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Court Records

Was your ancestor involved in or affected by any of these things?

If so, a court would likely have heard the question and issued a ruling. Courts handled many matters and made records which are generally well-preserved.

In the colonial era, courts were involved more in administrative matters than in being solely arbiters of the law. They appointed County officers, granted permits (e.g., for ferries & mills), set taxes, regulated commerce and, basically, saw to the day-to-day administration of local government.

North Carolina Court System

Supreme Court & Appellate Court

North Carolina's Supreme Court originated in the the state constitution of 1776. The Court of Appeals was formed in 1799. Then, as now, these courts tended to hear appeals form the decisions of the lower district & circuit courts.

District Court/Superior Court

Do not make the too-common mistake that, because a record exists in the New Bern Court, your ancestor resided in New Bern or even in Craven County.

Long after formation of the counties carved out of Craven's territory, New Bern's District Court continued to be the major judicial institution in the region. The New Bern Judicial District served Craven, Beaufort, Pitt, Johnston, Jones, Greene/Glascow, & Lenoir counties.

Circuit Courts

In less-populated areas, the courts traveled to the people on a periodic basis. Legal matters would wait until the judge, clerk and attorneys came to town.


Some very dedicated people have abstracted and published the records (some online) of court proceedings in the area. We've extracted the Taylors from them, but don't neglect to visit & view our sources.

Here are links to the Taylor extracts:

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