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.

The May Memorial, Graham and Mebane libraries all have local history and genealogical collections specific to their communities.  Please contact each directly for further inquiries.

North Carolina census indexes for the U.S. federal population censuses are available from 1790 through 1940 via the library subscription to the online genealogical services HeritageQuest and Ancestry or as print indexes available at May Memorial Library. The Ancestry database is available only within the library.

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; 1978-1981; and more coming soon!

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/

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

Graham Public Library

Items in the Local History collection at 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.
  • Newspapers on Microfilm:
    • The Alamance Gleaner, weekly newspaper published at Graham, NC, for the period Feb. 9, 1875-Jan. 30, 1947.
    • The Times-News, daily newspaper published at Burlington, NC. Our library holds: Jan 1979 � Dec. 1983.

Mebane Public Library

Materials in the Mebane collection include:

  • 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