Dear Robin Miller,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
Swain County experienced at least two major fires that destroyed many of the early records from the area. We suggest reaching out to the Swain County Genealogical Society as they may have useful information in regards to your search. It may be conducive to your research to look at county records from the two counties that combined to create Swain county, as the practice in North Carolina was often for records to stay with the original county rather than being transferred to the newly created county.
It may be worthwhile for your research to browse additional kinds of records with the North Carolina Online Genealogy Records and this Gaston County Public Library webpage. It may be possible the Nichols you are seeking could have served as a Colonial soldier, or you may be able to locate probate records. These additional research avenues may help you trace the correct Nichols lineage.
We suggest utilizing this list of North Carolina genealogy resources compiled by the Library of Congress to aid in your research. We also suggest you contact the North Carolina state archives and state genealogical society for records and guidance on the Nichols search during the 18th century. It may be beneficial to consider checking into collections like those at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and other university archives, as they may possible resources on the Roanoke descendants.
Additionally, we suggest you contact The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, United Kingdom. The website is http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
We hope this is helpful! Best of luck with your research!
[Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]