One role of the State Archives of North Carolina is to collect and provide access to the historically valuable public records created by all levels of state government. In order to document the state’s rich history, government entities are required by law to transfer certain types of records to the State Archive for permanent preservation. All records, with the exception of some declared to be confidential, are available for research. Finding aids for these collections can be found in the Search Room and in our online catalog, MARS.
The State Archives collects county government records series of statewide historical value, such as records pertaining to bonds, courts, land, marriage, wills and estates, and taxes. County government records that have been processed are described at the series level in the MARS Online Catalog and the Search Room card catalog.
County Records Guide
The Guide to Research Materials in the State Archives of North Carolina: County Records or the County Records Guide, as it is also known, is a listing of more than 9,000 bound volumes and 21,000 boxes, as well as over 24,000 reels of microfilm of county government records and documents available to researchers in the State Archives.
County Box Lists
Container lists for some county records are also available in PDF format.
Selected county records are currently available from these online collections:
- Alien Registration and Naturalization - County records relating to the naturalization of foreign-born citizens in which the clerk of superior court acted as federal agent. The volumes can include photos of the applicant, country of origin, North Carolina county in which they were living, their profession, and the names of their children or other family members.
The State Archives houses a large collection of the records of North Carolina's governors. For more information about the governors papers, consult the online catalog MARS at http://mars.archives.ncdcr.gov/.
These guides contain inventories of selected series of governors papers.
- Modern Governors' Papers - A small selection of records are available in digital format. Currently, this online collection includes the press releases, executive orders, and proclamations from Mike Easley and Bev Perdue's administrations.
State Agency Records
These include records created by state agencies. Many state agency records are described in the MARS Online Catalog. A list of State Agency Records, including definitions of some of state agency records of primary importance for historical and genealogical research, is also available. It is not, however, a comprehensive list of all state agency records.
In addition to entries in the MARS online catalog, a few state agency series have more detailed finding aids available online.
Selected state agency records are currently available from these online collections:
- Senate Audio Recordings - Digitized recordings of the North Carolina Senate legislative proceedings during the 2006-2010 sessions are available through the North Carolina Digital Collections (hosted on the Internet Archive). Recordings dated 1977-2005 are held at the State Archives and made available through a fee-based, digitization-on-demand basis.
- Speaker Ban Law - Correspondence, photographs, transcripts, audio recordings, articles and other items related to the Speaker Ban Study Commission.
- Travel and Tourism Photographs - 1,130 images from the North Carolina Conservation and Development department pertaining to popular topics including the Cherokee, pottery, and textiles.
- War of 1812 Pay Vouchers - Around 5000 pay vouchers or certificates issued for military service by detached militia called out to defend the North Carolina coast in 1813 or by companies ordered to rendezvous at Wadesboro in 1815. Vouchers are for 31 counties.
- Women, Marriage and the Law - Part of the "Studies in Scarlet" project, this collection contains documents found in the State Archives that are valuable for researching the legal, historical and cultural aspects of marriage and other personal relationships in the United States from 1815-1914.
For information about record schedules and other records management topics, please consult the For Government section.
Though the State Archives of North Carolina has no records which will establish or support benefit claims for disabled veterans, it does have some records which will be sufficient to establish the identity of a claimant as a serviceman. These records are the reports which were completed at the time of the veteran's separation from military service. A copy of a veteran's record of service or report of separation can be furnished by the State Archives of North Carolina at no cost to: the veteran, his next of kin, or designated agent; a Veterans Service Officer; or (in case of burial benefit claims) the funeral director undertaking the burial of a veteran who was honorably discharged. If the veteran had his report of separation from military service recorded by the Register of Deeds in his county, a copy of the record can be obtained from that office. The Archives also has microfilm copies of the record books from the county Registers of Deeds.
For more information about pre-World War I military documents, please consult our Military Collection page.
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