Research in North Carolina Church and Bible Records
North Carolina Church records can be a rich source of information for the genealogical and historical researcher. In many parts of North Carolina, church records predate civil records. They for this reason record vital occurrences, supplying birth, marriage, and death facts which may otherwise be lost. Apart from furnishing names and dates, church records may expose associations between people and portray a family’s standing in the community. In addition, entries of a personal nature are not unheard of, and these can provide you with a glimpse into an ancestor’s identity or habits.
Before North Carolina County and city governments compiled vital records, many people documented crucial times, events, and names in their family Bible. Family Bibles are helpful research tools. Despite the fact that the dates are not guaranteed, Family Bibles are a tangible link with past generations.
Quaker missionaries named George Fox and William Edmundson came to the area in 1672, bringing the Society of Friends, which is what the Quakers called themselves, to North Carolina. Soon, Quakers came from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, making them one of the biggest religious groups in the area throughout the 1700s and 1800s. However, most Quakers had migrated to Ohio by the time the Civil War began because they were against both conflict and slavery.,
The Guilford College Library, which is located in the North Carolina city of Greensboro, has a large collection of Quaker documents on file. That includes original monthly meeting records and minutes. There are 6000 volumes in that collection and the information covered spans from 1680 to the present day. Early North Carolina Yearly Meeting and related monthly meeting records from Georgia, East Tennessee, and South Carolina are also part of that collection.
Church of England: In 1700 the Church of England became the second denomination to gain a foothold in North Carolina. Several years after the American Revolution ended they became known as Episcopalians, instead. There are no known surviving records from the Church of England parishes that were in North Carolina in the 1700s.
Moravians: The Moravians were also called the United Brethren. They came from Pennsylvania and bought around 100,000 acres of North Carolina land in 1753. That land then became known as “Wachovia.” They established the towns of Salem, Bethabara, and Bethania. They kept their records well. Researchers can obtain copies of many of those records by contacting Moravian Archives, Southern Province of the Moravian Church in America, Drawer M, Salem Station, Winston-Salem, NC 27108. Their holdings include manuscripts and historical books, as well as other Moravian documents.
Baptists: In the middle of the 1700s Baptists came to North Carolina. In 1755 they established the Sandy Creek Church, which later became known by the nickname “Mother of Southern Baptist Churches.” For approximately 200 years the Baptists became the most prominent North Carolina religious denomination. Many different churches split from the original Baptist church and records may vary, but do contain a lot of useful information.
The biggest collection of Baptist records for North Carolina is located at Wake Forest University in the Baptist Historical Collection of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.
Other Denominations: North Carolina is now home to many different religious groups, but there were only a small handful in the state’s early days. Tin the 1700s and 1800s those included the groups above, as well as the Lutherans and the Presbyterians.
The Highland Scots brought Presbyterianism to the area in the 1730s, when they settled near the Cape Fear River. The Scots-Irish who settled in the area from Virginia and Pennsylvania were also Presbyterians. The Presbyterian Historical Foundation, P.O. Box 847, Montreat, NC 27410 can provide historical information on those groups.
The Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s were Lutherans. They later moved into North Carolina through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They then joined the Spotsylvania and Orange County Germanna colonists’ descendants. Information on those groups can be obtained from the Archives of the North Carolina Synod, P.O. Box 2049, Salisbury, NC 28144.
- Research In State Church Records (ancestry.com) from The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.
- North Carolina Christenings, 1866-1964 (familysearch.org)
- Inventory of the church archives of North Carolina. (search.ancestry.com)
- North Carolina Church Books (amazon.com)
- North Carolina Bible Records (search.ancestry.com)
- North Carolina Bible Books (amazon.com)
Research in North Carolina Cemetery Records
While some vital records are off limits to the public, North Carolina cemetery records are a great way to get data. Depending on where you are looking, some states do not grant access to birth records or even death records. You can however use things such as North Carolina cemetery records and still be able to retrieve a great deal of data. This can be crucial to your genealogy records. For Definitions of all Cemetery Terms See Symbols on Gravestones and Their Interpretations
Many gravestone inscriptions from before 1914 in North Carolina have been indexed. That index is available to researchers in the North Carolina State Archives Search Room. A copy of the index on microfilm can also be accessed at the FHL. Both locations also have large collections of county cemetery records on file.
