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Research in Rowan County

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map of North Carolina with Roan County in blue

This week’s North Carolina County of the Week is Rowan County so I wanted to post some information about the county and doing research using county records.

Rowan County was created in 1753 from Anson County. Rowan split into other counties: Burke (1777), Davidson (1822), Davie (1836), Guilford (1771 – part from Orange  County), Iredell (1788), and Surry (1771).

Counties that border present day Rowan are (clockwise from the North to the West) Davie, Davidson, Stanly, Cabarrus, Iredell.

The closest early major migration route to Rowan County is the Upper Road, which went directly through Salisbury, Rowan County. The Upper Road begins north in Maryland and ends in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County.

The county seat is Salisbury, which was established in 1755. Salisbury was named after the town of the same name in England. The county was named after Matthew Rowan, the acting governor at the time of its creation.

Rowan County original records are located in the State Archives of North Carolina, but some records were destroyed by federal troops during the Civil War.  The Government and Heritage Library has some books and microfilm for Rowan County – view the catalog to see what books and microfilm our library has. Microfilm can be loaned to NC residents through their local libraries. Please contact your local public library about borrowing microfilm through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Read more about Rowan County at NCpedia.

You can also follow us this week to learn more about Rowan county on:


  1. Janet says:

    The Salisbury branch of the Rowan County Public Library has a wonderful Family History room upstairs. They are very helpful and have books for the entire state.

    1. Reference and Outreach says:

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for posting!

      NC Government & Heritage Library

  2. Do you have a list of genealogist that will do research on a Nichols family from that area?

    1. Reference and Outreach says:

      Hi Bettie,

      The NC chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists has a list,

      NC Government & Heritage Library

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