Do you have ancestors who lived in or passed through North Carolina and stayed a while? If so, how many times have you checked the North Carolina State Archives to determine what records they might have that are not found at the county court in your location of interest?
In general, state archives are an under-used resource for most genealogists. Many less experienced researchers might have only a slight awareness that there is a state archive repository. Another reason for its under-utilization may be that archive holdings aren’t always the easiest websites to search and, if you find records you’d like to view, they might only be in microfilm format.
North Carolina, in my opinion, has one of the best state archives in the country. I’ve never visited, but it actively adds to its collections, digitizes records left and right AND has a great guide to viewing its holdings for each of the 100 counties in the state.
The Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives, Twelfth Revised Edition, 2009 is a reference book to which every North Carolina researcher should have access.
The format of the book is very straightforward. Each county in the state, presented in ABC order, has a list of Original Records and Microfilmed Records found in the North Carolina State Archives. These records include everything from bonds to election and land records to school records to wills and everything in between. There is also a handy map at the beginning of the book illustrating counties with lost records.
Personally, I prefer books that I can hold in my hand if I need to flip through lots of pages so I found a copy of this book on Amazon for just under $11. The University of North Carolina Press sells the same book for $19.
However, I want to share an even better find that I stumbled on by accident – the State Archives constantly updates the collections list for every county AND they are available for FREE on the website.
Take a look at this:
There is a Word doc for every county in North Carolina. The file is in the exact same format as the information in the published book, so essentially this is an up-to-date version of the 2009 book, available online. FOR FREE!
If you have North Carolina ancestry, this link should be bookmarked on your computer!