North Carolina Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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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


A host of excellent periodicals regarding North Carolina genealogy have been or are currently being published, including The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal (Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1975'present) and North Carolina Genealogy, formerly The North Carolinian (Raleigh, N.C.: W. P. Johnson, 1955'75). These two periodicals provide an extensive array of instructive articles and transcriptions of original source material, making it important for the researcher to keep abreast of their contents. The North Carolina Office of Archives and History, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the Genealogical Branch of the State Library of North Carolina, and the FHL have copies of these and other periodicals of interest to the researcher.


North Carolina Gazette, the first newspaper published in North Carolina, appeared in August 1751. See Raymond Parker Fouts, Abstracts from the State Gazette of North Carolina (1982, rev. and enlarged ed., Cocoa, Fla.: GenRec, 1997) for genealogical abstracts for the period 1792 to 1795. Other newspapers followed and are detailed in H. G. Jones and Julius H. Avant, Union List of North Carolina Newspapers, 1751'1900 (Raleigh, N.C.: State Department of Archives and History, 1963). For updated information, see the North Carolina Online Union List of Serials (part of the OCLC Union List of Serials System), which covers the holdings of more than fifty libraries in North Carolina. It can be accessed via the Interlibrary Loan Subsystem of OCLC. Details of this service appear on the State Library website at

The most extensive collection of early North Carolina newspapers on microfilm is at the North Carolina State Archives; however, many other public and academic libraries have newspapers on microfilm. See Roger C. Jones, comp., Guide to North Carolina Newspapers on Microfilm: Titles Available from the Division of Archives and History, (6th ed., rev., Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Archives and History, 1984). See also Alan D. Watson An Index to North Carolina Newspapers, 1784'1789 (2d printing, Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 1997). For a list of the newspapers available on microfilm at the University of North Carolina, see


There are superior manuscript collections in North Carolina with comprehensive guides that were published before libraries and archives developed comprehensive online databases. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Manuscripts Department at provides an updated alphabetical catalog that includes the Southern Historical Collection. Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library also provides an updated catalog.

The North Carolina State Archives holds important collections of private papers, including correspondence, diaries, and account books. See Barbara T. Cain with Ellen Z. McGrew and Charles E. Morris, Guide to Private Manuscript Collections in the North Carolina State Archives (4th printing, Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 1999). Another important manuscript source comes from the Society of North Carolina Archivists, Archival and Manuscript Repositories in North Carolina: A Directory (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.: M. M. Hofmann, 1993); includes a list of 133 repositories, contact points, and holdings.

Another important manuscript source for North Carolina is the Draper Collection held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (see Wisconsin Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections). Microfilm copies of the collection may be found at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina State Archives, as well as other repositories.