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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are North Carolina Vital Records Open to the Public?

As furnished by the North Carolina Public Record Laws, vital records are open for public inspection. These records are primarily generated and disseminated by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). However, interested and eligible parties may locate some records at the county level through the North Carolina Register of Deeds Office or court custodian office. Typically, access to these records depends on the type of record, local guidelines, and how far back the event occurred.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for North Carolina Vital Records Online?

 Requestors must provide the following information to obtain vital records:

  • The full name and suffix of the person named on the record/certificate
  • Date of event, county, and the city the event took place (if applicable)
  • Information about the parents of the person named on the record, such as birth state and birth country (birth records only)
  • Requestor’s information -- full name and suffix, home, and contact addresses
  • Identifying information of the requestor such as the last four digits of the social security number, date of birth, current age, ID number, and issuing state
  • The case number, case type, and name of the presiding judge (divorce records only)

How Do I Obtain Vital Records in North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina General Statutes, public members can obtain copies of vital records after providing the basic facts. The requirements for accessing these records vary depending on the type of record and the document’s sensitivity. Generally, no document is needed to obtain an uncertified copy of a marriage, divorce, birth, and death records in North Carolina. However, relevant documents become mandatory if official records are also requested. Acceptable documents include the “legible photocopy” of a government-issued photo ID such as driver’s license, non-driver photo ID card, current passport or visa, U.S military ID, current Student ID card, and other significant proofs of identification. Persons without the above cards may need to provide two minor proofs, such as a temporary driver’s license or a current utility bill. Alternatives include; bank statement bearing the current address, pay stub bearing the current address, state-issued concealed weapon permit, and any other government-issued letter received in the last six months.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party must provide: 

  • The location of the record in question including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.

 

What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and an Uncertified Copy?

In North Carolina, certified copies of vital records are official records bearing a raised seal, while uncertified copies are issued on plain white paper. Typically, certified copies of marriage, divorce, birth, and death records are used for official and legal purposes, while uncertified copies are tagged “uncertified” and thus reserved for informational and research purposes. Furthermore, unless otherwise specified, vital records are issued as abstract copies. These abstracts are a summarized and simplified form of the original document. This means that vital records in the state of North Carolina exist as certified abstracts, uncertified abstracts, and certified original copies.

Are North Carolina Marriage Records Public Information?

Yes. Marriage records in North Carolina are generally considered public records. However, following the North Carolina statutes, confidential and sealed marriage records are restricted and available to only eligible requesters. Also, the court may seal parts and portions of public marriage records containing sensitive information such as social security numbers from public inspection. Essentially, eligible persons include the couple themselves, members of the law enforcement agencies, some family law divisions, and persons with a court order or subpoena.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in North Carolina?

Marriage records are maintained at both the state and county levels, and the primary step in finding a document is first to determine the document’s location in question. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) maintains marriage records from 1962. The Register of Deeds located in the respective counties also maintains marriage documents for licenses issued by them. Interested parties must contact the North Carolina State Archives or the North Carolina State Library (Genealogy Division) for genealogical research. In addition to online searches, these offices feature other channels through which interested persons may inspect and collect copies of marriage records. They include:

  • In-person
  • By mail
  • By phone (where applicable) 

At the state level, requestors may utilize the same-day walk-in services by visiting the Vital Division of the Department of Health and Human Services with relevant information and documents. In addition, by mail, interested persons are required to send a printed and completed marriage application form along with a check or money order of $24 for the first copy and $15 for each additional copy of the same record to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Mail-in requests take an average of seven weeks to process. Interested persons may utilize the (additional $15) expedite services by marking the outside of the envelope “Expedite.”

Are North Carolina Divorce Records Public Information?

In accordance with the state statutes, North Carolina records pertaining to divorce, annulment, and dissolution of the union are designated public information and as such available to anyone. However, to reduce misuse of divorce records, requestors must provide sufficient identifying information such as the full names of persons named on the record, the date, location of the divorce, etc. While divorce records are presumed to be public, all or parts of a record may be sealed and therefore restricted to only eligible individuals.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in North Carolina?

