Research Genealogy

The North Carolina Collection has many resources and materials that will be useful to family historians and genealogists. The Collection seeks to acquire all published family and local histories related to North Carolina, as well as published vital records.

Online Catalog

The University Libraries’ online catalog is a great place to start your search for materials on North Carolina families. Most of the holdings of the North Carolina Collection are included in the catalog. To search for materials on a specific family, enter the name of the family in the search box titled Words in Subject Heading. Then select North Carolina Collection from the Location pulldown menu in the second column of search boxes. For instance, to find material on the Smith family, type Smith Family in the box titled Words in Subject HeadingThen select North Carolina Collection from the Location pulldown menu. You can broaden your search, by selecting other collections in Wilson Library in the Location pulldown. The Southern Historical Collection includes the papers of many North Carolina families and individuals.

It is also possible to search the online catalog for all genealogical material related to a specific county. For instance, to find all genealogical material covering Mecklenburg County, type Mecklenburg County (N.C.)–Genealogy in the Words in Subject Heading box.

North Carolina People, Places, and Things

This search provides citations to books, pamphlets and newspaper clippings about people, places, businesses and issues that relate to North Carolina. This database contains citations to more than five hundred volumes of county, community and organizational histories. It also includes citations to bound volumes of clippings from newspapers and magazines—North Carolina Collection Biographical Clippings and North Carolina Collection Subject Clippings.

Clipping Files

For more than 50 years, staff members with the North Carolina Collection have clipped articles about notable North Carolinians, important North Carolina places and events, and issues that affect the state’s citizens. Photocopies of these articles are organized alphabetically and bound in volumes. Many of these volumes include an index. There are two series of bound volumes–biographical clippings and subject clippings. In some cases, there are separate volumes of subject clippings on specific topics, including the University of North Carolina, Orange and Wake counties, and African-Americans in North Carolina. The North Carolina People, Places, and Things search tool allows users to search by keyword across all the North Carolina Collection’s clipping files.

Census Records

The North Carolina Collection holds microfilm copies of the federal population census for North Carolina for the years 1790-1940, as well as several published indexes to census records. These materials are indexed in the online catalog.

Genealogy Databases

The University Library provides access to several databases with genealogical material. Because these databases are subscription-based, you must access them via a computer in one of the University libraries. Remote access is possible for those with a UNC ONYEN. Databases include:


The North Carolina Collection includes original copies and microfilm of many of the state’s newspaper titles. You can use the online catalog to search for them by title. Enter the name of the paper in the box labeled journal title. It’s also possible to search for all newspapers in a city or county. In the keyword search box, enter the name of the city or county followed by –newspaper. For example, to find newspapers for Statesville, type Statesville (N.C.)–newspapers.

Many of the newspaper titles held by the North Carolina Collection are also available digitally. Some may require a UNC ONYEN or use of University Libraries computers for access. Sources include: