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North Carolina Public Records
North Carolina is the 10th most populated state in the U.S., with more than 9.6 million people currently calling this state home. The state was one of the English Thirteen Colonies, and was the 12th state to join the Union when it became an official state in 1789. Originally, North and South Carolina were joined in a single entity known as the Province of Carolina, but the two separated into separate areas in 1729. The long, rich history of this southeastern state can be traced in part by the many North Carolina public records on file today.
North Carolina makes public records searches relatively simple, by organizing the majority of current documents into a single location at the Department of Health and Human Services. However, researchers who are interested in digging beyond the time frame of this department will need to explore additional resources as well. Those who understand where the various North Carolina vital records are stored, and what is needed for retrieval of official copies of those documents, will enjoy a much smoother research process.
Before you launch a public records search in North Carolina, keep these facts in mind:
North Carolina Public Records Search: Who is Eligible?
To protect the identities of individuals on North Carolina public records, access to official copies of some of these documents may be restricted under state law. North Carolina limits access to birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Those who can receive certified copies of these North Carolina gov public records include the person on the document, an immediate family member or direct descendent, or a person requesting the information for legal reasons.
While certified copies of documents are restricted in this state, uncertified copies are available to any interested party. These documents provide essential information about those who were born, married or died in the state, but cannot serve as official identification or legal documents. Those who wish to obtain unofficial documents will need to provide all the information about the subject on the application and pay the appropriate fee to retrieve the appropriate North Carolina vital record.
Where to Find Public Records in North Carolina
The majority of public records in North Carolina are held at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. This office has NC birth certificates dating back to 1913 and death certificates dating back to 1930. In addition, the Department of Health holds marriage records beginning in 1962 and divorce records from 1958.
Researchers interested in finding documents that date back even further have several options. Older North Carolina birth records are typically kept on file at the county clerk where the event took place. North Carolina marriage and death records can also be found at the county office where the event was recorded. NC death records can be found through the State Archives of North Carolina.
The State Archives of North Carolina features additional public records for NC beyond older death certificates. This state office is the go-to place for various types of county records, veterans’ and military records and census files. The office even holds some historical documents like Civil War records and Revolutionary War pay records. Whether you are doing research for academic or personal reasons, you are sure to find an abundance of interesting information at this state office. A public records search for North Carolina can be conducted in person or by mail through the Archives.
North Carolina Public Records Online
For those seeking more recent vital records in North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services has an online option available. Although the agency is not set up to accept credit card payments for copies of official records, it has partnered with VitalChek to offer an online North Carolina public records search option to interested individuals. VitalChek allows you to search for specific documents and event order copies right from the comfort and privacy of home. Searches are fast, and relatively accurate if sufficient information is provided by the researcher. There is an additional fee for using the VitalChek service.
Traffic Records Section
3105 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-3105
Vital Records Branch
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1903
Vital Records Section
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1903
Driver License Records
Raleigh, NC 27699
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
State Legislative Bldg - Library
16 W. Jones Street, Rm 2226
Raleigh, NC 27603
Criminal Information & Ident Sect - SOR Unit
PO Box 29500
Raleigh, NC 27626-0500
901 Corporate Center Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607-5045
1100 New Bern Ave, Rm 100
Raleigh, NC 27697-0001