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Tips for searching the North Carolina Gazetteer

Return to The North Carolina Gazetteer main page.

If you search for a term with an apostrophe or hyphen and get no results, try your search without those punctuation marks.

Example: search for Toms Creek instead of Tom’s Creek


Many towns, geographic features, and other places in North Carolina have the same name. The Gazetteer lists them in alphabetical order by county.


This will only search place names. Extra words that may be included in the description will not help you find the correct entry.


The search feature is woefully inadequate and should be expanded to include place descriptions. For example, I would like to search for all the towns in Carteret County without knowing their names.

Dear Mr. Stanford,

Thank you for the feedback. We are aware of the limitations of the search feature and are investigating other search tools at the moment. We configured the current search tool for the Gazetteer to only search place names and not descriptions for now because if we did not, the name of the place searched would end up deep in the search results rather than as the first result. We didn't want users to have to scroll through multiple pages of results to find the main entry for Carteret County, for instance. Those were the only two configuration options available to us with this existing tool. 

A workaround in the interim, if you'd like, is to use the main search box for NCpedia (in the header) instead of the one on the Gazetteer page that only searches Gazetteer entries. (That search box uses a custom Google search.) If you search "Gazetteer Carteret" you will get all entries from the Gazetteer that have Carteret somewhere in the entry. All results will say "North Carolina Gazetteer search/browse" but the name of the place will be the first thing listed in the description.

I know this is not ideal. Anything that requires that much instruction is obviously not intuitive or ideal! Again, we are investigating other search tools in hopes that another will provide a better user experience. Our goal was to get the information online and available to the public as soon as possible. If you'd like, I'd be happy to retain your email address and will let you know when another search tool is configured and available for testing so you can help with the testing. 

Thank you again for taking the time to provide us with feedback!


Michelle Underhill
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC 

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Copyright notice

This content is from the North Carolina Gazetteer, edited by William S. Powell and Michael Hill. Copyright © 2010 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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