Collections and Research
CCHA’s collections and archives, as well as research papers and articles prepared by volunteers over CCHA’s long history, provide a rich resource for researchers interested in local or family history. Explore them here.
This searchable database with images of nearly 1200 funeral programs provides a rich source of genealogical information and local history about African Americans in Chatham County and neighboring communities. This collection made available online through a collaboration of the Chatham County Historical Association with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Digital Heritage Center.
CCHA’s collection contains a variety of artifacts and documents—nearly all donated to the Association by individuals seeking to preserve these remnants of Chatham County’s history.
From 1988 until 2008, CCHA produced an occasional publication called The Chatham Historical Journal. Articles cover a variety of topics, such as the county courthouse, silk culture, coal, mills, the Chatham rabbit, and oral histories. Individual copies are available at the museum and can be ordered by mail.
Go to the Index of Journal Issues and link to volumes of interest.
Since 1989 CCHA volunteers have visited hundreds of Chatham County burial sites to record information about each grave marker. The result is a searchable database of almost 600 cemeteries, more than 33,000 grave markers, and a growing collection of grave marker photographs.
Resources available at the Chatham Community Library include an extensive local history and genealogy collection, as well collections of Chatham County school yearbooks and recent obituaries.
CCHA volunteers offer help with genealogy questions at the Chatham Community Library and with emailed inquiries about family or local history.
High school yearbooks preserve an aspect of the past not found elselwhere, reflecting perspectives and aspirations of different generations, and can also be very helpful tools for family research. They provide detail that is not available in other record types and help to place people in historical context. CCHA and the Chatham County Public Libraries have collaborated to make Chatham County yearbooks accessible. All three Chatham libraries have yearbook collections, and many of the older yearbooks are available online.
Some 3.5 million pages of digitized North Carolina newspapers published in 1922 and earlier are now available through NC LIVE. The “Historic North Carolina Digital Newspaper Collection” is a fantastic, searchable resource for North Carolina (and Chatham County) researchers.
This extensive archive of research papers and articles produced by CCHA’s volunteers covers a variety of topics and historical time periods. Papers will be added to this archive and made accessible on this website as they become available. Search our index or annotated list of available documents with links to the full text of each.
A list of external websites that have valuable information about Chatham County, North Carolina, or counties adjacent to Chatham.
Have a suggestion? Email us at Collections@chathamhistory.org.