About Us |Government Offices |eServices |Demographics | Sites/Buildings | Business Assistance | Tourism | Quality of Life
  Message from Register
General Information
  Search Our Records
  Order Vital Records Online
  Fee Schedule
  Common Terms
  FAQ
   
  History of the Office:
  Origins & Record Keeping Methods
  List of Register of Deeds & Biographies
 
Real Property Records:
  Recording Information
N.C. Document Standards
  Maps / Plats
  Cancellations
  UCC Information
  Document & Indexing Abbreviations
  Identity Theft Protection Act
   
  Vital Records::
Birth Records
Death Records
Marriage Records
  Marriage License
Military Discharges
   
  Genealogical Information:
  Genealogical Information
   
  Other Services:
Notary Public Information
Assumed Names / DBA Information
   
  Useful Links:
Links
Duplin Co. Government Telephone Directory
 
 
 
 


Genealogical Records

The archives housed in the Register of Deeds Office are perhaps the richest source of personal history in North Carolina.  Every important transfer of property, virtually all marriages since 1868, and practically all births and deaths since 1913 are housed in the various Register of Deeds Offices across our state.  The genealogical value of these records and the data contained therein is obvious and essential to historians both now and for all future generations. 

SEARCHING OUR RECORDS

You may search Duplin County public birth, death, marriage and property records in the Office of the Register of Deeds free of charge. No appointment is necessary. You may visit our office between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday of each week excluding legal holidays.  Our office is located in Room# 106 of the Duplin County Courthouse Annex at 118 Duplin Street; Kenansville, North Carolina 28349.

All records in the Register of Deeds Office are public records, except for certain health information on birth certificates, are public records within the meaning of the public records law, although access to certain other records, such as military discharges, is restricted.  Thus, the public is allowed to inspect and purchase copies of the records.  Additionally, all of our birth, death, marriage records, and African-American Cohabitation records as well as our property records from 1750 – present may be searched online at: rod.duplincounty.org

 

Birth Certificates
1913 to Current

An act of 1715 required the Register of Deeds to maintain a register of births, marriages and deaths until parish clerks had been appointed to take over the duty.  The registration of births, marriages, and deaths was, however, apparently never seriously undertaken.  Governor Tryon in 1767 stated that at that time no such records was being kept in any county in the colony.  The act of 1777 relating to the office of the Register of Deeds provided no other duty than the recording of property conveyances and the fee bill of 1778 omitted fees for the registration of births, deaths and marriages.  

In 1913, Duplin County along with all of North Carolina’s other 99 counties was finally required to keep a record of births and deaths through the passage of yet another act.  This act of the North Carolina General Assembly placed upon the State Board of Health the responsibility for keeping such vital statistics.  Local registrars (not to be confused with the Register of Deeds), appointed by the County Commissioners but responsible to the State Board of Health, were charged with securing a copies of each birth a certificate signed by the attending physician or midwife or by one of the parents and in the case of death certificates signed by the attending physician or local health officer, the undertaker and other informant.  The original copies of the birth and death certificates were forwarded to the State Registrar and a duplicate copy was deposited with the Register of Deeds.  The Register of Deeds was required to preserve and index the record. 

Today, the local Health Director serves as the local registrar of vital records in each county.  His/her duty is to examine each certificate when submitted to determine if it has been completed in accordance with the General Statutes and Administrative Code of the State of North Carolina.  Once the local registrar signs the certificates, the original is then forwarded to the State Registrar a copy of each transmitted to the Register of Deeds of the county in which the event took place within seven days of his/her receipt of a birth or death certificate.  The Register of Deeds is required to file, index, and preserve the copies that they receive from the local registrar. 

The State of North Carolina officially began keeping birth certificates in October of 1913.  To locate a date of birth for those individuals who were born prior to 1913, you must use such records as delayed birth certificates, wills, headstones, and family Bibles.

All of Duplin County’s birth records have been keyed into our computer birth database and are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via our internet website: rod.duplincounty.org .  If using the internal search program at a public terminal in the Register of Deeds Office you will be able to view and print the full index information as well as view an image of the actual birth certificate.  However, if you are searching remotely via the internet you will only get index data which only gives the year of birth and not the full date of birth.  The remote search system also omits the mother’s maiden name. 

Generally, all birth certificates contain the place and date of birth, the full name, and sex of the child as well as the name residence, age or date of birth and birthplace of the parent(s). 

Birth Certificates filed from 1913 thru 1967 and from July of 1981 thru the certificates currently being recorded contain the race of the parent(s). 

