NC Vital Records: Research
Birth Records Outside of North Carolina
- Born Inside the United States: Birth certificates are maintained by each state for the people who are born in that state. If a person was not born in North Carolina, contact the state vital records office in the state where they were born to get a copy of the birth certificate. See the National Center for Health Statistics: Where to Write for Vital Records.
- Born Outside the United States: If a person was born outside the United States, but their parents were United States citizens at the time of the birth, see U.S. Department of State.
Finding Old Records
For records dated earlier than those found in our office:
- Birth Certificates: For births before 1913, contact the local county register of deeds office in the county where the birth occurred. Do not contact North Carolina Vital Records.
- Death Certificates: For death certificates prior to 1930, contact the North Carolina State Archives. A few delayed death records may exist back to 1909.
- Marriage Certificates: NC Vital Records has copies of marriage records dating back to 1962. For records prior to 1962, contact the county register of deeds where the marriage license was issued.
- Divorce Certificates: NC Vital Records has copies of divorce records dating back to 1958. For records prior to 1958, contact the county clerk of court where the divorce was filed.
To conduct genealogical research, check the records in the county where the event occurred or check with the North Carolina State Archives. The North Carolina Vital Records office should not be your first choice for information because we must have specific information before the search can begin, and we charge a $24 fee for each three-year period searched, whether or not the record is found.
- If you know the area where your ancestor lived, check the records in the county where the event occurred.
- Otherwise, check with the North Carolina State Archives or the Genealogy Section of the North Carolina State Library.
If you do request a copy of a specific record from North Carolina Vital Records, follow the directions on the Order a Certificate page and include a $24 certified check or money order for each three-year period searched.
If proper information and fees are received, we will provide you with an uncertified copy of the record located unless your request form indicates that you are legally entitled to a certified copy. [NCGS 130A-93 specifies who may receive certified as opposed to uncertified copies of vital records.]
Note: Records of adoptees are not available to the public.
Vital records data may be available in support of studies related to medical research. Information requests are reviewed by the State Center for Health Statistics, and may also require State Registrar or further approvals dependent upon the nature of the data requested. If you plan to conduct a study analyzing Vital Statistics data, please contact the State Center for Health Statistics. Staff will review the study protocol and respond promptly.
N.C. Vital Records provides data to the State Center for Health Statistics.
Last Modified: May 16, 2021