Looking for a NC Cemetery?

Then you may be interested in one of the latest offerings from the North Carolina State Archives & State Library of North Carolina.  In the past several weeks, they have added  scans of the cemetery surveys done across the state by the Works Progress Administration (now called Works Projects Administration).

example cemetery survey listing

Done as part of the WPA Historical Records Survey, these files are a great resource as they focused on recording burials that occurred before 1914.  The surveys were conducted over a several year time span ( I think the 1930s and 1940s) and have thousands of names included.

Granted, not all the information will be accurate  – typos abound, some cemeteries are not listed, some are listed with erroneous locations, etc., but it will not hurt to check.   There are records for 97 counties –  you have to check these out!  You can find them at  http://goo.gl/Lw67D.  More information about the project can be read on the NC State Archives blog.

If you want to stay on top of new things as added, you may wish to follow Ashley, an archivist there, who posts regularly to Twitter as items are added.  Wouldn’t it be great if more states put their WPA files online? Do you know of any others that do? If so, please share by leaving a comment.

Gale National Library Week Offers Access to Historical Newspapers

The Gale Cengage company is offering a wonderful treat during the next two weeks.   From now until April 24th, several databases will be available free of charge in celebration of National Library Week.

Several databases will be available, the one most likely to be of highest interest for most genealogy researchers is Gale News Vault becuase of its vast collection of historical newspapers.  The database includes both US & UK newspapers and has more than 10 million pages available.

For North Carolina — the following newspapers and ranges are available in the 19th US Century Newspapers subset of  Gale News Vault:

  • News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) from 1880-1899 –  close to 6,000 issues
  • Raleigh Register from 1800-1899 – more than 3500 issues
  • Fayetteville Observer from 1816-1899 – more than 3,000 issues
  • Daily Register (Raleigh, NC) from 1850-1861 – more than 500 issues

Remember, newspapers often covered items over a wide geographic area so you’ll want to be sure to especially check for news in counties near to where the paper was published.   For example, the Raleigh Register newspaper covered news from across the state — here’s an 1858 excerpt of an account on the death of Mr. George Hensley of Madison County (all the way on the other side of the state) who unfortunately met his demise due to an accidental gun discharge after a bear hunt.

Published in the Weekly Raleigh Register - Wednesday, January 27, 1858; Issue 10; col D

If you have research interests in other states, you’ll certainly wish to download the title list from the 19th Century US Newspaper collection as there are papers for many states.

To access the materials, choose from the drop down menu in the widget below.  Happy Hunting!

P.S.  — hat tip to my friend Billie of the TNGenWeb Project for letting me know of this!

FYI, here are some other newspaper resources:

Johnston County New Website

The NCGenWeb Project is pleased to inform interested researchers of the new Johnston County site. Michael Kay, whose family roots extend to the area, recently adopted the county and has designed a new site for  you all to enjoy.

Johnston County NCGenWeb site

Some of the features you’ll find on the site include:

  • an RSS feed so you can keep up with updates via your favorite feed reader
  • a well-organized sidebar to help you locate records of interest
  • interactive census records with comments and transcription variations (particularly the 1800 census)

Michael uses a back-end database system for the site that offers him an advantage of adding new resources quickly.   Check it out!

NC Freedmen Letters 1862-1870 Available for Indexing

Are you familiar with the FamilySearch Indexing Project?  This is an initiative from the Church of Latter-Day Saints and via the efforts of thousands of volunteers, they are making parts of their collection freely available online at their Family Search RecordSearch & FamilySearch Beta websites.

Recently, FamilySearch announced the availability of a new collection that is available for volunteer indexing, NC Freedmen Letters from 1862-1870.   Here is a sample image:

The project goal is to index every name that appears in these letters and more details can be found on the project page. If you have some free time to spare, consider registering and indexing a batch or two.

State of the NCGenWeb 2010

Welcome to the 2010 State of the NCGenWeb!

We thought it would be helpful to share with our researchers a recap of some of the activities that have occurred in the project over the past year. Perhaps this can also help our collective memory going forward as we continue to strive to bring you free & excellent resources for your family history research.  This update will cover the 12 months spanning July 2009 – June 2010.

NCGenWeb Board & Administrative Functions
Elections were held in June 2009.  Diane Siniard was elected as  State Coordinator.  Shortly thereafter, Ron Dailey & Katherine Benbow joined as Assistant State Coordinators #1 and #2, and I came on board as the webmaster; Derick Hartshorn serves as Board Advisor.   After Ron resigned from the ASC position, Deloris Williams came on as ASC #2 Dee Gibson Roles, Sue Ashby and Jo Branch joined the board as Regional Coordinators, a role designed to help county coordinators in regions throughout the state.  We now have 4 regions to cover the state – Coastal, Eastern Piedmont, Western Piedmont & Mountain.   We’ve had some turnover throughout the year, so currently Katherine Benbow & Deloris Williams are our co-State Coordinators until we have our state elections.   Additionally this year, the NCGenWeb project also revised the County Coordinator Guidelines and passed our Bylaws!

Website
In late July 2009, we launched a new NCGenWeb homepage.  This site is now using WordPress, a blogging/content management system platform.  As part of the new site, we also started a blog and have published 53 posts since then, an average of one post each week.  If you’d like to follow along with us, you can subscribe to the RSS feed, or sign up to receive each post to be sent directly to your email account. Additionally,  all county URLs were configured to work by using http://www.ncgenweb.us followed by the county of choice – this will work whether or not the site is hosted here, on Rootsweb, or elsewhere. This was done in order to help make it easier for researchers to get to the county of interest.