Birth Certificates filed from 1913 thru 1967 also contained the education of the parent(s), the occupation of the parent(s), number of children born to the mother and the number living, as well as a statement as to whether the birth was single or plural.

It should be noted that prior to 1955 Duplin County did not have a hospital and thus all of the births either occurred at private residences or in medical clinics.  Unfortunately, this coupled with various other factors have caused birth records which pre-date the founding of Duplin General Hospital birth records to often contain inaccuracies, errors, and omissions.

Delayed
Birth Certificates (delayed births)

Individuals who were born before birth registrations or failed to have a birth certificate, can apply for a delayed birth certificate.  

Duplin County has 2,756 delayed birth certificates for births occurring before October 1913 when the State of North Carolina began requiring counties to keep a record of births.

All of Duplin County’s delayed birth records have been keyed into our computer birth database and are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via our internet website: rod.duplincounty.org.  If using the internal search program at a public terminal in the Register of Deeds Office you will be able to view and print the full index information as well as view an image of the actual birth certificate.  However, if you are searching remotely via the internet you will only get index data which only gives the year of birth and not the full date of birth.  The remote search system also omits the mother’s maiden name. 

Death Certificates

1913 to current

The State of North Carolina officially began keeping death certificates in 1913.  To locate a date of death for those ancestors who died prior to 1913, you must use such records as wills, headstones, and family Bibles.

All of Duplin County’s death records have been keyed into our computer death database and are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via our internet website: rod.duplincounty.org.  If using the internal search program at a public terminal in the Register of Deeds Office you will be able to view and print the full index information as well as view an image of the actual birth certificate.  However, if you are searching remotely via the internet you will only get index data. 

Generally, all death certificates contain the name of the decedent, the date of death, the date of birth or age at death, birthplace, occupation, name of spouse if applicable, and the place of burial.  They also list the cause of death along with contributory or secondary causes/factors.  Additionally, death certificates also contain the parent(s) names, along with their birthplace(s).

Keep in mind that information supplied for the death certificate is given by an "Informant" and may contain inaccuracies.

Marriage Licenses

April 20, 1867 to present

In spite of the act of 1715 relating to marriage records noted above, prior to 1850 no official record of marriages was kept in North Carolina except the marriage bonds posted by the groom and his bondsman, which were filed with the Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.  In 1850, however, an act was passed requiring all ministers and magistrates to transmit to the Clerk of that court a certificate of every marriage celebrated by them and requiring the Clerk to record such marriages.  With the abolition of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1868, the duty of keeping a record of marriages was transferred to the Register of Deeds, and in 1872 the manner of keeping the record was prescribed in detail.

Today, the Register of Deeds is responsible for issuing licenses for all marriages to be performed within the State of North Carolina and for keeping the appropriate records of all marriages actually performed in the state.

The Duplin County Register of Deeds has a complete index of all of the marriage licenses that have been issued since 1867.  However, only a very few of the original licenses issued between the date that the earliest license was issued April 20, 1867 and the end of 1902 survive. 

The original paper index to the licenses issued prior to 1903 lists the following information for each entry: date of issuance; name of the intended husband and bride along with their place of residence, age, and color; the page number from old book; the name of the officer celebrating the marriage; date of marriage; place of marriage; and the names of three witnesses present at the marriage. 

There are only 482 of the original 4,736 licenses that were issued between 1867 and the end of 1902 that survive.  Of those licenses that survive: 3 are from 1893; 119 from 1894; 85 from 1895; 52 from 1896; 41 from 1899; 147 from 1900; and 35 from 1902. 

All of Duplin County’s marriage records have been keyed into our computer marriage database and are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via our internet website: rod.duplincounty.org.  If using the internal search program at a public terminal in the Register of Deeds Office you will be able to view and print the full index information as well as view an image of the actual birth certificate.  However, if you are searching remotely via the internet you will only get index data. 

Duplin County Marriage Bonds and Certifications

Prior to 1868

It was not until 1868 that North Carolina first began to issue marriage licenses.  Prior to that year, in order to wed the bridegroom and his bondsman were required to obtain a marriage bond from the Clerk of the County Court in the county in which the intended bride resided. The bond represented the couples intention to marry, not that the marriage actually occurred.

The Duplin County Register of Deeds Office has an alphabetized index book of 1,540 marriage bonds issued in Duplin County prior to 1868.  The list was complied by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1937.  This book lists the name of the bride and groom, the date of the bond as well as the names of the bondsman and witness.

