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Finding North Carolina Ancestors

Lincoln County History

Lincoln County was formed in 1779 from Tryon County (see our guide Finding Tryon County Ancestors). Since then all or parts of Catawba, Cleveland, and Gaston Counties have been cut out of this area.
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Did your family come from Lincoln 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.

For more titles not in this guide, search our library Catalog by Subject for: Lincoln County or by the name of a place, such as Lincolnton.

  • 720.9756 BRO NCC. Our Enduring Past: a Survey of 235 Years of Life and Architecture in Lincoln County, North Carolina (pub. 1986). Index only of properties listed.
  • 929.1 YOU NCC. Our Own Story: an African-American History of Lincoln County, North Carolina.  2 vols. Pub.1991 and 2001.. Not indexed.
  • 975.6 HAR NCC. Lincoln County, North Carolina (pub. 2000).  Images of America series.  Has index of family names.
  • 975.6 HAR NCC. Lincoln County Revisited (pub. 2003).  Images of America series.
  • 975.6 HAR NCC  Lincolnton: Photographs from the Clyde R. Cornwell Collection.  Images of American series.
  • 975.6 SHE NCC. Annals of Lincoln County, North Carolina...1749 to 1937 (pub. 1937) by William L. Sherrill. Partially indexed.
  • 975.67 HUN NCC. Sketches of Western North Carolina: Historical and Biographical, Illustrating Principally the Revolutionary Period of Mecklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln, and Adjoining Counties... (pub. 1877) by C. L. Hunter. Not indexed. Full text available for free online; simply do an internet search for the title. Circulating copy available.
  • 975.678 IN NCC. In Our Own Words: The Story of Lincoln County (pub. 2006).
  • 975.678 LIN NCC. Lincoln County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1979: Past, Present, Future (pub. 1979).
  • 975.678 LIN NCC. Lincoln Times-News: 1966 Historical. Not indexed.
  • 975.678 N NCC. History of Lincoln County by Alfred Nixon. Various editions/reprints of an article in North Carolina Booklet, vol. IX, no. 3, Jan. 1910.
  • 975.6782 HER NCC. Heritage of Lincoln County (pub. 1997) by the Lincoln County Heritage Book Committee. Surname index only.

Vital Records

Print Sources

  • 929.1 NOR NCC. "Marriage and Death Notices from Extant Lincolnton Newspapers, 1836 - 1853". Two part article in North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. Marriages are in vol. 2 no. 2 (April 1976), p. 62 - 84 and deaths in vol. 2 no. 3 (July 1976), p. 136 - 146.
  • 929.3 BYN NCC. Marriage Bonds of Tryon and Lincoln Counties, North Carolina by Curtis Bynum
  • Cross-Index of Bondspersons to Grooms for “Marriage Bonds of Tryon and Lincoln Counties, North Carolina” by Ray Yount.
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  • 929.3 DEL NCC. Lincoln County, N. C.: Index to Vital Statistics – Deaths (4 vols in 2). 1913 - 1992.
  • 929.3 ING NCC. Lincoln County, North Carolina Marriage Records, 1783 - 1866.
  • 929.3 LIN NCC. Lincoln County, North Carolina Marriage Records (3 vols). 1868 - 1936. Vol. 1, 1868-1886--Vol. 2, 1887-1900--Vol. 3, 1901-1936.
  • Microfilm. Lincoln County: Record of Freedmen's Marriages, 1866.  1 roll microfilm.
  • Microfilm Marriage register, 1851-1971. 2 rolls microfilm.

Online Sources


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

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Probate Records: Wills, Estates

County Records & Other Resources

Online Sources

Digital images of many Lincoln County records can be found at
Tip: FamilySearch collections are images of the actual records as microfilmed. This means that they may include internal indexes that you can access by browsing to locate specific names even before the collection is indexed by Family Search.

Print Sources

  • 929.3 LIN NCC Lincoln County, North Carolina : Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. - Anne Williams McAllister & Kathy Gunter Sullivan. Publication Date: 1987. 5 vols. 1779-1812.
  • 929.3 DUN NCC v.1 Lincoln County Road Records (1781-1822), Bridge Records (1813-1868) - Stewart E. Dunaway. Publication Date: 2012. -- v.2 Lincoln County road records, volume 2 (1823-1832) -- v.3 Lincoln County road records, volume 3 (1833-1869) Copies of original images.
  • 929.2 GRA NCC "Grandfather Clause" Voter Registration : Lincoln County, North Carolina, 1902-1908 - Paul H. Dellinger. Publication Date: [1985.
  • 929.3 ING NCC Lincoln County, North Carolina Abstracts of Wills - Frances Terry Ingmire. Publication Date: 2004. v.1. 1824-1838.
  • 929.3 PHI NCC Lincoln County, North Carolina Will Abstracts 1779-1910 - Miles S. Philbeck. Publication Date: 1986.
  • 975.678 LIN NCC Lincoln County, NC trial and appearance docket (1783-1795), Albert B. Pruitt. 2016.

State Archives of North Carolina

  • The State Archives of North Carolina has original records for Lincoln County. Contact Archives of North Carolina for availability.
  • Trial Docket, Superior Court, 1843-1870 (CR.060.322) available at State Archives of North Carolina. Volume CR.060.322.005 includes Clerk's Minute Docket (Special Proceedings), 1869-1889. Footprints In Time by The Gaston Lincoln Genealogical Society. Call Number: 929.1 F N.C.C (Mar 2017, p.19) article discusses these records.

