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Buncombe County Genealogy

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Buncombe County Genealogy – History, Creation and Facts

The county was formed in 1791 from parts of Burke County and Rutherford County. It was named for Edward Buncombe, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, who was captured at the Battle of Germantown.

In 1808 the western part of Buncombe County became Haywood County. In 1833 parts of Burke County and Buncombe County were combined to form Yancey County, and in 1838 the southern part of what was left of Buncombe County became Henderson County. Finally, in 1851 parts of Buncombe County and Yancey County were combined to form Madison County.

Buncombe County has contributed a word to the English language. In the Sixteenth Congress, after lengthy debate on the Missouri Compromise, members of the House called for an immediate vote on that important question. Instead, Felix Walker, whose district included Buncombe County, rose to address his colleagues, insisting that his constituents expected him to make a speech “for Buncombe.” It was later remarked that Walker’s untimely and irrelevant oration was not just for Buncombe–it “was Buncombe.” Thus, “buncombe,” afterwards spelled “bunkum” and then shortened to “bunk,” became a term for empty, nonsensical talk. Source Wikipedia

Buncombe county is the father (mother?) of all of the western counties. Originally, it’s dimensions were so vast, it was referred to as the “state” of Buncombe. The County seat of Buncombe County is Asheville. The county currently is split into the following townships: Asheville, Avery Creek, Black Mountain, Broad River, Fairview, Flat Creek, French Broad, Ivy, Leicester, Limestone, Lower Hominy, Reems Creek, Sandy Mush, Swannanoa, and Upper Hominy.

Among the notable locations in Buncombe County: The Biltmore Estate, Grove Park Inn, Thomas Wolfe House, Vance Birthplace, the Folk Art Center (located on the Blue Ridge Parkway), Pisgah National Forest, and the Grove Arcade, Basilica of St. Lawrence. Asheville has a great Urban Trail with markers in a self guided tour.

Buncombe County NCGenweb Site

The Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2122
Asheville, NC 28802

covers the counties that Buncombe originally entailed which is most of current Western North Carolina. (covers present day Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Swain, and Transylvania Counties)


Buncombe County Courthouse
60 Courthouse Plaza
Asheville, NC 28801
Probably the best public library for research in the county. (Some other libraries in the Asheville Buncombe system have specific content to the town, such as the Weaverville library.)

Pack Memorial Library
67 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC. 28801

Search the Pack Library Special Collections online

Asheville-Buncombe Library System

If you’re interested in Weaverville history and visiting. There is the Dry Ridge Museum which is in the basement of the Library in Weaverville on Main Street. Neat collection of photos, books, etc.

Weaverville Branch of Asheville-Buncombe Library System
41 N. Main Street
Weaverville, NC 28787
The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints has a reading room at their Church building on Sweeten Creek Rd. in the Arden area.

Buncombe County Genealogy – Records


1800 Federal Census index

1810 Federal Census index online text

1820 Federal Census index

1830 Federal Census index

1840 Federal Census index

1850 Federal Census index online text Directory opens to listing of text files by starting page number.


USGS listing of cemeteries of Buncombe County

Cemetery Transcriptions

Buncombe County Genealogy – Other Resources

Query Forums

Buncombe County, NC Query Forum

Latest North Carolina Genealogy Query posts for Buncombe County from the Forum:

Buncombe County, NC at Genforum

Cities and towns in Buncombe County:

Asheville (County Seat)
Black Mountain
Enka Village
Oak Park
Royal Pines
West Asheville
West Haven

News related to Buncombe County, NC

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