Cleveland County, North Carolina Research Guide


Shelby, NC Courthouse, April 2016

Cleveland County was created in 1841 from Rutherford and Lincoln counties.  The courthouse is in Shelby, North Carolina.  Deed books and some other interesting documents are located in the court house for public access.  Estate files are in the archives.

The county is part of the Piedmont area of the state.  Surnames that I research in Cleveland County include Turner, Hamrick, Hopper and Martin. Boiling Springs and Grover are two towns my ancestors lived in; most of my people were in the lower part of the county near the NC/SC border.

Map of Cleveland County North Carolina With Municipal and TownshipLabels

I, Ruhrfisch  Wikimedia Commons

The Basics

AncestryDNA Genetic Communties

I belong to two genetic communities that cover Cleveland County.


Settlers of the North Carolina Foothills & Northwest South Carolina (AncestryDNA Genetic Community)

carolina piedmont

Settlers of the Carolina Piedmont (AncestryDNA Genetic Community)


North Carolina Timelines


People who lived in this county near the NC/SC border can often be found in SC cemeteries.  Check York and Cherokee Counties.  WPA survey records for SC are on microfilm at the SC State Archives.

Cleveland County in the Civil War

Cleveland County, North Carolina on

Newspapers On Chronicling America

City Directories

Ancestry has directories for Shelby for years 1937, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1951 and 1959. Search City Directories or browse on the Search page.

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