North Carolina Archives and Libraries

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United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.pngNorth Carolina, United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

Many archives and libraries have resources such as maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids to help you locate information about North Carolina. They may have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state.

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North Carolina State Archives and Library[edit | edit source]

Telephone: 919-807-7310
Fax: 919-733-1354
Mailing address:
North Carolina State Archives
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4614
Mailing Address:
Genealogical Services
State Library of North Carolina
4641 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4641
Telephone: 919-807-7460

The North Carolina State Archives maintains original records of North Carolina governments on the state, district, and county levels. The North Carolina State Library is at the same location and houses books, pamphlets, and family files. The Archives and Library have digital collections, including family records, at

Catalogs of the holdings of the North Carolina State Archives and the North Carolina State Library are available on their Internet sites. Printed guides available at the Family History Library to holdings at the North Carolina State Archives include:

  • Cain, Barbara T. Guide to Private Manuscript Collections in the North Carolina State Archives. 3rd rev. ed. (Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division, 1986. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.6 A3c This lists about 12,000 collections with family histories, Bible records, biographical information, state and local records, records of organizations, banks, businesses (over 480 account books), schools, and historical subjects. The guide is well indexed.
  • North Carolina, Division of Archives and History. Guide to Research Materials in the North Carolina State Archives. Section B: County Records. 11th rev. ed. (Raleigh, North Carolina: Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1997.) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.6 A3gr
  • North Carolina, Division of Archives and History.Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives. 12th rev. ed. Raleigh, North Carolina: Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 2009. (Family History Library book At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.6 A3gc

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources[edit | edit source]

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources was formed in 1971 to serve as an outreach to broaden minds and spirits, preserve history and culture, and to recognize and promote cultural resources as an essential element of North Carolina’s economic and social well-being. It has organized all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Cultural Resources serves more than 19 million people annually through three major areas: The Arts, The State Library of North Carolina and Archives and History.

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
includes the State Library, the State Archives, 27 Historic Sites, 7 History Museums, Historical Publications, Archaeology, Genealogy, Historic Preservation, the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Cultural Resources employs just over 1,000 people, and has one of the smallest budgets in state government. The department is comprised of the Office of Archives and History and the Office of Arts and Libraries.

For more information about the State Archives and the State Libraries holdings and services, see their websites above. 

National Archives Southeast Region (Atlanta)[edit | edit source]

The National Archives Southeastern Regional Branch in Morrow, Georgia has both a Microfilm Research Room and an Archival Research Room. There is an extensive microfilm collection of value for genealogy research and general historical interest. There is also about 70,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from 1716 to the 1980s, primarily textual records but also maps, photographs, and architectural drawings.

National Archives Southeast Region (Atlanta)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260

Telephone: 770-968-2100
Fax: 770-968-2547

University Collections[edit | edit source]

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill[edit | edit source]

A web page containing suggestions for genealogical research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is found at UNC Libraries Website

Two libraries at the University of North Carolina with departments and collections of interest to genealogists are the Wilson Library and the Davis Library.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – The Wilson Library

The Wilson Library includes the special collections, manuscript, and map departments. Addresses and holdings of the departments follow:

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    North Carolina Collection
    Wilson Library CB 3930
    Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890
    Telephone: 919-962-1172
The North Carolina Collection contains published works on North Carolina and its people. The collection does not have original records. They have a file of newspaper clippings on North Carolina. The file does not include obituaries.
The Manuscript Department collects personal papers, letters, and diaries of early North Carolina residents. The Family History Library has the following guides to their manuscript collection:

A Guide to the Manuscript collections may be found at the Family History Library. The university’s Internet site contains an inventory of the records the Manuscript Department has received since they published the 1976supplement.

  • Blosser, Susan Sokol, and Clyde Norman Wilson Jr. The Southern Historical Collection: A Guide to Manuscripts.Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Library, 1970.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975 H23s This guide may help you locate biographical and local history information pertaining to a family.
  • Smith, Everard H. Southern Historical Collection: Supplementary Guide to Manuscripts, 1970–1975. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Library, 1976. WorldCat 2401855; FHL book 975 H23s supp

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – The Davis Library

Though the Davis Library mainly collects materials for the humanities and social sciences, they are the designated government depository for the state. Their collection includes many federal papers.

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Davis Library CB3916
    Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890
    Telephone: 919-962-1151

Duke University[edit | edit source]

Duke University
William R. Perkins Library
Manuscript Department
104 Chapel Drive
Durham, NC 27708
Telephone: 919-660-5800

Duke University has holdings on the American South and North Carolina. The libraries' collections contain published diaries, letters, papers, maps, newspapers, and public documents.

Trilley, Nannie M., and Noma Lee Goodwin, Guide to the Manuscript Collections in the Duke University Library. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1947. FHL film 899894; book 975.6 B5d ser. 27–28. This guide lists about 8,000 names of individuals, families, and historical subjects, and it is indexed.

Olivia Raney Local Library[edit | edit source]

Olivia Raney Local History Library
4016 Carya Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina 27610
Phone: 919-250-1196

The collection of 18,178 items is primarily local and family history oriented, broadly interpreted to serve the diverse background of local residents today. One will find background materials on American, North Carolina and local history for students and researchers. For the genealogist, there is a variety of resources covering both American and international geographical areas. Researchers can contact library staff for more information.

A resource for locating archives in Appalachia is:

  • Archives in Appalachia: A Directory. Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1985. (Family History Library book 975 A3a.) The record covers the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The record is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the name of the repository. Each entry lists the archive, its address, phone number, inclusive dates of the collection, the records of the collection, what subjects are covered by the collection, and the size of the collection. There are two indexes: Record type, and Subject, with reference numbers corresponding to the repository. Also included is a list, under “Coming Attractions,” of agencies that do not currently collect manuscript materials but plan to do so in the future.

North Carolina Digital Collections[edit | edit source]

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

Inventories of County Records[edit | edit source]

To learn more about the history and records of North Carolina counties, use the inventories that have been published for each county. These inventories have been printed in:

The Historical Records of North Carolina, 3 vols. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Historical Commission, 1938–39. FHL film 1036384; book 975.6 A3hr The inventories are in alphabetical order by county.

Guides and inventories for collections at archives and libraries can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under: