In 1585 ad 1587 groups of colonists from Great Britain were sent to Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Ralegh (often misspelled “Raleigh”). However, those attempts at building settlements in the area were not successful. Nevertheless, the first child of English parents born in America was born at Roanoke Island in 1587. Her name was Virginia Dare.

After the monarchy was restored in 1660, Charles II of England took power. On March 24, 1663 he gave rewards to 8 people who tried to help him regain his power. Those people, known as Lords Proprietor, were given the land that was at that time known as Carolina. It was named for his father, Charles I. From 1663 until 1729 Carolina was a British colony. Then South Carolina and North Carolina became separate provinces.

English colonists established permanent settlements near the Chowan River and the Roanoke River in 1653. From 1663 to 1665 the area had the status of being an English proprietary colony. It was also the site of several battles, rebellions, and raids, which included: Culpepper’s Rebellion (1677), The Quaker-led Cary Rebellion (1708), The Tuscarora Indian War (1711 to 1713)

There was not much fighting in North Carolina when the American Revolution took place. However, several people from North Carolina fought in the American Revolution in other areas. During the Civil War many North Carolina residents were against slavery, but the state as a whole was on the side of the Confederacy.

The State of North Carolina entered the union as the 12th state on November 21, 1789. It has 100 Counties.

Getting Started with North Carolina Genealogy and Family Trees

Useful Hints for North Carolina Genealogy Research – In the heart of America’s south, the state of North Carolina has a very long history. It was one of the first states to be settled, it has Native American populations, it was heavily involved in the Civil War, it has a large amount of African American heritage, and much more. These are all reasons that so many people look for North Carolina genealogy data, and why so much is available.

Useful Hints for North Carolina Genealogy Research – In the heart of America’s south, the state of North Carolina has a very long history. It was one of the first states to be settled, it has Native American populations, it was heavily involved in the Civil War, it has a large amount of African American heritage, and much more. These are all reasons that so many people look for North Carolina genealogy data, and why so much is available.

A Good Beginning for North Carolina Genealogy – As you begin to look for North Carolina genealogy information you will need to understand that your resources will be found both online and offline. There are not a lot of smaller town or local archives that have been converted into online digital entities, and that means your first step in researching for North Carolina genealogy information is to develop a list of the different records that you will explore. This begins with some background information about the basic locations for finding genealogical materials.

Basic Tools for North Carolina Genealogy Data – This article is going to provide you with details about the resources available for anyone doing research for North Carolina genealogy. It is important to know that the basic list that all researchers for North Carolina genealogy will use includes:

  • State Records – these offer probate information including birth certificates, deeds, death records, estate information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, state census information, surname lists, genealogical folders, maps, private manuscripts, newspapers, cemetery information, and more. These are available as online and offline resources for North Carolina genealogy.
  • Local Records – you will normally begin with the county clerk’s office or website, and then use local genealogical societies, historical societies, small local libraries, and school or college libraries to provide you with important information for North Carolina genealogy. These are things that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
  • Vital Records – birth, marriage, divorce and death records are available from county, state, and national archives. These are locations in which you will find cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, military records, immigration and naturalization details, passenger lists and records, and more. These are available as online and offline resources for North Carolina genealogy.

Your Main Resources for North Carolina Genealogy – There are many targeted resources for North Carolina genealogy information. The most substantial records for North Carolina genealogy can be found at:

  • NC Vital Records, 1903 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1903. This is where you can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records.

Additionally, many records can be found at the following:

  • North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, N.C. 27601. Here you can find records of state, county, and local governmental units, and copies of federal and foreign government materials. In addition to official records are many private collections, organization records, maps, pamphlets, sound recordings, photographs, motion picture film, and a small reference library too.

Lastly, websites such as those listed below will provide state-specific genealogical details that can work wonders for North Carolina genealogy enthusiasts.:


North Carolina Ethnic Group Research

African Americans – There are several large collections of historical documents relating to North Carolina African Americans. Some of them can be found at the University of North Carolina Library at Chapel Hill and at the Duke University Library in Durham. The National Archives also has a large collection on file, as do the Moravian Archives in Winston-Salem and the North Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Native American – There are not many Native American records available for North Carolina after 1838 because most of its Native Americans had been forced to move out of the state by then.

For example, after the Tuscarora War (1711 to 1715), the Tuscarora tribe relocated to New York. From 1825 to 1842 they were pushed even farther to the west, along with the Cherokees, into what later became present-day Oklahoma. However, several members of those tribes hid in the North Carolina mountains. They later became a band of eastern Cherokee Indians. Other Cherokees petitioned the state to gain official citizenship. If they proved that they could take care of themselves, they were given official certificates of residency.

The federal government maintains most Cherokee records. Many of those records can be found at the National Archives, including petitions to stay in the East, migration registers for those who went to the West from 1817 to 1838, and the 1835 Cherokee census record, known as the Henderson Roll. The Henderson Roll listed Cherokee Nation members from Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. The 1898 to 1939 Eastern Cherokee Reservation Census Rolls at the National Archives can also be a valuable source of information.

On July 1, 1902 Congress passed an act that gave jurisdiction over treaty stipulation claims between the United States and the Cherokees to the United States Court of Claims. The court found in favor of the Cherokees in all three of the suits that it tried. Over a million dollars was given by Congress to pay for those claims and the Secretary of the Interior was given the job of finding the Cherokee descendants who were entitled to portions of that money.

All Western and Eastern Cherokees who were alive as of May 28, 1906 and could prove that they were Eastern Cherokee Tribe descendants were to receive money. Claims had to be filed before August 31, 1907 with the claims agent. Almost 46,000 claims applications were filed on behalf of around 90,000 individuals. Around a third of those claimants were actually entitled to money. Eligibility was determined using 1835 to 1884 rolls and census lists, eventually leading to the creation of a new Eastern Cherokee Enrollment list in 1910.

The Five Civilized Tribes were given land by Congress on March 3, 1893. Congress also created a commission that was responsible for determining who was eligible to actually live on that land. More than 200,000 applications were filed. In 1903 allotments started to be handed out. All applicants had to submit affidavits and other documents to prove that they were part of the Cherokee Nation.

Some North Carolina Cherokee records can be found in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma Historical Society in their Indian Archives. The collection housed there contains around 6,000 bound volumes, about 3 million manuscript pages, and other documents relating to the Five Civilized Tribes. Aside from the collection held at the National Archives, it is the largest Native American document collection in the country. The North Carolina State Archives also holds many Native American resources, which it lists on its website.