Additionally, we also have a copy of a booklet published by the Duplin County Historical Society in 1993 entitled: “Missing Original Marriage Records Duplin County 1851-1872.”  This booklet was compiled by Mr. Kellon Maready and contains both marriage bond as well as marriage certifications.  This booklet is divided into three sections.  The first section contains an abstract of a marriage register covering the period 1867-1872 and lists such information as:  the names of the bride and groom; the names of the bride and grooms parents; the place of the marriage; the date of the marriage; and the official performing the ceremony.  The second section is an abstract of marriage bonds during the time period 1851-1866 and lists: the name of the bride and groom; the page number in the old register and the date of the bond.  The third and final section is an abstract of marriage certifications from 1866-1868 which lists: the name of the bride and groom; date of marriage and the name of the official who performed the ceremony.

The original Duplin County marriage bonds are in the custody and care of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The address for the Division of Archives and History is 109 East Jones Street; Raleigh, NC 27601-2807 and their phone number is :(919) 733-3952. Their web address is: http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/records

African-American Cohabitation Records 1866-1868

The Duplin County Register of Deeds Office has a handwritten index book which contains African-American Cohabitation records recorded in Duplin County between 1866 and 1868.  These records came into existence as a way for former slaves who had lived together as man and wife prior to and during the Civil War to receive a formal legal acknowledgment of their marriages.  This process became necessary as North Carolina state law had not permitted marriages between slaves. 

Immediately following the end of hostilities, many freed men and women wanted the state to formally recognize their unions.  On March 10, 1866, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation which required the recently emancipated persons to appear before the Clerk of Court or a Justice of the Peace to acknowledge themselves as man and wife and have their marriages recorded.  The county was required by the act to keep and maintain a record book for the purpose and to collect a fee of .25 cent for each entry made.  Initially all such records of cohabitation were to be registered before September 1, 1866 but in 1867 the deadline was extended to January 1, 1868.

The NC Division of Archives and History reports that records of cohabitation have survived in only fifty-two counties in North Carolina.  The number ranges from three records in Mitchell County to about 1,900 in Craven County.  The records show the name of the man, the name of the woman, and the time they lived together as man and wife prior to 1866.  Duplin County is very lucky to have such an extensive list of cohabitation records among its historical records. 

In addition to the names of the husband and wife the book also lists the date of the acknowledgment, the year their cohabitation commenced, and the number of years they had been cohabitating.  The original handwritten records have been transcribed and a computerized database of the records created.  The records can be searched via the office’s internal computer system as well as on our external internet search site.

Military Discharge Records

A record of Military or Armed Forces Discharges has been kept by the Register of Deeds since 1921 when an act requiring that the Register of Deeds record all official discharges and certificates of lost discharge.  There is no restriction on public access to military discharges that have been on file for more than fifty years.  Due to privacy concerns brought about by sensitive personal information contained within these documents, discharge records that have been on file for less than fifty years are restricted to the veteran, their authorized representative, agents of various government agencies representing veterans, court officials, and the NC Division of Archives and History.

The Register of Deed Office houses 15 volumes of military discharge records.

Property Records
1750-Present

The largest group of records in the Office of the Register of Deeds are those relating to property titles.  The Register of Deeds office as we know it today in North Carolina traces its roots back to the Lords Proprietors who colonized the region under a charter from King Charles II. In order to entice and lure settlers to the area the Lords Proprietors quickly realized that they would have to make certain written concessions regarding individual rights on which the settlers could rely. They wanted some guarantees in regards to their property rights and titles. As a result they executed, “The Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina, of 1665.” Item 3 of this act provided for the appointment of “chiefe registers or secretarys.”

The laws relating to the registration of property conveyances have been altered and amended over the history of our state but the fundamental principles of the recording of property conveyances has remained unchanged.

The Duplin County Register of Deeds Office has a complete record of all property conveyances dating back to 1750 when the county was founded. 

All of the indexes to our property records from 1784 thru the present are available for searching both at the Register of Deeds Office and also remotely via our internet website: rod.duplincounty.org.  Additionally, all of the property records books have been scanned and are available for viewing and downloading with the exception of books 20, 22, 33, 43, 106, 249, 276, and 318.  These books are however available at the Register of Deeds Office.

Duplin County was split in 1784 and what was the western part of Duplin County became present day Sampson County.  When Sampson County was created the books containing the records of property conveyances were transferred and housed in the Office of the Sampson County Register of Deeds.  The Duplin County Register of Deeds Office obtained copies of the original 8 books of property conveyances in the early 1960’s.  These records have also been scanned and a computer index created.  These property records from 1750-1784 are available for searching, viewing, and downloading via the office’s internal computer system as well as on our external internet search site.

