Swain County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Swain 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: Bryson City
Organized: 1871
Parent County(s): Jackson and Macon[1]
Neighboring Counties
Blount (TN)  • Cocke (TN)  • Graham  • Haywood  • Jackson  • Macon  • Sevier (TN)
See County Maps
Courthouse
NorthCarolinaSwainCourthouse.jpg
Location Map
Nc-swain.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Swain County is located in the western portion of North Carolina and shares a border with Tennessee. It was named for David Lowry Swain, Governor of North Carolina and president of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Swain County Courthouse
1 Mitchell Street
PO Box 417
Bryson, NC 28713
Phone: 828-488-9273
Swain County Website

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1913, marriage records from 1907 and land records.
Clerk Superior Court has divorce and court records from 1900 and probate records.[3]

Swain 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
1913 1907 1913 1900 1871 1871 1784
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1913. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1879 Courthouse fire destroyed many records.
1908 Swain County Courthouse in Bryson City burned by rioters, January 7, 1908. No records were saved. [5]

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


Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1871 Swain County was created from Jackson and Macon Counties.
  • County seat: Bryson City[6]

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 MapofUS.org 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:[7]

Towns
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Townships
  • Charleston
  • Forney Creek
  • Nantahala


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

European settlement began soon after the Cherokee Indian cession of 1798. These Europeans settled in the areas along the Oconaluftee and Tuckaseegee Rivers. The Cherokees surrendered the remainder of the land in a treaty on February 27, 1819. In 1871 the North Carolina General Assembly passed an act making Swain a North Carolina county, taking land from Jackson and Macon county. It was named for David L. Swain a former governor of North Carolina and president of the University of North Carolina.

The first court was held at Cold Spring Meeting House. Commissioners were to select a site for the courthouse and lay out a town named Charleston, to become the county seat. Charleston was renamed Bryson City in 1889 in honor of Colonel Thad Dillard Bryson.

Swain County began probating wills in 1876.

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 Swain 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.
1880 3,784
1890 6,577 73.8%
1900 8,401 27.7%
1910 10,403 23.8%
1920 13,224 27.1%
1930 11,568 −12.5%
1940 12,177 5.3%
1950 9,921 −18.5%
1960 8,387 −15.5%
1970 7,861 −6.3%
1980 10,283 30.8%
1990 11,268 9.6%
2000 12,968 15.1%
2010 13,981 7.8%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".


Church Records[edit | edit source]


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]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

NC Swain

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Civil War

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]

Listed below are archives in Swain County. For state-wide archival repositories, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

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]

Listed below are libraries in Swain County. For state-wide library facilities, see North Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Swain County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see North Carolina Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb Project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Swain County, NCGenWeb
  • 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.
  2. https://www.ncpedia.org/geography/Swain
  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), Swain 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. GenDisasters.com Bryson City, NC Courthouse Burned by Rioters, Jan 1908 http://www.gendisasters.com/north-carolina/17868/bryson-city-nc-courthouse-burned-rioters-jan-1908
  6. 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.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Swain County, North Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swain_County,_North_Carolina, accessed 27 February 2020.
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/f/f5/Iginorthcarolinap.pdf.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/f/f5/Iginorthcarolinap.pdf.