County Records in the Archives

Note: The target audience of this blog post is NC county employees and officials

The State Archives of North Carolina’s holdings includes many county records. If you check your Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, these holdings often coincide with the records series that have a variant of “Transfer to the State Archives” in the disposition instructions:


How do you then instruct constituents with a general interest in the county’s historical government records? One way is to direct them to the State Archives public access catalog, MARS. When I want to see what records we have transferred and described from a particular county, I like to use the “browse” feature in MARS. Expand the node next to County Records by clicking on the plus sign:

Mars Browse - County Records

Then do the same to expand the node for county in which you are interested, such as Clay County. The trick is to keep expanding the nodes to get to the more specific catalog records. In keeping with the Divisions and Dowers Records example, if you expand the Record of Dowers and Widows’ Year’s Support node…

Clay County - Expanded Node

…and then click on the Record of Dowers entry, you can see more details about what we have available for public access:

Clay Record of Dowers

The information available in MARS is extensive, but not comprehensive. Feel free to email me at for an inventory of records transferred from your office.

For more tips and tricks on how to use MARS, check out our video tutorials available through YouTube.


One thought on “County Records in the Archives

  1. Pingback: Call Numbers for County Records at the State Archives | The G.S. 132 Files

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