- Rootsweb North Carolina Cemetery Look Ups (rootsweb.ancestry.com)
- North Carolina Burials, 1898-1994 (familysearch.org)
- Web: North Carolina, Find A Grave Index, 1729-2011 (search.ancestry.com)
- North Carolina Tombstone Inscription Project (usgwtombstones.org)
- North Carolina Obituary Project (usgwarchives.net)
- Epodunk – North Carolina Cemeteries (epodunk.com)
- Find a Grave – North Carolina Cemeteries (findagrave.com)
- North Carolina Cemeteries at Internment.net (interment.net)
- The North Carolina Political Graveyard (politicalgraveyard.com)
- North Carolina Cemetery Books (amazon.com)
What can you find with North Carolina cemetery records? – You can find invaluable data such as:
- the deceased’s full legal name including a married woman’s maiden name
- the date of birth
- the original location of the person’s birth if not the same state
- the names of other family members
- the date of the death, obviously
For some people, going to the actual cemetery is the best way to obtain North Carolina cemetery records because they can also see the surrounding plots. There could very well be other family members and additional data you can only get in person, if you see the burial plots. For most people, however, getting the North Carolina cemetery records in some other way is the easiest route to take.
Things to Consider – Getting North Carolina cemetery records is not usually that complicated, but many people do like to try to hire someone else to find the data themselves. You can usually find North Carolina cemetery records on your own, but most of the times these are not free. There is usually some sort of fee,, and this can depend on how far back or how difficult your records are to retrieve. It is, of course, much easier if you at least know the county the person may be buried in.
This can get confusing because you may not know where the person is buried. North Carolina cemetery records could be affected by where the person actually went to church, not where their physical address was. In addition, keep in mind people who were born in another state may be returned there for burial and looking through North Carolina cemetery records would not provide any results.
Famous People Buried in North Carolina Cemeteries
|County||Name / Date / Cemetery||Description|
12/14/1902 – 12/6/1989
|Actress, most noted for her performance as “Aunt Bee” on the Andy Griffith Show TV series.
She appeared in 10 films and 4 television series.
8/27/1916 – 10/19/1994
Fort Bragg Main Post Cemetery
Born Margaret Yvonne Teresa Reed, she joined her parents’ vaudeville act at three years old.
Ocracoke British Cemetery
|HMT (His Majesty’s Trawler) Bedfordshire is one of the many ships that were torpedoed off the coast of North Carolina during World War II, giving the area between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout the nickname “Torpedo Junction.|
|Iredell||Earnhardt Sr. , Dale
4/29/1951 – 2/18/2001
|Auto Race Car Driver.
A legend in the sport of race car driving, he was a 7-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion.
12/24/1922 – 1/25/1990
Sunset Memorial Park
Born in a small town in North Carolina, after traveling to Virginia with her family for part of her childhood, she returned to the area to enjoy her teen years.
1/23/1898 – 3/2/1987
He was born George Randolph Crane in Orange County, Virginia while his parents were on a vacation.
|Montgomery||Warner, Henry F.
8/23/1923 – 12/21/1944
|World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.
He was killed in action.
|New Hanover||Brinkley, David
7/10/1920 – 6/12/2003
Brinkley was born on July 18, 1920, in Wilmington, North Carolina.
|Perquimans||Wolfman Jack (Robert Weston Smith)
1/21/1938 – 7/1/1995
Smith Family Estate
|Disc Jockey, Actor, Entertainer.
Born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn, New York.
|Richmond||Roussimoff, André ‘The Giant’
5/19/1946 – 1/27/1993
Roussimoff Family Ranch Grounds
|Professional Wrestler, Actor.
One of the largest athletes to participate in any sport, at his peak, he stood 7′ 4″ tall and weighed over 500 pounds.
|Surry||Bunker, Chang and Eng
5/11/1811 – 1/17/1874
White Plains Baptist Church Cemetery
Born in the Mae Klong Valley, Samut Songkhram Province, Siam (present day Thailand) to a Chinese father, Ti-aye and a Chinese/Cham mother, Nok.
North Carolina Cemeteries
|Cemetery Name||Cemetery City|
|Old Chapel Hill Cemetery||Chapel Hill|
|Sharon Memorial Park||Charlotte|
|Greenlawn Cemetery||China Grove|
|Cross Creek Cemetery||Fayetteville|
|New Bern National Cemetery||New Bern|
|Historic Oakwood Cemetery||Raleigh|
|Raleigh National Cemetery||Raleigh|
|Oak Grove-Freedman’s Cemetery||Salisbury|
|Salisbury National Cemetery||Salisbury|
|Wilmington National Cemetery||Wilmington|