Local History & Genealogy Collections

The Local History & Genealogy Librarian works out of the May Memorial Library and can be contacted directly at reference.staff@alamancelibraries.org. Limited inquiries can 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 federal population censuses are available from 1790 through 1930 either as print indices or via the online genealogical services HeritageQuest and Ancestry.

The library also provides access to United States historical newspapers by means of the online database NewspaperArchive, which is available for use in the library.  The NewspaperArchive database helps to locate local newspaper articles from the Burlington Times-News between 1928 and 1977 and provides scanned images of their contents.

Other sources of local historical and genealogical information:

Alamance County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 3052
Burlington, NC 27216


Alamance County Historical Museum
4777 South NC Highway 62
Burlington, NC 27215

  • 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.
  • A file listing persons from Alamance County who died in conflicts in the Middle East.
  • A file listing persons from Alamance County who died in the Vietnam War. Thanks go to library volunteer Miriam Pace for compiling this list.
  • A file listing persons from Alamance County who died in the Korean War.
  • A file listing persons from Alamance County who died in World War II.
  • A file listing persons from Alamance County who died in World War I.
  • A file listing the graves of Alamance County Revolutionary War soldiers.

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

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 photographs or of certain materials in fragile or delicate condition.

Items in the Local History collection at May Memorial Public Library

  • North Carolina marriage bond microfiche before 1868, pre-1914 north Carolina cemetery surveys on microfilm, and an extensive collection of troop rosters and pension abstracts for American wars.
  • A collection of yearbooks from High Schools and Colleges in Alamance County and North Carolina
  • Birth Records 1875-1914
  • A list of the Mayors of Company Shops and Burlington from 1869-2012
  • A marriage and obituary index to The Alamance Gleaner, weekly newspaper published at Graham, NC, for the period 1875-1913.
      • The State Dispatch (weekly newspaper 1908-1915): The State Dispatch was a Republican weekly newspaper that was formed in 1908 when local postmaster and produce merchant J. Zeb Waller bought the Graham Tribune, published since 1897, and moved it to Burlington.  Waller had the press room installed in the back of his fruit and vegetable store on Spring Street and hired John Rudy Hoffman, and later John Hart, as the paper’s first two editors.  The paper went to twice-weekly publication around 1912 as the Twice-A-Week Dispatch.  The newspaper ceased publication by January 1917, when owner J. Zeb Waller was run over by a passenger train at Efland and died at the age of 46 years.  There is a card file index to death and marriage notices from this newspaper in the Local History collection at May Memorial Library.
  • 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.
  • A scrapbook concerning the life of physician and blood-banking pioneer, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who died in a traffic accident in Alamance County in 1950 and is memorialized by a local monument.
  • Manuscripts of the column “In Days Gone By” written by the late Julian Hughes in the Burlington Times-News regarding early Burlington people and places. An index to the articles is available.
  • 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. The 1978-1985 index was compiled by volunteer Miriam Pace.
  • A subject index to items from the yearly Times-News Progress edition from 1949-1960. The index was compiled by volunteer Miriam Pace.
  • Early Burlington photographs from City of Burlington, Alamance County promotional pamphlet published in 1906 by O.F. Crowson held by the May Memorial Library Local History Collection. Several unidentified family photographs from the library collection are also included. View the photographs here.
  • Microfilm of Cemetery records, Census records, Church histories, historic newspapers, city directories and more. Complete list of microfilm held at May Memorial.
  • Family History Vertical File. View a list of Surnames included in this file. Please note that items in this file include typescript family histories, pedigree sheets, newspaper obituaries, and various brief items of genealogical interest for families in Alamance County and immediately adjacent counties. Whenever possible, variant possible spellings of the surname have been noted.
  • 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 This guide is a collection of street maps and atlas information from Burlington North Carolina in the 1920s through the 1950s along with some descriptive demographic information and pictures. This era reflects a time of great growth for the city.

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.