North Carolina Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny and Gareth L. Mark for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the North Carolina Family History Research series.
History of North Carolina
North Carolina Vital Records
Census Records for North Carolina
Background Sources for North Carolina
North Carolina Maps
North Carolina Land Records
North Carolina Probate Records
North Carolina Court Records
North Carolina Tax Records
North Carolina Cemetery Records
North Carolina Church Records
North Carolina Military Records
North Carolina Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
North Carolina Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Ethnic Groups of North Carolina
North Carolina County Resources
Map of North Carolina

North Carolina State Archives, North Carolina Division of Historical Resources

109 E. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27611
Mailing Address:
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4617

The North Carolina State Archives maintains and provides public access to a voluminous collection of original and microfilmed material that ranges from the sixteenth century to the present. It publishes North Carolina Historical Review, as well as many guides to their collections (see Background Sources for North Carolina) and other books. It houses more than 50,000 linear feet of materials, containing more than one million individual items. The North Carolina State Archives will perform searches for residents of North Carolina without charging a fee. Out-of-state residents must pay $20 for each letter sent, for which the archives staff will answer one question about a specific person. The fee must accompany each letter. Requests may be sent by U.S. Postal Service, fax, or e-mail. See for guidelines and details about how to phrase questions.

Other online features include MARS (Manuscript and Archives Reference System), a catalog containing descriptions of some of the records at the North Carolina State Archives. Also the Guide to Research Materials in the North Carolina State Archives: County Records, a listing of more than 9,000 bound volumes, 21,000 boxes, and over 24,000 reels of microfilmed county government records and documents (downloadable in PDF and Microsoft Word formats). Of great interest to genealogists is Original County Estate Papers, a listing of the names of persons whose estate documents are on file at the archives and the year the estate was probated.

Genealogical Services Branch, Division of North Carolina State Library

109 E. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27611
Mailing Address:
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4617

Located in the same building as the North Carolina State Archives, the Genealogical Services Branch includes an extensive array of published and printed sources for genealogical research, as well as microfilmed census records for many states. The library's catalog is on its website.

North Carolina Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 1492
Raleigh, NC 27602

The society publishes The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal (see North Carolina Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections) and has a useful website.

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

In addition to an extensive list of publications coming from the University of North Carolina Press, the university houses the following: the Southern Historical Collection, which can be browsed at; the North Carolina Collection Gallery, an exceptional and extensive collection of books, images, and museum pieces described at; and a tremendous Reference Section outlined at

Duke University

William R. Perkins Library
Durham, NC 27701

This fine collection focuses on, but is not limited to, the southeastern part of the state (see African American).

Smaller collections of genealogical and historical material exist throughout the state in local genealogical and public repositories. See Jo Ann Williford and Elizabeth F. Buford, eds., A Directory of North Carolina Historical Organizations (Raleigh, N.C.: Department of Cultural Resources for the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies, 1982), for descriptions of member organizations. See also Society of North Carolina Archivists, Archival and Manuscript Repositories in North Carolina: A Directory (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.: M. M. Hofmann, 1993) for a list of 133 repositories, contact points, and holdings.