You can search our Catalog by Keyword for: Lincoln County microform or simply ask the Reference Desk at the Gastonia Main Library for help finding records.

More in Our Guides

Education, Schools

Online Sources

Digital images of many Lincoln County records can be found at

Land Records

Print Sources (Available at Gastonia Main Library):

  • 929.3 PRU NCC. Lincoln County, NC Land Grants (1779-1802)
  • 929.3 PRU NCC. Lincoln County, NC Land Grants (1802-1952)
  • 929.3 PRU NCC. Index of People in Lincoln County, NC Deed Books 1-4 and 16-51.
  • 929.3 PRU NCC. Index of Places in Lincoln County, NC Deed Books 1-4 and 16-51.
  • 929.3756 PRU NCC Abstracts of Land Entries. - Albert Bruce Pruitt. 4 vols. (1778 – 1953)
  • 929.3756 PRU NCC. Abstracts of Deeds, Lincoln Co., NC. - Albert Bruce Pruitt.  13 vols. (1786-1880)
  • 929.3756 PRU NCC Abstracts of Lincoln Co., NC: Land Entries 1780 & 1795-1797; Land Processions 1789-1834, & Lincolnton, NC Deeds 1785-1868. - Albert Bruce Pruitt. 1 vol.

Online Sources

At the Lincoln County Geographic Information System (GIS) website, you can locate an online county property record, searching by owner name, parcel, address, road name, and state road number. Also search by deed or plat reference.You can select optional map "Layers" on the left side. Select "Photography" in the upper right corner for aerial photographs from different years.
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Lincoln County Land Records are on the Register of Deeds web page. This site is easier to use if you start with the print indexes above and the Lincoln County GIS.
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Index to Land Warrants, Plats of Survey, and Related Land Grant Records, 1679-1959. Tennessee and North Carolina counties arranged alphabetical by county. Click on the link for “Show advanced search options”. Type “Land Warrants, Plats of Survey” into the Title search field.
Includes 12.14.82 Lincoln County (4307 files).

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

Tax Records

Tax Records

Voter Registration Records

Voter Registration Records

Jury Records

Jury Records

Reasons given by called jurors for inattendance in court 1797 - 1832 (IMAGES 374 - 462)
Lists of Jurors 1830-1859 (IMAGES 463 - 664)
Lists of Jurors 1860 - 1919 Broken Series (IMAGES 665 - 785)

Poor, Pauper Records

North Carolina, Lincoln County, poor records, 1764-1868. Warden of the Poor, Lincoln County, 1820-1868, C.060.90005, 1820-1868.

Lunacy Records

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

    Inebriates, Lunacy, and Judicial Hospitalizations Records, 1899-1968 (Lincoln County, North Carolina)
    Record ID: CR.060.919
    Date Expression: 1899-1968
    From Date: 1899
    Thru Date: 1968

    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. 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, 1899-1968"
    Search Record ID: CR.060.919 for Lincoln County. These records are available at the State Archives of North Carolina.

Chattel Mortgages

More County Records

Miscellaneous Records

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

Board of County Commissioners
Incorporation records
  • Incorporation records, 1887-1941 (Lincoln County North Carolina. Superior Court Clerk) include Certificates of Incorporation, Dissolution, and Amendment to the Charter. Also includes Suspension and Reinstatement of Charters.
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Online Sources:

For any additional newspapers, please contact the Jonas Library, Lincolnton (see below).

Microfilm at the Jonas Library, Lincolnton:

  • Lincoln Republican, Jan 23, 1840 - May 25, 1842.
  • Lincoln Courier, 1845-1851 and 1867.
  • Carolina Republican, Sep 5, 1848 - Jan 27, 1853.
  • Lincoln Progress, May 17, 1873 - Mar 11, 1882.
  • Lincoln Courier, Sep 16, 1887 - Sep 20, 1895.
  • Lincoln Democrat, Sep 27, 1895 - Dec 24, 1896.
  • Lincoln County News, Jan 2, 1925 - Dec 29, 1939.
  • Lincoln Times, Jan 3, 1938 - Dec 30, 1940.
  • Lincoln County News, Jan 2, 1941 - Sep 30, 1965.
  • Lincoln Times News, Jan 3, 1963 - May 27, 1985; Jan 1, 1986 to date.
  • "Miscellaneous" issues of papers including: Lincoln Transcript, 1836; Western Whig Banner, 1840; Hokeville Express, 1855; The Trumpet, 1887; The Constitution, 1880; The Plow, Forge & Grip, 1891; and the Lincoln Journal, 1898-1901.




Purchasing Books

Books relating to Lincoln County genealogy may be purchased from:

Beyond Our Library

Lincoln County Library

The Charles R. Jonas Library in Lincolnton has a North Carolina Collection with an extensive collection of surname files, Lincoln County newspapers on microfilm, directories, and other resources.
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306 W Main St
Lincolnton NC 28092
Phone: 704-735-8044

Lincoln County Historical Association & Museum

The Lincoln County Historical Association collects and preserves historical information and materials relating to Lincoln County History. You can view these items at the Lincoln County Museum of History, located in the Lincoln Cultural Center.

403 E Main St
Lincolnton NC 28092
Phone: 704-748-9090

Please call for hours.


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:

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 Lincoln County Ancestors
Revised: 22 November 2022

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