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Finding North Carolina Ancestors

Gaston County History

Gaston County was formed in December 1846 from Lincoln County. (See our guide Finding Lincoln County Ancestors for research sources prior to 1847).
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Did your family come from Gaston County? Here's a list of some basic resources in our collection to get you started. For help finding more, stop by the Reference Desk at the Gastonia Main Library.

  • Search our library Catalog by Subject for: Gaston County or by the name of a place, such as Cherryville.
  • 975.677 COP NCC. The County of Gaston: Two Centuries of a North Carolina Region (pub. 1961) by Robert F. Cope and Manley Wade Wellman. 274 pgs. Indexed.
  • 975.677 RAG NCC. History of Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina (pub. 2010) by Robert Allison Ragan. 669 pgs.
  • 975.677 SEP NCC. Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina, 1846-1949, ed. by Joseph H. Separk. 237 pgs. (including ads).
  • 975.677 WEH NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina: A Brief History (pub. 2008) by Rita Wehunt-Black. 159 pgs. Indexed.
  • 975.677 WIL NCC. Gaston County: A Pictorial History (revised ed. 1997) by Robert Leonard Williams. 236 pgs. Indexed.
  • 975.6773 GRI NCC. Gaston Remembers: Weaving a Tapestry in Time (pub. 1994) by Sally Griffin. 151 pgs. Partially indexed.
  • 975.6773 PUE NCC. History of Gaston County (pub. 1939, reprinted in 1997) by Minnie Stowe Puett. 222 pgs. The reprinted edition is indexed.
  • Click here for Indexes to more local history titles.

Vital Records


  • Ancestry Library Edition includes indexes and some actual certificates for North Carolina marriages, births, and deaths.
    • Remember that statewide birth and death registration started in 1913 in North Carolina.
  • Family Search has online the Index to vital statistics; births, 1913-1962, Gaston County, North Carolina (Browse images)
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  • 929.3 G NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1915, abstracted by Linda A. Bell, Colleen S. Miller, and Steven B. Painter. 211 pgs. Indexed.
  • 929.3 IND NCC (1913 – 1956) & 929.3 DEL NCC (1957 – 1970). Gaston County, North Carolina. Index to Vital Statistics --Death Records, compiled by Paul H. Dellinger, Phyllis Collins Dellinger and Sue Spivey Gladden.
  • Ancestry Library Edition (available in all library branches) includes death certificate images in “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976”
    • Remember that statewide birth and death registration started in 1913 in North Carolina.
  • Family Search:

Will Records

  • 929.3 TUR NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1846-1910, compiled by Grace Turner and Miles S. Philbeck Jr. 77 pgs. Indexed.
  • Will records and index, 1847-1963, Gaston County, North Carolina (Cross index and browse images)
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  • North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970 (Not indexed, but you can browse images)
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  • Gaston County Microfilm Records. Microfilm copies of the following Gaston County records are in the North Carolina Collection:
    • Cross index to wills, 1847-1963 (vols. 1-2)
    • Index to wills, devisees, 1963-1968
    • Index to wills, devisors, 1963-1968
    • Record of wills, 1847-1968 (vols. 1-16)

Estate Records


The Gastonia Gazette (later The Gaston Gazette starting January 2, 1989). 

The Main Library has the Gastonia Gazette on microfilm beginning with the February 21, 1880 issue. However, there are many missing issues in the early years. 

The Historic North Carolina Digital Newspaper Collection has digitized online content from some of the issues of the Gastonia Gazette. (More issues are available on microfilm at the Gastonia Main Library) Log in to NC Live with your library card number for online access.

The Gastonia Gazette (Gastonia, N.C.) has issues from the years: 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, and 1909 that are only available online at DigitalNC North Carolina Newspapers Collection.


At this time, there is only limited indexing to the Gazette newspaper and/or the obituaries.

Gaston Gazette Index
1880 - 1889 929.5 GAS NCC. The Gastonia Gazette Obituary and Marriage Index: “Gaston in the Eighties” (1880s).
From 1915 to 1919 the Gazette occasionally reprinted notices from its earlier issues in the 1880s. These are useful because in some cases the original issue no longer exists.
1880 - 1899 929.5 GAS NCC. The Gastonia Gazette Obituary and Death Notices Index, 1880 - 1899.
1900 - 1969 No indexing.
1970 Ask at the Reference Desk at Gastonia Main Library.
1971 - 1979 No indexing.
1980 - Present Ask at the Reference Desk at Gastonia Main Library.
1998 - 2017 The Gaston Gazette Microfilm INDEX covers The Gaston Gazette microfilms from 1998 - 2017.