Duplin County Census Records

Census records can give valuable information about your ancestors and surnames in your genealogy research.  The first U.S. Census was in 1790 and there has been one every ten years since then.  Census records can provide the names of family members, years of birth, location of birth, profession, and much more.

The Duplin County Register of Deeds office has “unofficial” transcriptions of the United States census of Duplin County from 1850, 1870 and 1880.

Wills and Records of Estates

Although not housed in the Register of Deeds Office, wills are a very valuable genealogical record.  A will is a document in which a person directs how the desire their estate to be distributed upon death.  The probate of wills or the process in which the will becomes official has always been under the jurisdiction of the courts in North Carolina.  Thus, all wills and records relating to probate are housed in the Office of the Clerk of Court.

A typical will can often provide the names of the spouse, the children and other family members of the testator or the person who made the will.  The spouse, children, family members and others individuals who receive from the estate are known as devisees.  Wills also list an executor or executrix who is the person responsible for carrying out the wishes of the testator.

If a person dies without a valid will then they are said to have died intestate.  These proceedings are called administrations.  In such cases the Clerk of Court must appoint an administrator(s) to administer or the assets of the decedent’s estate.  These estate files can also prove very informative to those doing genealogical research. 

The Duplin County Clerk of Court has indexes to wills dating back to the mid 1700’s and actual copies or abstracts of wills back to January 1913.  Records of Administrations date back to 1918.  The original wills prior to which survive are in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History in Raleigh, NC.
Contact the Duplin County Clerk of Court of Superior Court at (910) 296-1686 and ask for the Estates and Special Proceedings Division. You may write to them at:

Duplin County Clerk of Court
Post Office Box 189
112 Duplin Street
Kenansville, North Carolina 28349

The Duplin County Historical Society published a book in 1982 entitled, “Genealogical Abstracts DUPLIN COUNTY WILLS 1730-1860” by William L. (Bill) Murphy a copy of which can be viewed in the Duplin County Register of Deeds Office.

GENEALOGICAL REQUEST FOR UNCERTIFIED COPIES

You may purchase uncertified copies of any public record in Register of Deeds Office whether or not you are related to the person/people on the record.  In order to  order a copy of an uncertified record, please send a written request to: Duplin County Register of Deeds Office; Post Office Box 970; Kenansville, North Carolina 28349.  The written request must be signed by the requestor and also must provide the following information in order to be processed:

        For Birth Records:

  • provide the full name of the person for whom the request is sought
  • the mother's name as it appears on the birth certificate
  • the father's name as it appears on the birth certificate
  • date of birth or at a minimum the year of birth
  • check made payable to the "Register of Deeds" for $.25 for each uncertified copy requested
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope or provide an additional $0.50 for mailing fees

        For Death Records:

  • provide the full name of the person for whom the request is sought
  • where the person died
  • date of death or at a minimum the year of death
  • check made payable to the "Register of Deeds" for $.25 for each uncertified copy requested
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope or provide an additional $0.50 for mailing fees

        For Marriage Records:

  • full name of the groom
  • full maiden name of the bride
  • date of marriage or at a minimum year of marriage
  • check made payable to the "Register of Deeds" for $.25 for each uncertified copy requested
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope or provide an additional $0.50 for mailing fees

         For Property Records:

  • name of the grantor
  • name of the grantee
  • date of recordation
  • instrument type (deed, deed of trust, etc.)
  • check made payable to the "Register of Deeds" for $.25 for each uncertified copy requested
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope or provide an additional $0.50 for mailing fees
  • or

  • Book and Page where document is located
  • check made payable to the "Register of Deeds" for $.25 for each uncertified copy requested
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope or provide an additional $0.50 for mailing fees

OTHER SOURCES OF DUPLIN COUTY GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION

The Duplin County Historical Society
Post Office Box 775
Kenansville, North Carolina 28349
336-342-5901
http://www.duplinhistory.org

NC Department of Archives & History:
109 East Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2807
919-733-3952
http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/records

RELATED LINKS

Historical Societies and Associations

Organizations

Libraries

 

Phone: (910) 296-2108
Fax: (910) 296-2344
Mailing Address: PO Box 970, Kenansville, NC 28349
Location: Duplin County Courthouse Annex, Room #106
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
E-mail: dbrinson@duplincountync.com