North Carolina Vital Records

North Carolina Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of North Carolina regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates and are compiled and stored in permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. Birth records usually give the name and sex of the child; the names, birthplaces, and ages of the parents with the mother’s maiden name; the occupation of the father; and the number of children born to the mother. Birth records of adopted children may give the birth parents but have frequently been amended to show only the adoptive parents. A year-by-year search of birth records may reveal other children born to a couple. Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1913 and was generally complied with by 1920. In some cities, record keeping began earlier. For example, Raleigh began recording births in 1890 and deaths in 1885. Counties, where the births and deaths occur, keep a duplicate copy of the information they send to the state office.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. Statewide registration of deaths began in 1913.  Compliance in most counties was reached by 1917. Death records usually give information about the deceased, such as name, age, birth date, state or country of birth sometimes the city or town, names of the parents frequently including the maiden name of the mother and the informant. The date and place of death are given. Sometimes burial information, the cause of death, and the names of the physician and mortician are provided. The length of residence in the state or county may also be given. Original death records 1913–1975 for most counties and indexes for 1913–1979 are available from the North Carolina State Archives. It is less expensive to request a death certificate from the county Register of Deeds and the North Carolina State Archives.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. From 1669 to 1742, marriages were performed by clergy or civil authorities and were recorded in county records. Few of these records have survived, except for those of Pasquotank FHL Film 19496 and Perquimans FHL Films 370662 counties. From 1741 to 1868, either a publication of banns or the posting of a bond was required before a marriage could take place. Marriage records from 1868 to 1962 are kept by the register of deeds in each county. In 1868, new laws made the only official marriage record the county marriage license.  Statewide registration of marriages began in 1962. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of county marriage records for most counties through the 1950s.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1935, the North Carolina State Legislature passed a law named the North Carolina Public Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2005 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: Chapter 132: Public Records. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The law is similar to the North Carolina Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The North Carolina Public Records Law intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public access and copying.


North Carolina State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (980) 319-1929

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
  • Location
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  • Case Summary
  • Docket
  • Police Report
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  • Case File
  • Statements
  • Transcripts
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  • Disposition
  • Trial Records
  • Arbitration
  • Case Evidence
  • Witnesses
  • Interviews
  • Descriptions
  • Mugshots
  • Charges
  • Legal Motions
  • Attorney Records
  • Prosecution Records
North Carolina Mecklenburg County Courthouse 1925-1928

North Carolina Mecklenburg County Courthouse 1925-1928