How To: Sources for NC Vital Records

Vital records (births/deaths) were not kept in North Carolina on a statewide basis before October 1913. For most counties, microfilm indexes of births and deaths (1913+) are available to researchers who visit the State Archives of North Carolina.

Quick guide to Birth and Death Records

Record Type Year Location
Birth certificates 1913+ County's register of deeds office or Division of Public Health
Death certificates 1913-1979 State Archives of North Carolina
" c. 1930+ Division of Public Health
" c.1979+ County's register of deeds office

 

State Archives of North Carolina

Holden Bible record birthdates pageHoldings include:

  • Bible records (online)
  • death certificates, 1913-1975 [statewide Index: 1913-1979]
  • microfilmed Indexes to births and deaths [except Wake, Durham]
  • marriage bonds, 1741-1868 [not required by law]
  • cohabitation records, 1866-1867
  • microfilmed marriage registers and indexes
  • microfilmed marriage licenses for many counties

Detailed information about holdings may be found in the County Records Box Lists of the State Archives of North Carolina.

County Register of Deeds Offices

County Register of Deeds offices house birth and death records and marriage licenses for their counties.

Ancestry Databases

North Carolina Birth, Marriage & Death Databases are available to Ancestry.com subscribers or for free at libraries that provide access to Ancestry Library Edition. Included are:

  • North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000 – Includes Delayed Birth registrations extending back into 18th century; these require documentary proof of birthdate or age, birthplace, and parentage from other records and must identify contemporary owner of family Bible if presented for proof. Durham, Wake, Forsyth, and Dare counties are not covered.
  • North Carolina Death Collection, 1908-2004 – Index; some entries include Index Images from microfilm copies of county death indexes.
  • North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 Images of certificates, including stillborn and fetal deaths.
  • North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868Index; bonds were not required by law.
  • North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 – Index, some images. Not all counties are yet included.
  • North Carolina Divorce Index, 1958-2004

learn moreLearn More: