About This Collection
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is North Carolina, Voter Registration, 1868–1898.
This collection contains voting registers for the North Carolina counties Orange, Beaufort and Chatham for the years 1868-1898. This searchable database includes images taken from microfilm of original records held at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. For a detailed look at this collection, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
Information in These Records
Each registrant’s name, age, race, occupation and place of birth are recorded. You can compare this information to what you know about your ancestor to determine if a search result is for your ancestor.
Early voting registers are especially important because they can help you pinpoint your ancestor’s location before 1870, overcoming one of the major challenges of African American genealogy research. Voter registration records can also fill the twenty year gap between the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1900 U.S. Census.
Records made after 1870 can help you learn more information that may fill in gaps in your ancestor’s timeline. To learn more about why keeping a timeline for your ancestor is important, see Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy’s article Timelines Keep Your Genealogy Research Moving Forward.
Researching From This Collection
If you find an ancestor listed in this collection, you can add the information to your ancestor’s timeline, then focus on searching that location for more records. The earliest records in this collection can help you find more Reconstruction era records for your ancestor, as many records such as Freedmen’s Bureau, Freedman’s Bank and Southern Claims Commission records are organized by place.
Let’s look at an example from this record set and see where further research can take us.
Example: Green Foy, Beaufort County, NC
Above is the voter registration for Green Foy of Beaufort County, North Carolina for the year 1896. His name is recorded in the “Colored” register. His age is listed as 56, occupation laborer, place of birth Jones County, North Carolina, residence 3rd Ward, 1st Division, date of registration Oct. 10, 1896.
His age of 56 places his birth date at approximately 1840. Let’s see what we can find for him.
Green Foy, 1888 Voter Registration
Green Foy also registered to vote in 1888. This earlier registry of voters did not record as many details as the 1896 registration, but it does help us place Green Foy’s location in the year 1888. We can add this information to our timeline for him.
Green Foy, Freedman’s Bank Record
Our search for Reconstruction era records yielded a Freedman’s Bank record for Green Foy. His birthplace is listed as Jones County, North Carolina, which agrees with the place of birth listed in the voter registration record. From this record, we learn his parents’ names and his precise place of birth.
Name: Green Foy
Birthplace: Jones Co. 15 M. from Newbern
Residence Place: Beaufort Co., Little Washington
Where Brought Up: Jones Co. 15 M. from Newbern
Employer: Sam Latham
Father’s Name: Caesar Foy
Mother’s Name: Eliza Foy
Spouse’s Name: Alice Barnes
Event Date: 26 Feb 1870
Account Number: 1508
Event Place: New Bern, Craven, North Carolina, United States
Relationship to Account Holder: Self
“United States, Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NSYK-CFQ : 9 March 2018), Alice Barnes in entry for Green Foy, ; citing bank New Bern, Craven, North Carolina, United States, NARA microfilm publication M816 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1970); FHL microfilm 928,586.
Green Foy, 1870 U.S. Census
Our search of the 1870 U.S. Census produced a record for Green Foy, whose household consisted of:
|Greene Foy||M||30||North Carolina|
|Mary Foy||F||23||North Carolina|
|Nicy Foy||F||3||North Carolina|
|Katy West||F||20||North Carolina|
Name: Greene Foy
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1870
Event Place: Washington, Beaufort, North Carolina, United States
Event Place (Original): Washington, Beaufort, North Carolina, United States
Birth Year (Estimated): 1840
Birthplace: North Carolina
Page Number: 30
Household ID: 214
Line Number: 31
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: M593
GS Film Number: 000552622
Digital Folder Number: 004277199
Image Number: 00286
“United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW8W-HYG : 14 June 2019), Katy West in entry for Greene Foy, 1870.
In the Freedman’s Bank record, Green Foy’s wife’s name is given as Alice Barnes, age 23. We do not see Alice in Green Foy’s household in the 1870 U.S. Census, but we do see a Mary Foy, age 23. We also see a Nicy Foy, age 3. The Freedman’s Bank record listed a Nicy Foy, age 3, as Green Foy’s daughter. We will need to view other records for Green Foy to decide if this is him in the 1870 U.S. Census.
Locating Green Foy in early North Carolina voter registrations revealed information that helped us search for other records for Green Foy. Those records revealed the names of Green Foy’s parents Caesar Foy and Eliza Foy. Have you located an ancestor in early voter registration records? Let us know in the comments below!
The Wiki Page North Carolina, United States Genealogy provides an in-depth look at resources for genealogy research in North Carolina.
The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for North Carolina can help you locate more resources for African American genealogy research in North Carolina.
We found a Freedman’s Bank record for Green Foy. The Freedman’s Bank collection’s Learn More page provides an in-depth look at Freedman’s Bank records and how to use them in your research.
To learn more about researching North Carolina ancestors, you can view BlackProGen LIVE Ep19: North and South Carolina Genealogy Research.
More Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy
Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.
Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.
Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state
African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.