Rutherford County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Rutherford County, North Carolina ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Rutherfordton
Organized: 1779
Parent County(s): Tryon[1]
Neighboring Counties
Buncombe  • Burke  • Cherokee (SC)  • Cleveland  • Henderson  • McDowell  • Polk  • Spartanburg (SC)
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Rutherford County is located in the southwestern portion of North Carolina and shares a border with South Carolina. It was named for Revolutionary War General Griffith Rutherford, a member of the North Carolina Provincial Congress.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Rutherford County Court
229 N Main Street
PO Box 551
Rutherforton, NC 28139-0630
Phone: 828-287-6155
Rutherford County Website

Clerk Superior Court has birth records from 1917, death records from 1913, marriage, divorce, probate court and land records from 1779, tax lists and voter registration.[3]

Rutherford County, North Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1917 1779 1913 1779 1779 1779 1784
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1907 Fire burned courthouse

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1779 Rutherford County was created from Tryon. Tyron County was abolished in 1779.
  • County seat: Rutherfordton[5]

After Rutherford County's initial creation in 1779, there have been some distinct changes made to the boundaries.

In 1791, a small portion of the west sides of Rutherford and Burke County created Buncombe County.

In 1841, about a third of the county on the east side, as well as western side of the neighboring Lincoln county, were formed into Cleveland County.

The year following that, 1842, a small portion of the northern side of Rutherford county and half of the neighboring County of Burke was taken to make McDowell County.

In 1855, the southwestern side of the county was formed into Polk County.

For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
  • Camp Creek
  • Chimney Rock
  • Colfax
  • Cool Spring
  • Duncans Creek
  • Gilkey
  • Golden Valley
  • Green Hill
  • High Shoals
  • Logan Store
  • Morgan
  • Rutherfordton
  • Sulphur Springs
  • Union

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Rutherford County, North Carolina online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See North Carolina Cemeteries for more information


Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 7,808
1800 10,753 37.7%
1810 13,202 22.8%
1820 15,351 16.3%
1830 17,557 14.4%
1840 19,202 9.4%
1850 13,550 −29.4%
1860 11,573 −14.6%
1870 13,121 13.4%
1880 15,198 15.8%
1890 18,770 23.5%
1900 25,101 33.7%
1910 28,385 13.1%
1920 31,426 10.7%
1930 40,452 28.7%
1940 45,577 12.7%
1950 46,356 1.7%
1960 45,091 −2.7%
1970 47,337 5.0%
1980 53,787 13.6%
1990 56,918 5.8%
2000 62,899 10.5%
2010 67,810 7.8%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Bill's Creek. Constituted 1782.[7]
  • Buffalow Creek. Constituted 1777.[7]
  • Green River. Constituted 1778.[7]
  • Mountain Creek. Constituted 1789.[7]
  • Sandy Run. Constituted 1788.[7]


  • Brittain Church, Rutherfordton, N.C. Organized 1768.[8] Originally located in Tryon.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • "Notes on a Proctor Family of Northeastern Rutherford Co., N.C.," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 38, No. 3 (August 2010):102-110. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 38

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]


Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Rutherford County for European settlers included:[9]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

Regiments. Men in Rutherford County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Rutherford County:

- 1st Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company B
- 1st Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company C
- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company G
- 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company D
- 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company G
- 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company N

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Rutherford County Library
    255 Callahan Koon Rd.
    Spindale, NC 28169

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County
    PO Box 938
    Forest City, NC 28043

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb project May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • North Carolina Pioneers $
  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Rutherford County, North Carolina. Page 506-514 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 505-509.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Rutherford County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_North_Carolina, accessed 25 February 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 2:568. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
  8. "Brittain Church," North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program,, accessed 22 October 2012.
  9. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), North Carolina.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at