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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).
Go to: http://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/finding/lincoln-county-ancestors

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

Gaston County Register of Deeds, Vital Records - Birth, Death & Marriage
Request certified copies of Gaston County birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates from Gaston County Register of Deeds.
Go to: https://www.gastongov.com/730/Register-of-Deeds

Birth Records

Birth

 

Bastardy Bonds (Illegitimate children)

Marriage Records

Marriage

 

Divorce

Death Records

Death

  • NOTE about Family Search: Select "View Record" or "View Original Document" for possible death certificate image. Any available death certificate image could be slightly off. You may need to look through several surrounding images if it does not appear directly as the image.

Will Records

Estate Records

Obituaries and Newspapers

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.

 
Online

Miscellaneous Gaston County newspapers are available online. Please check our Historical Newspapers guide.
Go to: http://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/serials/historical-newpapers

Cemeteries

Census Records

Visit Census LibGuide for more information about United States and North Carolina Census records.

Go to: https://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/census

City Directories

  • Our North Carolina Collection includes city directories for Gastonia and other communities in Gaston County. It is not a complete collection; please check our guide to the city directories to see if the volume you need is in the collection.
    Go to: https://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/city-directories

Court Records

  1. Adoption records, 1961-1963, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: Gaston County (North Carolina). Superior Court Clerk
  2. Court of pleas and quarter sessions, 1847-1860, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)
  3. Minute docket, superior court, 1847-1948
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)
  4. Orders and decrees, 1869-1954, and special proceedings docket, 1883-1953, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County); North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)Adoption records, 1961-1963, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: Gaston County (North Carolina). Superior Court Clerk
  5. Adoption records, 1961-1963, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: Gaston County (North Carolina). Superior Court Clerk
  6. Court of pleas and quarter sessions, 1847-1860, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)
  7. Minute docket, superior court, 1847-1948
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)
  8. Orders and decrees, 1869-1954, and special proceedings docket, 1883-1953, Gaston County, North Carolina
    Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County); North Carolina. Superior Court (Gaston County)

Education, Schools, Colleges

  • Board of Education Minutes, 1885-1964, Gaston County, North Carolina (Not indexed, but you can browse images)
    Go to: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/251466

  • Gaston County Microfilm Records. Microfilm copy of the following Gaston County Board of Education record is available at the Gaston County Public Library:
    • Gaston County Board of Education minutes, 1885-1964 (vols. 1-4) Microfilm. Raleigh, N.C. : North Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, 1964. 1 microfilm

 

  • Gaston County, North Carolina school records, 1855-1884 (CR.040.926)
     School records: reports of common schools --- 1855; pay records for teachers and other services --- 1871-1883; school census including lists of students --- 1870-1879, 1862, 1883, 1880-1882, 1884; school committee papers --- 1877, 1883; school district divisions and petitions --- 1876, 1880; teachers licensed --- 1883, 1884; teachers vouchers --- 1871-1878, 1880-1881, 1883-1884
    Go to: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1279340
    NOTE: Footprints In Time by The Gaston Lincoln Genealogical Society. (Call Number: 929.1 F N.C.C)
    Check Footprints in Time Table of Contents for available transcriptions. Search "School List" and "List of Teachers"

 

  • The Gaston County Student Records Department houses records dating from the 1920's to 2017 of graduates and all former students. More records are called in as space is available to process them. "Gaston County School graduates are now able to request cumulative records information and transcripts online."
    Go to: https://www.gaston.k12.nc.us/studentrecords

 

  • Access the Gaston County Board of Commissioners Minutes Archive for a complete Repository of Board of Commissioners’ Adopted Regular Meeting Minutes from 1879 through 2020.
    Go to: https://www.gastongov.com/952/Agendas-Minutes-Videos

    Some of the records you will find in the Gaston County Board of Commissioners Minutes:

    • School Committees by Districts. July 19, 1879.
    • Teachers examined and approved. September 1, 1879.

