History Research Guide

Researching the History of Haywood County

Helpful information is available throughout Haywood County. It is always a good idea to call ahead and verify the type of records available, hours of availability, and any fees that may be related to searches and/or copies of records. Contact information for several of these locations can be found through the Resources page of this website.


Haywood County is home to a handful of museums highlighting the heritage of this area and its people.

  • The Haywood County History Museum
  • The Canton Area History Museum
  • The Shook Museum
  • The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts at the Shelton House

For more information visit our Local Museums page.



Haywood County has numerous properties and locations that offer a glimpse into the past. Some of these historic locations are identified by various groups such as:

  • The National Register of Historic Places
  • The Historic Preservation Commission of Waynesville
  • North Carolina’s Civil War Trail Markers
  • The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
  • HCHGS Historic Sites Committee

For more information visit our Historic Places page.



Property Records for Haywood County can be found in the Register of Deeds office. All records are indexed in books and can be searched by hand. In recent years, the Haywood County Register of Deeds has undertaken the task of digitizing property records maintained by their office in an effort to preserve these records in an electronic format. These records are now available online through the Haywood County Register of Deeds website

  • Digital images of the Grantor and Grantee indexes dating back to 1808 are now available online
  • The deed books are in the process of being digitized and the majority of documents are now available online. Digitizing is anticipated to be completed in the Spring 2012.
  • Deed of trust books are available online from 1978-present
  • Current real estate transactions are available online within minutes of filing at the Register of Deeds office

The Register of Deeds office does not have staff available to research property records for individuals; however, they are very helpful and can offer a quick tutorial about locating records.



The current local newspapers are The Mountaineer (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and The Smoky Mountain News (weekly). These publications frequently include articles of historic events and highlight new publications about the area.



Various books and reference materials can be found in the Haywood County Library’s North Carolina Room and the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society’s Resource Room. These materials are non-circulating. There are several books available about the area and local families.