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Getting Ready for Ancestry Day 2015

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Ancestry Day is this week (on November 6th and 7th) and lots of people are coming! I know some will come to the State Archives of North Carolina and the Government & Heritage Library,  (GHL) so here is some information to help you prepare. This post will be a bit long and a mixture of links to past posts and other online sources as well as information.

Let’s start with the difference between the State Archives of North Carolina  and the Government & Heritage Library. In summary, the Archives contains original documents such as deeds, wills, and court records. On the other hand, the GHL has published books, many of which are abstracts, indexes, and transcriptions of the original records located in the Archives. These are especially helpful with court minutes and deed books which have no easy way to go through them other than page by page. Learn more about the difference here.

You also need to know what to bring (or not bring) to the GHL and the Archives when you research. Biggest MUST is photo ID – either your driver’s license or state issued ID. You can’t get in the building without it. Also, if you plan to visit the Archives, you need ID to get in the search room. Learn more here

Knowing how the counties you are researching  were formed is very important. An ancestor could have lived in the same house for 100 years and lived in 4 different counties without actually moving. For example, an person born in Bladen County in 1745 and died in Cabarrus County in 1800 may have never actually moved. So where are the record from his marriage in 1761? How about his grant from 1775? His deed from 1781? You would need to look in 3 different counties to find those records. Learn more here. In some cases, researcher may only know a town name without the county. They might find the NC Gazetteer especially helpful.

Let’s take a look at some helpful links. The Government and Heritage Library has several handouts for patrons and most are online.

Speaking of Vital Records, here are some dates you need to know:

  • Birth Certificates began in 1913.
  • Marriages were recorded in marriage bonds 1741-1868 and marriage certificates after 1868
  • Death Certificates began in 1913, although some counties began as early as 1909.

Birth and death certificates: these are mostly located with the county Register of Deeds where the birth or death took place. Also, many early ones were never recorded. Learn more here. For marriages, learn more about marriage bonds through 1868 here. Learn more about marriage records after 1868 here. The Archives has birth, marriage, and death registers for some counties.

Finally, before you come, you may want to see if we have certain titles in our collection, or just browse the books we have for specific counties. Take a minute and check out our online catalog.  The State Archives also has a catalog of some of their records, especially wills, marriage bonds,  and some records filed under the Secretary of State series such as land grants from the state and military records. Their catalog is called MARS (Manuscript and Archives Reference System).

Looking forward to seeing everyone at Ancestry Day!

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