Updated Designs for Alamance and Rockingham County Sites

Have you visited our pages for Alamance County & Rockingham County lately? We are pleased to share that both sites have recently been updated with new website designs and we invite you to check them out!

Alamance_Apr2013Alamance County is coordinated by Cathy von Hassel-Davies.  Cathy joined the NCGenWeb in December and is enthusiastic about helping researchers get to information relevant to the county.  If you would like to stay current with site updates, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to receive notifications by email.  A big welcome to Cathy!




Additionally, the Rockingham County site has also had a facelift.  Interim coordinator Katherine Benbow is an experienced genealogist and has been with NCGenWeb for many years.  Katherine can help steer you in the right direction should you have questions about researching genealogical information in that area. Subscribe to the RSS feed to stay current with updates.



The NCGenWeb is dedicated to helping provide free genealogical information and relies on your contributions. Please do let us know if you have information to share.

Historical NC Newspapers Selected for Digitization

Back in August I shared news that NC would be contributing papers to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America digitized newspaper portal.  The final title selections have now been made and announced on the North Carolina Miscellany blog of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

newspaperNewspapers selected will cover Buncombe, Cherokee, Chowan, Craven, Cumberland, Durham, Guilford, Henderson, Edgecombe, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pasquotank, Sampson, Vance, Wake, and Watauga counties.

The full list of 21 titles is on the NC Miscellany blog post.  These are going to span 1836-1922 and there are sure to be many gems among their pages.  All 100,000 pages planned for this phase should be online by Summer 2014. Stay tuned for more info as they start to get digitized!

Image credit: Vinmag by Flickr user Oliver Joe. 

African American Resources from UNC-Greensboro

I never ceased to be amazed and the number of resources coming online that aid us as we search for stories and information about our ancestors.  Thanks to a NCGenWeb researcher, I’ve recently learned about the availability of a few resources from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and thought they would be good to highlight here.


NC Runaway Slave Advertisements, 1751-1840


This database includes all known runaway slave advertisements that appeared in NC newspapers during this time period — more than 2300 of them.  There are options to browse the collection by county and by decade. You can also search the full-text of the advertisements.  Each record includes the digital version of the advertisement.  After completing your search you can narrow by the name of the newspaper, the slave name, and the name of the person placing the ad.  From my own previous research, I’d previously located this ad for Tom Whitfield, a slave of one of my family’s slaveholders Warre Kilpatrick but it was good to see that it was included here. Maybe I’ll find more information for my own research!

Civil Rights Greensboro


Greensboro was a central location of activity during the Civil Rights Era, a history recently more thoroughly acknowledged with the opening of the International Civil Rights Center &  Museum a couple of years ago. The Civil Rights Greensboro website offers a great online collection of information on the city’s civil rights history. The website offers a myriad of options for searching and browsing the digital files and each record contains a wealth of information. You will also find a timeline history and an interactive map of key event locations.  I grew up in Greensboro so this database touches very close to home.


Take a look! Let us know if you find something of interest in these, or other UNCG Digital Collection resources! Many thanks to the UNCG team for their hard work.


Patent Searching

A few years ago, I submitted a small write-up for a society journal with tips for searching patents.  Today, while indexing some issues of the Roanoke Beacon newspaper for the NCGenWeb People in the Papers website , I was reminded on just how interesting it can be.  A notice from the October 12, 1900 issue of the paper reported that Mr. D.S. SETTLEMYRE of Connelly Springs (Burke County) received a patent for his “baby walker” invention. 

Roanoke Beacon, 12 Oct 1900

 Now, not that I advocate putting a baby in the walker all night, it was still an interesting notice. So, off I went to search US Patents via Google’s Patent Search, and surely enough I was able to find the patent information right away. And, it looks quite similar to our current baby walkers. 

U.S. Patent #658126

The patent application is worth a read – it’s full of detail about how the walker works. Notice that Settlemyre’s signature is on the drawing, as well as the signatures of his witnesses and his attorney.   His patent has influenced others also – including a 2004 patent filing for a remote -controlled and motorized baby walker. 

