Guilford County Genealogy

The Guilford County Genealogy Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1974 to improve genealogical research in Guilford County, North Carolina.  GCGS promotes the collection and preservation of family records, manuscripts, documents, and other Guilford County genealogy materials.  We hope some of our work will help in your ancestral research.

Guilford County Formation

​Guilford County was established in 1771. The eastern third was separated from Orange County and  the western two thirds from Rowan County. Randolph County was separated from Guilford County in 1779 and Rockingham County separated in 1785.

Guilford County Early Settlers

Settlement began in the late 1740s and grew rapidly in the 1750s. Settlers came from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. Most of this group traveled by the Great Wagon Road. North Carolina settlers from eastern and central counties also moved to the area including Quaker.

Group migrations were made by German Lutherans and Reformed settlers from Pennsylvania beginning in the late 1740s. One of the more prominent groups are Scots-Irish Presbyterians from the Pennsylvania-Maryland border area settling in the 1750s. Quakers began settling in our area in the 1750’s and are a big part of community today. Scattered Virginia Baptists organized meetings in the 1750s. Methodists from the Eastern Shore of Maryland began settling in the 1770s and 1780s.

Where Did Guilford County Settlers Go

Guilford County Genealogy show many continued their migration looking for rich farmland. Descendants are spread west as they followed roads leading to the south, west and northwest. Upper Georgia and South Carolina were favored, then sights were set on the Cumberland Gap as a way to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

Revolutionary War

The Battle at Guilford Courthouse was fought on 15 March 1781. Cornwallis won, but the victory left the British army so weak that it caused them to lose the campaign in the southern colonies, and led to the surrender at Yorktown.


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