Local History & Genealogy Collections

The Local History & Genealogy Librarian works out of the May Memorial Library and may be contacted directly at reference.staff@alamancelibraries.org. Limited inquiries may be answered via mail if a stamped, self-addressed envelope is provided.

North Carolina census indexes for the U.S. federal population censuses are available from 1790 through 1950 via the library subscription to the online genealogical services HeritageQuest and Ancestry.

Online Resources

The Ancestry database is only available at library locations.

HeritageQuest may be accessed remotely via the library website using your 14-digit library card number.  

Fold3 – offers premier collections of original military records. These records include the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served in the military. 

Community History Archive – see copies of digitized local newspapers in this fully searchable resource. The Times News 1954-1957; 1978-1988; and more coming soon – only available at library locations!

Historic NC Digital Newspapers – 3.5 million pages of digitized content from over 1,000 historical NC county newspapers including the daily Burlington Times-News through the 1970

  • Roots-l Resources Page:  The homepage of the best-known  genealogical mailing list with more than 10,000subscribers.
  • Soundex Converter: Convert a surname to the Soundex Code used for indexing census microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Alamance County Genweb: Alamance County NC site of the USGenWeb Project
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Search the International Genealogical Index (IGI) of the Mormon Church.
  • Africana Heritage Project: The Africana Heritage Project was begun in order to assist African Americans who are researching their family histories. Our mission is to rediscover those valuable records that document the names and lives of slaves, freed-persons, and their descendants.
  • Cemetery Census: A volunteer effort to provide free listings of complete cemetery surveys along with photographs of grave markers. This is not a commercial web site.

Genealogy from Home

Requires creating a free account using your email address

  1. Family Search: Access contributed family trees and records compiled by the Mormon (Latter Day Saints) Church – https://www.familysearch.org/register/custom/1
  2. World War I Civilian Draft Registrations: Find records for prospective soldiers from 100 years ago-the original “pandemic” generation – https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/3172/
  3. North Carolina City Directories via Digital NC – https://www.digitalnc.org/collections/city-directories/
  4. UNC-G Digital Library on American Slavery – https://library.uncg.edu/slavery/​
  5. Free genealogy classes

Requires your 14-digit library card number (beside the barcode on your card)

  1. HeritageQuest Online – U.S. census records, books, Revolutionary War service records, and Freedman’s Bank deposit or records. It also can lead you to resources on how to do genealogy research!
  2. “Finding Your Roots” TV program episodes via “Films on Demand”: Watch 1-hour episodes of the televised genealogy program with Henry Louise Gates (23 available) – https://www.alamancelibraries.org/reference-research/online-research-tools/

On-Site Local History Collections

Items in the Local History collection at Graham Public Library

Graham Public Library
Graham Public Library
  • Yearbooks from High Schools and Colleges in Alamance County
  • Census records
  • Church histories
  • Historic newspapers
  • City directories
  • Family History Titles.
    • View a list of Surnames included in these books. View a list of Titles with included Surnames.
  • Photographs of Graham.

Materials in the Mebane collection include:

Mebane Public Library
Mebane Public Library
  • Nearby People and Towns
  • Histories of Surrounding Counties (Caswell and Chatham)
  • Local People (by and about) and local memories
  • History of Mebane
  • Alamance County Pictorial and Written History
  • North Carolina General History
  • Names of North Carolina postmasters from 1832-1971 in Alamance-Cleveland counties on microfilm.
  • Alamance County Census on Microfilm (1790-1930)
  • Microfilm of the Mebane Leader 1911-1915, and Mebane Enterprise 1922 – present (some years missing, call for specific information)
  • Alamance Magazine 2003-2006
  • Family Histories: Benson, Albright, Allen, Bingham, Coble, Collins, Lynch & Tate, Crouse, Steel, Lineberry, Iseley, Shoffner, Harper and Fowler
  • Local Records: Marriage, Census, Local News 1996-2013, and Historical Information on local schools
  • NC records
  • Alamance Genealogist 1984-2013
  • Forgotten Patriots (African American and American Indian patriots in the Revolutionary War)
  • Church Histories
May Memorial Library
May Memorial Library

The Local History Collection at May Memorial Library contains works on the history and genealogy of Alamance County and its neighboring counties — Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Orange, Randolph and Rockingham.  The collection is also a  repository for the ancestor charts of members of the Alamance County Genealogical society and for the Society’s collection of genealogical journals.

The Local History collection at May Memorial Library welcomes donations of materials of local interest.  However, lack of archival quality storage facilities prevents the acquisition of certain materials in fragile or delicate condition. Items in the Local History collection at May Memorial Public Library

  • North Carolina marriage bond index prior to 1868
  • North Carolina cemetery surveys prior to 1914
  • Troop rosters and pension abstracts for certain 18th & 19th century American Wars
  • Yearbooks from High Schools and Colleges in Alamance County and North Carolina
  • Burlington, North Carolina city directories from 1920 to the present
  • Alamance County Delayed Birth Certificate Abstracts 1875-1914
  • A list of Mayors of Company Shops and Burlington from 1869-2012
  • A marriage and obituary index to local weekly newspapers including The Alamance Gleaner (1875-1913), The Twice-a-Week Dispatch (1908-1915)  and The Mebane Leader (1911-1915)  Click here for the obituary index and click here for the marriage index.
  • Genealogical notes on local families of German descent and Lutheran and Reformed Church records translated from German by the late Rev. David I. Offman, Lutheran minister.
  • Scrapbook of the life of physician and blood-banking pioneer, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who died in a traffic accident in Alamance County in 1950.
  • “In Days Gone By”  newspaper column by the late Julian Hughes in the Burlington Times-News regarding early Burlington people and places. An index to the articles is available.
    • Articles from 1953 and 1959 by textile worker Julian W Hughes about the Alamance County, NC area. Hughes was a World War I veteran who died in 1964.
  • A subject index to Don Bolden’s Burlington Times-News columns “Alamance in the Past” for the years 1974 – 1976 and 1978 – 1985 is available.
  • A subject index to items from the yearly Times-News Progress edition from 1949-1960.
  • Early photographs from a Burlington, NC promotional pamphlet published in 1906 by O.F. Crowson held by the May Memorial Library Local History Collection.  View the photographs here.
  • Click here to see the Mebane Family Photographs from north central North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas as collected by the late Robert Duff Mebane and held by the May Memorial Library Local History Collection.
  • Click here to see photos of transportation in Alamance County.
  • Family History Vertical File. View a list of Surnames included in this file.
  • North Carolina Business and City Directories
  • Bigger Better Burlington
    • View digitized images of Burlington Chamber of Commerce pamphlets from the 1930s through the 1950s.
    • Burlington by Map and Atlas, a collection of street maps and atlas information from Burlington North Carolina in the 1920s through the 1950s
    • Burlington, North Carolina Municipal Publications
  • The Alamance Gleaner, weekly newspaper published at Graham, NC, for the period Feb. 9, 1875-Jan. 30, 1947