How neat if this were someone in your family. Wouldn’t you want to see the details of their inventions? PDF files of the patent applications can be downloaded from the Google site so you can keep it among your personal records. Take a moment to check it out!


NC to Add More Historical Newspapers Online!

In early August, the National Endowment for Humanities announced their latest round of project funding.  Our lovely state of North Carolina is the recipient of several awards, including one to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to digitize 100,000 pages of historical newspapers from -1836-1922.  The newspapers will be added to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website.  You can read more about the award on the North Carolina Miscellany blog. 

This is great news for NC researchers — newspapers contain a wealth of information that will aid you in your research.  Kudos to UNC for the award! 

NC Newspaper Locator

How did I not know about this resource?  Perhaps you knew about it; if not, you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised.  The State Library has an online database that will help you identify newspapers that may have covered a particular area of interest in NC.  Need to know what papers were published in Craven County in 1917? Covered! Need to know what papers would cover Asheville in the late 1880s?  The NC Newspaper has you covered there too.

You can access the database online at http://cinch.nclive.org/newspaper/.  Recently, the library staff uploaded a YouTube video to help you learn how to navigate and search. 

The database includes records about the library’s holdings so keep that in mind as you search.  Just because you don’t find what you need, does not mean it does not exist.

Some additional resources for your NC newspaper searches include:

In Memoriam: Joyce Wilson Harrison

Joyce – a high school photo

The NCGenWeb Project is saddened to announce the passing of Joyce Ann Wilson Harrison, former county coordinator of the Orange & Durham county sites.  Joyce passed away Sunday, June 24th in Greensboro, NC. 

Prior to resigning from the project this past fall, Joyce had been an active contributor.  Not only did Joyce volunteer with the NCGenWeb, but she was also Secretary for the Alamance County Genealogical Society.  We extend our condolences to her family.  May Joyce rest in peace with her ancestors. 

NC Yearbook Index: 30,000 Names and Counting

Two years ago, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center launched a mass digitization project to digitize college and  high school yearbooks from across the state.  With the vast amount of information available in these yearbooks, I started an index database for graduating seniors.  The index focuses largely on classes graduating in 1930 and prior, but does include some later classes as well. 

Recently, I reached a milestone for the database and it now includes over 30,000 students! If your ancestor attended a college in NC during this time frame, you may very well finding them listed here. Of course, there are probably many schools whose yearbooks have not been digitized, but as more yearbooks are added, I will keep indexing 🙂

The database is searchable by name, county, city, state and school.  

If you are interested in keeping track of updates to the database, please subscribe to the RSS feed. I try to update at least once a month.  Additionally, you can visit the blog and sign up to get the updates sent directly to your email; just look for the sign-up box on the right side of the screen. 

If you are interested in helping contribute to the index, please let me know! Volunteers are always appreciated. You can visit the NC Yearbook Index by clicking on the graphic below.

The 1940 Census is Here!

Today, April 2, 2012, is an exciting day in the genealogy world; the 1940 census is being released after the federally-mandated 72 year embargo!

At 9am EST, the National Archives & Records Administration is releasing the images on their website at http://1940census.archives.gov/.  You may wish to visit the site at 8:30am EST however for the live webstream event that will preface the release. When the images are made available online, there will not be an index right away – you’ll need to have the Enumeration District for the people/places you wish to search.  More information about how to start your census search is available from the NARA website

As equally exciting though is that YOU CAN HELP CREATE A FREE INDEX; Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, and FindMyPast have partnered to create the US Community Indexing Project to recruit volunteers to help with the indexing.  After all, the sooner the index is created, the sooner you can get started searching your family members.  Visit www.the1940census.com for details on how to get started.  Most importantly – why not let those indexing credits count towards a good cause!

On April 11, 2012, the images for North Carolina were made available to be indexed.  You can sign up to contribute your efforts to the USGenWeb one of 4 ways.

Go ahead! Join the cause and help us get this index online. I plan to do some indexing, will you?