County Coordinators
During the course of the year we’ve also had some new and/or former county coordinators join us here in the project. These include:

In addition to the new CC’s, we also have several counties shift hands among current NCGenWeb members and/or sites have gotten facelifts.  Be sure to check the new/redesigned sites and update any older bookmarks.

In Memoriam
This year, we unfortunately lost two county coordinators – John Burney McGowan, co-CC of Hyde County & Sheila Hanna, cc of Franklin County.  Both were active participants in the project with vast knowledge of their counties and are missed by many.   We’ve also lost Beverly Gail Cole, an active contributor to the NCGenWeb though not a CC.  If you know of others that we may have missed please let us know.

Data Sources/Additional Features
Furthermore, we continue to try and bring you resources relevant to your information seeking.  The NCGenWeb has a few new pages of resources for your perusal, including a Statewide Resources page, a Digital Bookshelf site for categorizing ebooks, an index of graduates of North Carolina schools & universities,  and a list of social networking feeds relevant to NCGenWeb.  But, information resources aren’t coming just from us directly; over this past year we’ve seen the online offerings greatly expand from UNC-Chapel Hill, from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, from Google News Archive and more.   Visit the blog for postings over the past year highlighting new collections.

NCGenWeb Wordle - image based on blog posts from this site. Created at wordle.net

Our Visitors
Over the past 12 months many have visited the NCGenWeb site.  While we don’t have data for all the counties combined, for those hosted on the ncgenweb.us server alone we average more than 2,800 visits each day and more than 87,000 visits each month. Much of our traffic comes from those who directly bookmark our pages (58%), with 31% of the traffic coming from search engines, and another 10% coming from referrals from sites such as the main USGenWeb site.

We have site visitors from all over the globe – China, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, South Africa and Canada to name a few.

We have accomplished a lot this year here at NCGenWeb, with many thanks to all of our site contributors.  Help us continue to grow and expand and promote free genealogical resources.  Next time you are working on your family research send an email to a county coordinator to see how you can help.  We all benefit from everyone’s contributions and look forward to continued growth in this upcoming year.

Historical NC Papers in Google News Archive

Google News Archive has recently implemented  a new feature which makes it 10 times easier to browse through the thousands of pages of historical newspapers they a) acquired from Paper of Record and b) have been digitizing.

The new feature allows you to browse the issues & you see them in a convenient date sorted format.   While I’ve been aware that there are NC newspapers digitized, until now, it’s been difficult to know exactly how many issues from each paper have been included.

North Carolina papers you’ll find in their collection are below, but note, the indicated time span does not mean every issue is included — be cognizant that there are gaps:

In addition to these papers, there are papers digitized from other states around the county, as well as from other countries.  I’ve compiled a list of papers I’ve found in the Archive, though the list is likely not to be complete.  You can view a spreadsheet here.

Here are some aspects of Google News Archive that you’ll need to know about in order to use the site most effectively.

1) When you click on a link to view the digitized issues be sure to click the advance button if you don’t see more than one column of papers.  There are gaps in the collection so even though the screen view may show 40-50 years time span, there may be a big gap in the collection.

2)  You can change the view displayed by using the drop down menu in the top left corner of the screen.  I personally recommend the “decade” view for a quick overview and the “year” view for finer tuning.  Other views available include “month,” “week,” & “day”

Join the NCGenWeb

This week, the NCGenWeb has launched a new application form for those potentially interested in joining the project.  We have several counties currently up for adoption and could always use good county hosts.  All you need is a love for the county you’re interested in and basic HTML skills; don’t worry, we can even help you w/ the HTML part!

You can find a list of our counties up for adoption on our Volunteer page.  If interested, let us know by filling out the Volunteer Application!

John Burney McGowan (1941-2009)

On Friday, September 18th, John McGowan, co-CC of Hyde County, passed away in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

John has worked with the NCGenWeb Project for the past 13 years and had particular interests in military information. You can read more about John and his contribution on the In Memoriam page.

NC State Archives – Container List of County Records

The North Carolina State Archives is a wonderful source for original county records.  As part of their services, from time to time they will provide lists of items in their collections.

If you have not visited their Container List of Selected County Records page, you’ll want to be sure to do so.  There are lists of records in their holdings for many NC counties – Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Graham, Greene, Harnett, Haywood, Hyde, Jackson, Mecklenburg, Lenoir, Pamlico, Polk, Richmond, Rowan, Stokes, Swain, Washington, & Wilkes

The page can be found here.

Fee Increase for NC Certificates

North Carolina Vital Records has recently announced a fee increase for vital records.   Effective August 24th, it will now cost $24 to order a birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate.  The fee also applies to searches, so is kept even if no record is found.  Additional copies of the same record from the same search will cost $15.  Visit their website for more details.

Ordering vital records at the state level is usually an expensive route.  For less expensive options, try contacing the county in which the event happened (or was likely to happen) to find out their policies on ordering uncertified/genealogical copies of records.  Some counties also provide indices of their records to help you locate those you need.  Check the North Carolina page at Online Death Indexes for places to search around the state.

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