Vital records are the cornerstone of genealogical research. In North
Carolina, birth certificates were not recorded until 1913. Although the 1913 law required all births to be recorded, many births during this period still took place in the home, so enforcement of the law took time. The exception to this is the cities of Raleigh and Wilmington. Raleigh began recording births as early as 1890 and Wilmington began in 1904. If your ancestor was born before these dates or if they were born after these dates and no birth certificate exists, it is necessary to use substitutes to prove their birth.
Possible substitutes include (but not limited to):
- Family Bible records
- Various county records
If you are looking for a bible record, you may want to check the North Carolina Family Records Online; an online database created by the State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina. This digital collection includes over 700 family Bible records.
If you are looking for obituaries, the Government and Heritage Library has an extensive newspaper collection on microfilm. See what newspapers are available. If you are not able to come to the Government and Heritage Library to view these yourself, you can ask your local public library to request the film through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
The Genealogical Services of the Government and Heritage Library has books that abstract and index the various county records in North Carolina. These books can only be used in Genealogical Services. Search the GHL catalog to find out what books we have.
To learn more about possible substitutes for vital records, Genealogical Services has created an webpage with information on vital record substitutes that is available online.