylvania 1861, from Henderson and Jackson David & Linda Anders
Tryon 1769, from Mecklenburgbecame Lincoln and Rutherford in 1779 Derick Harshorn
Tyrrell 1729, from Bertie, Chowan, Currituck and Pasquotank Charles Barnes & Gordon Basnight
Union 1842, from Anson and Mecklenburg ADOPTABLE
Vance 1881, from Franklin, Granville, and Warren Deloris Williams
Wake 1771, from Cumberland, Johnston and Orange Taneya Koonce
Warren 1779, from Bute Ginger Christmas -Beattie & Deloris Williams
Washington 1799, from Tyrrell Taneya Koonce
Watauga 1849, from Ashe, Caldwell, Wilkes, and Yancey ADOPTABLE
Wayne 1779, from Dobbs Guy Potts
Wilkes 1778, from Surry Deloris Williams
Wilson 1855, from Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash and Wayne ADOPTABLE
Yadkin 1850, from Surry Sylvia Hill
Yancey 1833, from Buncombe and Burke Beth Bradford-Pytel

Sources for county data

  • Powell, William Stevens. The North Carolina Gazetteer. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968. [Find in a Library]
  • Schweitzer, George Keene. North Carolina Genealogical Research. Knoxville, TN (7914 Gleason, C-1136, Knoxville 37919): G.K. Schweitzer, 1984. [Find in a Library]