Harnett County Public Library
Now, genealogists and others who are curious about their Harnett Roots can use the Online Catalog to search for obituaries and cemetery information in Harnett County. Here's the story of how and why the library has undertaken this project. To send up updates/corrections please submit this form.
These are instructions only. This is what you see when you visit the Web Catalog. The search screen looks like the picture below. Select the Cemetery Database tab and type in your search term. .
You must change the database to Obituary by using the dropdown arrow where the search box is labeled Database.
Begun in 1989 with the
encouragement of Lois T. Byrd, then president of the Friends of the
Library, the staff and volunteers began indexing obituaries of Harnett
and outlying areas.
The staff designed an Access® database in
which to enter the obituaries.
The staff kept copies of the obituaries for
a long time, but as the notebooks grew, the library ran out of storage
Staff decided it was time to go paperless.
Now all of these obituaries are just on our
of the Library volunteers entered more than 10,000 obituaries in the
past twenty years and they continue to do so daily.
The Harnett County Cemetery project started out as a way for us to help others find their ancestors. Our family has always been interested in learning about our history for as long as I can remember. My aunt was a member of the DAR and made several trips to Europe to find out more about our ancestors. We have always been interested in more than just names and dates. We want to know as much as we can about those people: where were they from, what did they do for a living, what were they like, what did they look like? While I was working on my husband’s family tree, researching his ancestors on the internet. I had come to a dead end, you see his family settled in Indiana and I needed someone to go to a cemetery there and take a couple of pictures. A stranger who lived in Indiana offered to take the pictures for me. Those pictures helped me to solve a puzzle in our family tree. I started thinking that I would like to help other people find out more about their families. So I looked around at the cemeteries in the county where we live. The only records that I could find were two books written in the 1970’s by Hugh B. Williams, “The Cemetery Man.” I thought it is a pity no one carried on his work, so I voluntarily decided to go survey a few cemeteries. I took digital pictures and typed up the information on my computer. These cemeteries were only the beginning; I found the gathering of this data to be therapeutic. Once I started documenting, I just couldn’t stop until I’d found as many of the cemeteries in Harnett County as I could. Many of the cemeteries were in very bad shape due to vandalism and the forces of nature. Sometimes vaults were not used and the graves have fallen in. In several of the cemeteries, some of graves are marked with rocks, sticks, or metal markers that have deteriorated. I was distressed that their information has been lost. These were the reasons that made me want to persevere and save as much information as possible. My husband did all the work of putting the information that I gathered onto a website. Eventually, we had more information than we could fit on our website. When the Harnett County Library offered to take over the website, we decided that they had more resources than we did and that we could trust them to share the information gathered with those people who were seeking to find a piece of their past.
So, a partnership
was formed and the Gambrells have entrusted this treasure to the County
Julie and Vernon’s photographs and their
cataloging of Harnett Cemeteries have also been added to the library’s
The Cemetery Committee,
appointed by the Commissioners of Harnett County, is working diligently
on this project to keep it up-to-date and make it as accurate as
We need help from others to keep this
If you have questions contact the library 910-893-3446 or email the Library Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org