We also have a microfilm copy of another short-lived newspaper, the Gaston Citizen, October 25, 1951 - March 21, 1956. There is no index.

We will be happy to check the microfilm for an obituary if you have a specific date or a close approximation; if you do not, we can try to locate the required information using the publications mentioned above. However, we do not have the staff to do extensive research on your behalf.


Miscellaneous Gaston County newspapers are available online. Please check our Historical Newspapers guide.
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Land Records

To locate an online county property record, visit the Gaston County Interactive GIS website.

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Find Gaston County land records by using the "Deed Search" at the Gaston County Register of Deeds website. This is much easier once you have the information provided in the online county property record from the GIS website.
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Original Deeds found in the Gaston County Register of Deed's Office include Records from 1845 to present (Prior deed records recorded in Lincoln County). 
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Digital images of many Gaston County land records can be found at in the following collections:

Microfilm copies of the following Gaston County Register of Deeds records are available at the Gaston County Public Library:

  • Index to deeds and mortgages: grantee, 1846-1917 [A-L,M-Z].
  • Index to deeds and mortgages: grantor, 1846-1917 [A-L,M-Z].
  • Record of deeds, 1847-1904 (vols. 1-56)
  • Record of state grants, 1845-1891.

Tax Records

Microfilm copy of the following Gaston County Tax record is available at the Gaston County Public Library:
  • Gaston County: Tax List, 1847-1860, 1863-1868. Microfilm. Raleigh, N.C.: NC Dept. of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History

975.6 CAR. Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War, by Robert C. Carpenter. Includes Gaston County Tax List of 1863. has the Internal Revenue Assessment List for North Carolina, 1864-1866. Browse images by State, then by County. Includes the 1866 Gaston County Tax List.
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Voter Registration Records

929.375 WYN NCC. North Carolina extant voter registrations of 1867, by Frances Holloway Wynne. Includes Gaston County.

929.2 GRA NCC. 1908 Gaston County voters registration : "the grandfather clause",[1902-1908], transcribed by Willene Caskey.

More County Records


Digital images of many Gaston County records can be found at in the following collections:

Digital images of Gaston County records can be found at DigitalNC in the following collections:

  • Chattel mortgages, Gaston County, 1914-1915. Bound account book that includes a handwritten personal property inventory for men and women in Gaston County between 1914 and 1915.
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A Note about
Many of the sources given here are found on This site is continually adding new files and indexing existing files. Be sure to keep checking for new information!


In addition to more general genealogy magazines, we have files of four titles specifically for this area:

  • 929.1 FOO NCC. Footprints in Time. Vol. 1 (1987) – to date.
  • 051 GAS NCC. Gaston County Historical Bulletin. Vol. 1 (1954) – to date.
    • Published by the Gaston County Historical Society. We have an online Index for 1954-1980.
  • 929.1 ESW NCC. Eswau Huppeday. Vol. 1 (1981) – to date.
    • The journal of the Broad River Genealogical Society in Cleveland County; includes material from the surrounding counties including Gaston.
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  • 929.1 BUL NCC. Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County. Vol. 1 (1974) – to date.
    • The Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County has searchable listing of the contents of Volume I (1973) through Volume XLV (2017) of the Bulletin.
    • Lincoln County was formed in 1779 from Tryon County. Gaston County was formed in 1846 from Lincoln County.
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Other Resources


See our Research Guides for detailed information on our holdings of original and transcribed census records:

Purchasing books

The Library does not have any books for sale. Books relating to Gaston County genealogy may be purchased from:

Research Requests

The Gaston County Public Library staff welcomes requests for specific information from those who are unable to use the collection in person.

Please contact:

NCC Librarian - Reference Services
Gaston County Public Library
1555 E Garrison Blvd
Gastonia NC 28054


Phone: 704-868-2164 ext. 2
Fax: 704-853-0609


Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Finding Gaston County Ancestors
Revised: 23 January 2019

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