Similarly, eligible persons can find divorce records in North Carolina online by searching the databases maintained by third-party research services or the applicable family court. At the state level, vital records may as well be requested by same-day walk-in requests or by mailing the divorce application form with appropriate fees to:

The Vital Statistics Department of the DHHS holds records of divorces occurring between 1958 to present. Generally, the county clerk of court manages records of divorces filed within their respective jurisdiction regardless of time. However, at the state level, vital records may as well be requested by same-day walk-in requests or by mailing the divorce application form with applicable fees via U.S mail to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Where expedited services are also requested, requesters may also send the form via UPS or FedEx to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Are North Carolina Birth Records Public Information?

Yes. Birth certificates are public information in the state of North Carolina. However, parts of North Carolina birth records containing sensitive information such as social security numbers and passwords may be redacted from uncertified copies of birth records. Also, sealed and confidential records are generally unavailable for public inspection. Requesters that wish to obtain confidential documents must obtain a certified court order to that effect.

How Do I Obtain North Carolina Birth Records?

In addition to online search portals, birth records can be viewed and copied in person or by mail at the applicable state, county, or city office. Eligible parties that wish to order birth certificate replacements must visit the most probable office. The DHHS maintains birth records from 1913 to date. The Register of Deeds located in all counties in the state also keeps records of births registered within their limits. For genealogical research, interested persons may contact the North Carolina State Library or State Archives.

To obtain a birth record from the DHHS, interested persons are required to print and complete the North Carolina birth application form and deliver it in person or by mail to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Where expedited services are also requested, requesters may also send the form via UPS or FedEx to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Mail-in requesters must attach a self-addressed stamped envelope, applicable fees of $24 for the first copy, and $15 for each additional copy of the same record as well as associated mailing fees and a government-issued photo ID (if certified copies are required).

Are North Carolina Death Records Public Information?

Yes. North Carolina death records are presumed to be public information in the state of North Carolina  However, parts of death records containing sensitive information such as the extended facts of death (the cause of death, manner of death, and final disposition) may be redacted from public death records. Furthermore, sealed and confidential documents are generally unavailable for public inspection and thus restricted to eligible requesters or persons with a certified court order.

How Do I Obtain North Carolina Death Records?

In addition to online search portals, interested and eligible persons can initiate a death record search by name in person or by mail at the applicable state, county, or city office. To adequately perform a death certificate search, the requesting party must visit the most probable office.

The DHHS maintains death records from 1930 to date. The Register of Deeds located in all counties in the state also keeps records of deaths within the respective counties. For genealogical research, interested persons may contact the North Carolina State Library or State Archives.

To obtain a death record from the DHHS, interested persons are required to print and complete the North Carolina death application form and deliver it in person or by mail to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Where expedited services are also requested, requesters may also send the form via UPS or FedEx to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

If sending by mail, the requesting party must attach a self-addressed stamped envelope, applicable fees of $24 for the first copy, and $15 for each additional copy of the same record as well as associated mailing fees and a government-issued photo ID (if certified copies are required).

How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in North Carolina?

Adoption records practically represent the statutorily sealed vital records in the state of North Carolina. As such, these records are sealed when the adoption process is finalized and thus restricted from public viewing. There are many conditions provided by the North Carolina adoption guidelines in which a person is furnished with the right to view adoption records in the state. They include:

  • If the requester is the named adult adoptee, adoptee’s surviving adult child or the birth parents of an adult adoptee
  • If the biological family and other persons involved consent to releasing the information
  • If the requester is an adult in search of an adopted sibling
  • If the requester is legally authorized by a court order to obtain information regarding adoption. 

The North Carolina DHHS maintains a Birth Family Search Information page that contains identifying and non-identifying information on adoptions finalized within the state limits. Generally, access to confidential information requires a court order. However, adult adoptees can obtain non-identifying information by submitting a written request to the office. Also, records may also be obtained by authorized parties if the consent of the persons involved is received.

North Carolina State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

North Carolina

Built in 1928, the Old Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte house civic and judicial offices until 1979.

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