Public Documents of North Carolina

Years covered by the guide: 1831-1919

The Public Documents of North Carolina series is a great starting point to learn about the workings of North Carolina's government and the important issues facing it at that time. The series was published from 1831-1919. Each volume compiles executive and legislative documents (annual and biennial reports, budget documents, addresses of governors to the General Assembly, reports of state institutions, and special committees' reports) produced for the year's session of the General Assembly.

For example, the 1840 edition contains Governor Dudley's message to the General Assembly and includes reports of the Comptroller's Department, the Public Treasurer, the Commissioners for Rebuilding the Capitol, and the President and Directors of the Literary Fund of North Carolina Showing the Fiscal Operations of the Board and the Progress made in Draining the Swamp Lands, as well as other reports. The Public Documents series is the only place to find the reports of many state agencies.

Genealogists may find this set of value because many of the reports have lists of names. For example, the Auditor's report will have a list of people working for state government or receiving contracts from the state, the names of sheriffs, and the names of people paid to transport patients to the insane asylum, including the names of some of those transported. Other types of information of interest to genealogists are lists of soldiers and Governor's pardons and commutations.

The print version of this title is made up of volumes that can be more than 5 inches thick and over a thousand pages. Some volumes have foldouts (an oversize page that is folded in to a book or magazine) that contain valuable information (the state budget, other financial information), but the foldouts are too fragile to open. The foldouts have been digitized and inserted into the publication in the same place they appear in the original publications. While many volumes contain a list of the documents within, a lack of indices has been a barrier to easily finding specific information within this set.

The digital Public Documents are indexed and word searchable, so that researchers can more easily find the rich but hidden information. The digital versions can be viewed, downloaded and/or printed. The digitization of the Public Documents was supported by the Ensuring Democracy through Digital Access grant, which funds the creation of a digital collection of core North Carolina documents.


Featured Reports within the Set

Alternate names:
Documents printed by order of the general assembly of North Carolina at its session;
Executive and legislative documents laid before the General Assembly of North-Carolina;
North Carolina executive and legislative documents;
Executive and legislative documents of the State of North Carolina;
Legislative documents: session

  • 1831-1835 Volume
    • Report on incorporating the Mecklenburg Gold Mining Company
    • Report relevant to the statue of Washington
    • Report relevant to the government of slaves and free persons of color
    • Report of the situation of the Cape Fear navigation company
  • 1835-1839 Volume
    • Report of the Joint Selection Committee on the Subject of Abolition
    • Report of the Commissioners for Draining Matamuskeet Lake in Hyde County
    • Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Superintend the Sale of the Cherokee Lands
    • Senate Report of the Judiciary Committee, Relative to Wearing Arms Concealed about the Person of Individuals
  • 1840-41 Volume
    • Report of Maj. Gwynn, Civil Engineer, upon the Practicability and Probable Cost of Opening an Inlet at Nag's Head
    • Resolutions Authorizing the Erection of a Lunatic Hospital
    • Report of the Joint Committee on Education, on the Subject of Common Schools
    • Abstract of the Census of North Carolina for the Year 1840
  • 1842-43 Volume
    • Report from the Bank of Cape Fear
    • Reports Submitted to the Legislature on the Subject of the Expenditures for Furniture and Repairs of the Government House
  • 1844-45 Volume
    • Message from Governor Morehead on the Subject of Asylums for the Deaf & Dumb, Blind and Insane
    • Message from Governor Morehead relative to the Returns of the Election for the President and Vice-President of the US
    • Communication from the President of the Dismal Swamp Canal Company
  • 1866-67 Volume
    • Report of Various Railroads
    • Hillsboro Military Academy
    • Report of Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company
  • 1869-70 Volume
    • List of Pardons, Commutations and Respites
    • Report of the Joint Committee on Banks
    • Report of the Superintendent and Physician of the Insane Asylum of North Carolina
    • Inaugural Address of Gov. W. W. Holden, Delivered in Capitol Square, Raleigh, July 4th, 1868
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