  • Gaston County educational information, and yearbooks.
    Go to: https://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/digital-gaston-county/education
    Go to: https://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/digital-gaston-county/yearbooks

Land Records

Gaston County GIS

To locate an online county property record, visit the Gaston County Interactive GIS website. Review the brief Deed history for the property, then consult the Gaston County Register of Deeds website for earlier Deed records.

Go to: https://gis.gastongov.com/ 

Gaston County Register of Deeds

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.
Go to: https://deeds.gastongov.com/external/LandRecords/protected/v4/SrchName.aspx

Gaston County Register of Deeds Office

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). 
Go to: https://www.gastongov.com/730/Register-of-Deeds


North Carolina State Archives has INDEX of 169 Land Grant Records for Gaston County 1846-1937. Arrangement is numerical by file number.

Search the NC Land Grant Images and Data website for images of these 169 Gaston County, North Carolina land grant documents. Perform a "QUERY" search. Then search by name and/or county location. (TIP: If full name search does not result in match, try last name only. Search only by county of Gaston to see all 169 results)
Go to: http://www.nclandgrants.com/


Digital images of many Gaston County land records can be found at FamilySearch.org 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, 1847-1859, 1860, 1863-1868. Microfilm. Raleigh, N.C.: NC Dept. of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History. (CR.040.701)

  • Footprints In Time by The Gaston Lincoln Genealogical Society. (Call Number: 929.1 F N.C.C)
    • Capt Cloningers Company List for the Year 1850 by Benj Smith Esqr. Abstracted by Robert C. Carpenter. From Gaston County Tax Lists, CR040.700.2 N.C. Archives & History. Page 123.
  • 975.6 CAR. Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War, by Robert C. Carpenter. Includes Gaston County Tax List of 1863.
  • FamilySearch.org has the Tax records (Gaston County, North Carolina), 1851-1902. (CR.040.703) Records include Tax Lists, 1851; Certificates for release from taxes, 1876, 1878, 1879; Abstract of unlisted taxables, 1895; Accounts, 1872-1888 (undated); Civil action, sheriff vs. deputy concerning collection of taxes, 1868; Tax Collections 1873; Civil action against Sheriff concerning illegal collection of taxes, 1902; County Tax Record, 1875; Dealers in tobacco products, 1899; Liquor dealers listed for taxes, 1878-1902 (broken series); Court case, testimony, concerning public funds, 1883; List of uncollectible tax in Dallas, 1886; Livery stables listed for taxes, 1899-1902; Ferries listed for taxes, 1899-1902; Printed answer from county official after charges made concerning taxes collected in 1882; Orders from release from taxes, 1875-1880 (broken series); Request from Cherryville Township that a tax of $50 be levied, 1876; Tax Returns, 1876; Tax List, no date; Orders to those who will collect or list taxes, 1856, 1883, 1888.
    Go to: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1554081
  • FamilySearch.org has the Internal Revenue Assessment List for North Carolina, 1862-1874. Browse images by State, then by County. Includes the 1866 Gaston County Tax List. District 6, Division 2, Gaston County starts on Image 64.
    Go to: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2075263
  • Internal revenue assessment list for North Carolina, 1864-1866 Scroll down for 2 rolls of District collections. District 6 annual list for Gaston and Lincoln start on Image 741 of roll 2.
    Go to: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/577904
  • FamilySearch.org has the Gaston County Inheritance tax record, 1923-1959.
    Go To: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/251455

Voter Registration, Election Records

Voting Registration

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.

