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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.


hmmmmmm interesting

Can you add the option to search partial names, please? For example, search for names starting CON gives no results, even though there are plenty of place names that start with those 3 letters. Using a search asterisk CON* would be a great way to perform that search . That way, someone searching specifically for CON would not get overwhelmed with all the CON.... place names. Searching by a short strand of letters can be helpful if you don't know how to spell the name, or if the name has slight variations in spelling and only one is in the Gazetteer.

Dear Jay,

Thank you very much for visiting NCpedia and sharing your experience of using the Gazetteer.

I’m sorry that the resource has limited search functionality.  Unfortunately, this is the best we have for the time-being based on the constraints of the resource’s data (which we have made available through a license from the University of North Carolina Press) and what we have available in NCpedia’s Drupal content management system framework.  In the future, as staff resources might permit, we hope to be able to investigate adding additional functionality to the search of the Gazetteer.  

If you need help finding something in the Gazetteer, I would be happy to help you.  If you are specifically interested in the places that begin with CON* (or another combination), here is the page where they begin in the online version:  You can page through to find an item of interest.  There are only about 3 pages of CONs in the print volume, so it won’t take too long.  If there is another letter combination of interest, please let me know and I’ll pull up the start page for that as well.  

Additionally, if you would like to see a print copy of the book, you may be able to find it at a local public library, especially if you’re in North Carolina.  Here is a link to the item in WorldCat --   If you scroll down below the record, you can enter your location/zipcode to see the nearest library with the book.

I hope this helps!  Please let me know if you need additional help.

Best wishes,
Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

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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