Todd Johnson
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Physical Address:
Heritage Center
241 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2709
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-934-2836
Cohabitation & Slave Marriage Index

The abolition of slavery raised the question of freed men's marriages. In 1866, the North Carolina General Assembly passed "An Act Concerning Negroes and Persons of Color or of Mixed Blood." Those persons who wished to register their pre-Emancipation marriages were required to appear before the clerk of the county court or a justice of the peace to acknowledge their marital status. These acknowledgements were to be recorded and regarded as proof that a marriage had, indeed, existed.

These surviving records do not represent all slave marriages, by any means. 

The Heritage Center is pleased to provide you with an online database of the names of persons who registered their marriages in Johnston County as a result of the 1866 legislation.

Click Here to search the Cohabitation Index

Individuals registering their cohabitation were issued a Certificate of Marriage like the one shown below. Printed copies of these records can be obtained directly from the Heritage Center: e-mail