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The Guilford County Register of Deeds and how they can help you: 2 Wants to Know

Jeff Thigpen from the Register of Deeds in Guilford County answers your questions.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Register of Deeds. You've likely heard of it but chances are you don't know all the things this government office can do for you. Jeff Thigpen from the Register of Deeds in Guilford County joined us to answer your questions.

What is the Register of Deeds office and what do you do?

The Guilford County Register of Deeds mission is to record, preserve, and maintain and provide access to land and vital records in an effective and efficient manner in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes

The Register of Deeds is a public records office:

Land Records

  • Public Information Network Foundational to Democracy, Rule of Law and Commerce in Land ownership back to 1771
  • We help determine people are ‘who they say they are’ when land and property are transferred through notary acknowledgments.
  • We record, scan, and index transactions and make them searchable.
  • Essential for Transparency, certainty, and fair dealing in commerce
  • We can provide certified and uncertified copies.

Vital Records

  • Marriage licenses available from 1865-present
  • Birth and Death records 1913 to present
  • This information can be found in the Register of Deeds office and in limited index data online.
  • We can provide certified and uncertified copies.

Additional “Value-Added” Services include:

  • Guilford County Passport Services
  • Thank a Vet
  • Slave Deeds of Guilford County
  • Lance Corporal Christopher Phoenix “Jacob Leavy Flag Retirement Initiative
  • Good Grief Podcast Series

Quick Facts about the Guilford County Register of Deeds

  • The Register of Deeds has 25 employees, 3 in High Point
  • Only County in NC with two ROD offices (Greensboro and High Point)
  • “Revenue generating” county office
  • The Register of Deeds is elected to a 4-year term

Vital Records:

What should parents know about birth certificates when they have a child?

  • Parents fill it out hospital or place of birth, it goes to Public Health Dept, and then it's sent to NC Vital Records and the ROD office.
  • Usually a quick turnaround between 2 to 5 days
  • If a mistake on a birth certificate, you may need an amendment. The parent initiates that process. $25 for amendment. If it’s a clerical issue the ROD can help. If substantive issues, you should go to the Clerk of Court.

What are popular reasons for getting birth certificates?

  • To prove birth!
  • Kindergarten!
  • Playing recreational sports
  • Getting Jobs
  • Going on trips (passports)
  • Adding a child to your insurance
  • Establishing guardianship or paternity
  • If 62 or over, you can get one free copy!

How does the death certificate process work when someone dies?

  • There is usually an informant (family/friend) who provides information to funeral home representatives, hospitals, to gather basic information for the certificate
  • The death certificate has topical areas: descendant, parents, disposition, medical certification, and certifier.
  • Usually available within 10 days
  • Certifiers are either attending doctors or the medical examiner.
  • In some cases, an autopsy may be ordered based on varying factors, (toxicology reports, cause of death, age, suspicious death)
  • The autopsy can take months up to a year.
  •  A death certificate will be available with *pending cause of death in those situations until the official cause of death is determined.

What are popular reasons the public comes to ROD for death certificates?

  • To prove death!
  • Insurance companies
  • For Spouse-Proof of death for benefit changes (SSA)
  • To open an estate with the clerk of court to settle affairs
  • Change car titles
  • Access Bank accounts and safety deposit boxes

What are popular reasons people come to the ROD for copies of marriage licenses?

  • To prove you are married!
  • Name changes for Social Security Administration and NC DMV.
  • Added to spouses’ insurance
  • Name changes on a passport
  • Proof of marriage by spouse related to death benefits

How do I obtain my child’s birth certificate, a marriage certificate, or a death certificate?

  • In-office
  • By Mail
  • Online at NCVITALS.COM

Guilford County Passport Services

What services are provided by Guilford County Passport Services?

  • Local office for first passport applications
  • Provide passport photos and complete applications
  • We do not do passport recertifications

Where do I go to get a passport from the Register of Deeds office?

  • We are located at 201 West Market Street downtown Greensboro
  • Office hours are 8:30 to 3 pm Monday through Friday.
  • Due to COVID 19, the office is “appointment only”

How long does it take to get a passport?

  • Up to 16 weeks
  • Expedited up to 12 weeks

How much does it cost to get a passport?

  • Depends. For example, are you getting a passport book, card, or a book and a card. It also depends on whether you are expediting or not and if you are using overnight services or not. You can go to the U.S. Department of State’s website and use their Passport Calculator to determine your fees.

How do I contact the Passport Services office?

  • Search Guilford County Passport Services
  • Call 336-641-5322 · Email: passports@guilfordcountync.gov

Thank a Vet

What is Thank a Vet and how does it help veterans?

  •  Public Private partnership with over 400 local businesses to provide discounts on goods and services for veterans

How do veterans get involved?

  • File their military discharge with Register of Deeds and get a discount card
  • Search Guilford Thank a Vet and go to our website where Thank a Vet businesses are listed to find those who accept the card

How can a local business become a “Thank a Vet" business?

  • Compete the merchant form on the Guilford Thank a Vet webpage

Guilford County was the first Thank A Vet program in North Carolina. How many counties have programs in their county now?

  • There are over 35 counties and over 2000 businesses across North Carolina
  • Go to county register of deeds websites to see if they have a Thank a Vet program.

The Lance Corporal Christopher “Jacob” Levy Flag Retirement Initiative

What is this initiative and how can the public take part in it?

  • This initiative is named after Jacob who died defending our country in Afghanistan in 2011.
  • This is a free flag disposal service to Guilford County and area residents. We have flag disposal sites at the Greensboro and High Point locations
  • We are partnering with local Boy Scouts of America organizations to dispose of American flags as outlined by United States Flag Code.
  • If you’ve ever attended a Flag Retirement Ceremony, they can be very meaningful events.

Slave Deeds of Guilford County

What is this project?

  • Through this project, we’ve found over 300 deeds of men, women, and children of color sold as property during the civil war.
  • We’ve created a searchable index, so they are available to genealogists, researchers, and the public
  • We’ve had museum exhibits at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum as well as the High Point Museum
  • There is a Community Interview Series on the Slave Deeds of Guilford County on our YouTube page. We discuss these deeds with local academics, community, and faith leaders.

Are there other similar initiatives?

  • We are partnered with the People Not Property project which is a collaboration between UNC-G University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and NC Register of Deeds. This project is doing similar work in 24 counties across the state in creating a statewide database.

Good Grief Podcast Series

What is the ‘Good Grief’ Podcast Series?

  • This Podcast Series discuss issues of death and dying unapologetically
  • The series seeks to lift up and amplify the work of a number of community leaders and organizations in the end-of-life field.
  • The series began in March 2021 and will run through the end of the year.
  • Topics include: hospice, palliative care, estates, funerals, advanced care planning, suicide and opioids, faith and spirituality, body donation, and more

Office Information

Greensboro Office 

BB&T Building 

201 West Market Street Greensboro, NC 27401 

(336) 641-7556

Vital Records: 1st Floor 

Real Estate & Recording:2nd Floor

High Point Office 

325 E Russell Avenue Room 155 High Point, NC 27260 

(336) 641-6935

Office Hours 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday – Friday

Email guilforddeeds@guilfordcountync.gov