Local History Collection

The Orange County Public Library is the home of the Rebecca B. Wall Local History Collection which contains historical reference items from the area, including: books, journals, magazines, maps, microfilm, and online resources. At the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of area historic sites and additional online resources provided by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the State of North Carolina, among others.


  • Church Histories
  • The Civil War
  • Local family histories
  • The Revolutionary War

Journals and Magazines

  • Hillsborough Historical Society, August 1981 to July 1995
  • North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, 1975 to Present
  • North Carolina Historical Review, 1924 to Present

Maps (Copies)

  • Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Orange, Person County Roads, 1982
  • Land grants to early settlers in old Orange County, 1743 to 1810
  • Land grants to early settlers in present Wake County, 1739 to 1820

Microfilm of Orange County Records

  • County Newspapers, 1820 to Present
  • Court Minutes, 1752 to 1868
  • Index to Deeds, 1755 to 1962
  • Index to Wills, 1756 to 1961
  • Marriage Bonds, 1752 to 1868
  • Record of Deeds, 1775 to 1872
  • Record of Wills, 1752 to 1893
  • U.S. Census for Orange County

Online Resources

  • Ancestry.com (library edition): At all public computers in the library. Provides, birth, death, and marriage records; census records; historical stories and maps; newspaper articles; photos, and more 
  • HeritageQuest: Contains birth, marriage, and death records; census data; city directories; family genealogies; land and probate records; local histories; tax lists, and more

Area Historic Sites and Additional Online Resources

  • Alliance for Historic Hillsborough: Offers educational programs, special events, tours, and visitor services
  • Burwell School: Preserves the setting for 1 of the state’s earliest schools for girls, The Burwell Academy for Young Ladies. Here you can find research records of the school, its history, environs, and related subjects, including the Burwell Family, Burwell School students, enslaved people, such as Elizabeth Keckly, and others who lived and/or worked there
  • Cemetery Census: Provides free listings of cemetery surveys along with photographs of grave markers
  • Colonial and State Records of North Carolina: Provides access to the 30-volume set of records published between 1886-1907 including census, court, land and military records; maps; obituaries, and more
  • Durham-Orange Genealogical Society: Researches and preserves family history of Durham and Orange Counties, NC
  • North Carolina Digital Collections: Provides access to more than 90,000 historic and recent photographs, state government publications, manuscripts, and other resources on topics related to North Carolina. The Collections are free and full-text searchable, and bring together content from the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina
  • North Carolina State Archives: Maintains an extensive searchable collection of historical materials relating to North Carolina including official records of state, county and local governmental units including bonds, census data, court, land, estate, marriage, tax, wills, and military records
  • Orange County Government Natural and Cultural Resources: Coordinates efforts toward environmental protection (air/climate, land, and water) and resource conservation (farmland, historic, and archaeological)
  • Orange County Government Register of Deeds: Maintains historical documents pertaining to Orange County that include property, marriage, births and deaths records (accessible to the general public)
  • Southern Historical Collection: Contains primary historical documents such as diaries, drawings, journals, ledgers, letters, maps, photographs, and oral histories
  • State Library of North Carolina, Genealogy Services: Contains resources such as county histories, family histories, periodicals, published abstracts, and reference materials

About Rebecca B. Wall
Image of Rebecca B. Wall, black and white vintage photographRebecca B. Wall (December 22, 1898 to April 2, 1986) was a career librarian and a devoted patron and benefactor of the Orange County Public Library. She was a member of the Orange County Board of Education from 1925 until 1929. She served as a librarian for the New York Public Library and at Greensboro Senior High School, in Greensboro, North Carolina. She retired from her post as chief librarian at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1964.

She was the daughter of Annie Cameron (nee Collins) and William Lewis Wall of Durham, North Carolina and was a descendant of Thomas Ruffin, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (1833-1852), and Duncan Cameron, who served in both the state house and senate between 1802 to 1824.