FamilySearch.org has the North Carolina, Voter Registers and Certificates of Registration, 1868-1964. Index and images of voter registration lists and certificates of permanent registration from various counties in North Carolina. Includes the following Lincoln County, N.C. townships: Lincolnton, Catawba Springs, Ironton, Howards Creek, North Brook.
Go To: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/3326982

 

Election Records

FamilySearch.org has the Gaston County Election records, 1880-1882 and North Carolina, Gaston County, voting records, 1890-1932 (Record of Elections, Gaston County, 1890-1932, C.040.99001, 1890-1932)

Browse images for names of candidates and vote totals received by candidates.
NOTE: Both collections include 1880-1882; 1897-1916; and 1924-1932. Check both for any differences in content.
Go To: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/251447
Go To: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2657088

 
Microfilm copy of the following Gaston County Elections record is available at the Gaston County Public Library:

Orphanage

Poor, Pauper Records

Wardens of the Poor, records. 1861 - 1889, n.d. are part of the North Carolina, Gaston County, miscellaneous records, 1847-1910.  Includes Keeper of the Paupers of Gaston County records containing names, length of stay, and cost for each pauper.
Go to: www.familysearch.org/search/film/105362979?i=502&cat=3000395

 

Access the Gaston County Board of Commissioners Minutes Archive for a complete Repository of Board of Commissioners’ Adopted Regular Meeting Minutes from 1879 through 2020.
Go to: https://www.gastongov.com/952/Agendas-Minutes-Videos

Some of the records you will find in the Gaston County Board of Commissioners Minutes include List of persons declared paupers receiving payments from County Treasurer.

Lunacy Records

 

  • Microfilm copies of the following Gaston County records are in the North Carolina Collection:
    Gaston County Clerk of Superior Court
    • Index to lunacy & inebriety, 1963-1969;
    • Record of lunancy, 1899-1968 (vols. 1-10) 

 

  • The State Archives of North Carolina hold the following records:

    Inebriates, Lunacy, and Judicial Hospitalizations Records, 1899-1941 (Gaston County, North Carolina)
    Record ID: CR.040.919
    Date Expression: 1899-1941
    From Date: 1899
    Thru Date: 1941

    Scope and Content  Records include documentation of hearings for commitment of insane persons and inebriates, listing the name of the alleged lunatic, oaths of parties testifying to his/her lunacy, and copies of the clerk's order of commitment and the superintendent of the state hospital's order of release. Papers may include appointment of guardians to oversee the property of the unfit. After 1899, the clerk was required to keep lunacy matters in a distinct volume, entitled Record of Inquisition of Lunacy or simply Lunacy Docket. From 1868 to 1899, lunacy proceedings were recorded in the Orders and Decrees (922). See also Court Records subseries 922, Orders and Decrees and Special Proceedings. 

    Search the Discover Online Catalog by the title, "Inebriates, Lunacy, and Judicial Hospitalizations Records, 1899-1941"
    Search Record ID: CR.040.919 for Gaston County. These records are available at the State Archives of North Carolina.

Chattel Mortgages

Oral History

Online Oral History Interviews conducted with individuals connected to Gaston County, North Carolina. Includes recollections about family, business, and community history by people born and raised in Gaston County.

https://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/digital-gaston-county/oral-history

More County Records

Miscellaneous Records

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

Board of County Commissioners
Board of Aldermen Minutes, Town of Dallas
  • Town of Dallas, Board of Aldermen Minutes, 1928 - 1964. Contact Gastonia Main Library.

Bridge and Road Records
  • 975.677 DUN NCC. Gaston County road records (1859-1909), bridge records (1874-1900), mill records (1865, 1904), by Stewart E. Dunaway. (CR.040.925)
    • "This book contains images of road, bridge, and mill records for Gaston County. Each record includes a short transcript of the pertinent information within the document, in order that it can be indexed and cataloged."
Church Records
Incorporation records
Post Office
Microfilm
 
A Note about FamilySearch.org
Many of the sources given here are found on FamilySearch.org. This site is continually adding new files and indexing existing files. Be sure to keep checking FamilySearch.org for new information!

Journals

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

Societies

Purchasing Books

Books relating to Gaston County genealogy may be purchased from:

For More Information

Biographies
Census

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

Online

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 email:

Email: localhistory@gastonlibrary.org

Local History & Genealogy Librarian
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
URL: http://gastonlibrary.libguides.com/finding/gaston-county-ancestors
Revised: 10 July 2020

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