November 2011 Newsletter

By , November 1, 2011

News & Articles of Interest to Durham-Orange Genealogists
PO Box 4703, Chapel Hill , NC 27515-4703
2010 dues – $20


Meeting Announcements
Meeting Minutes
September CIG Meeting
D-OGS Flea Market Report
Upcoming D-OGS officer Elections for 2012
Deciphering Surnames of the Bonny Scots
Genealogical Glossary
Websites of Possible Interest
Books of Possible Interest
Calendar of Events
Parting Thought

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Meeting Announcements

This D-OGS Meeting will be held on Wednesday evening, 2 November, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Duke Homestead Visitor’s Center, 2828 Duke Homestead Road, Durham 27705. Phone: (919) 477-5498 – One-half mile from I-85 and Guess Rd (Exit 175), Follow the brown historic site road signs.

We are pleased to announce Jim Wise, local writer, as the presenter of this month’s meeting. Jim will be discussing Durham history.

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D-OGS Meeting Minutes for October 2011

The Durham-Orange Genealogical Society meeting for October held at the Durham Tobacco Museum was called to order by Society director Fred Mowry, standing in for the president. Mary Jo Hall introduced the speaker for the evening, Thomas H. Krakauer, PhD, President and CEO Emeritus of the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, who spoke about his most recent project, the formation of the Museum of Durham History.


Beginning with the formation of D-OGS in 1985, Tom was an early president and director, and has been an active and instrumental member of the Society for years. Once he completed his role with the Life and Science Museum he was free to undertake another important addition to the cultural life of the Durham Community; the formation of the Museum of Durham History. As a motivating thought for the museum he cited a book by Eli Evans, son of Mutt Evans, the first Jewish mayor of Durham, who said in part, “I believe that understanding history builds a bridge to the future…” and that thought underlies the theme of the story of Durham. Currently the museum exists in the cloud, but the founders are working on a steady time line to obtain a physical site for the museum in the heart of downtown Durham.

Today the museum can be found at, and using a projector, Tom took us to various parts of the site, in particular the History Beneath Our Feet page. He noted that the site is designed for at least three levels of users; Teachers, Students, and Other Users where one can find an interactive map among other things. The information keyed to the map of downtown Durham is broken into several categories, people, streets, landmarks and districts. They even include “ghost streets”, ones that were moved, renamed, or no longer exist. Selecting any of these leads to a list of names that can be located on the map and a description of the individual including a photo when available. Some of the photos they acquired came through Facebook. They continue to acquire new photographs as the effort grows and expands. It is interesting to pick a street name that you see regularly then learn who it was named for and when, and even see a photograph of the person honored by the name. They were fortunate to have Jim Wise write the copy for the site as his skill and historical knowledge of Durham is legendary.

Durham is one of few cities of its size that do not have a history museum despite the fact that it is remarkable for being:

  • the site of an early Indian village
  • the home of Bennett Place marking the end of the Civil War
  • the home of the Bull Durham Tobacco global brand prominent in the tobacco movement
  • the home of the world’s largest hosiery mill which by the late 1900s was more dominant than tobacco
  • a center of Black entrepreneurship including NC Mutual Life Insurance Company (the largest black owned insurance company in the world), Mutual Savings Bank, a strong role in the struggle for civil rights
  • the start of Piedmont Blues which began with buskars playing at tobacco auctions
  • today, a center of research, medicine, education, and urban revitalization

Although there are museums and heritage markers in Durham there is not a place that has as its focus the story of Durham told through its people and its events. In 2004, leaders developed a cultural master plan but to date there is no unified facility to knit all its elements together and that is what the museum hopes to become. In 2012 there will be a six part OLLI class that will be held in several sites, one of which is the Duke Homestead, and next year they anticipate hiring the first of their paid staff. Tom said that usually museums take as long as seven years to get up and running, and he feels comfortable that they are well on track with their timeline today.

By working with partners and seeking grants, the museum founders are spreading the word and hoping to have a physical home in the near future. Currently they man a table at the Durham Farmer’s Market every two weeks to meet the public and explain their vision and plans for the future. Donations are an important part of what will determine the growth of the project, and the web site includes a feature allowing visitors to lend their support. He encouraged all of us to look at the site and learn a bit about the history of Durham through its people.

Business Meeting:

Fred asked for reports from the various committees and activities.

Web site – Webmaster Ginger Smith has been making changes on the site to include a calendar of events, and speakers handouts from the monthly meetings. She will be posting the responsibilities of officers to the site so all members can see what the various roles include.

Treasurer – Ginny Thomas reported that we had a starting balance of $3,203.22, expenses of $13.00, $242.00 income of which $180.00 was dues, leaving us with a balance of $3,432.23 to date.

Flea Market – Karen Vance reported that the table D-OGS had at the flea market contained a variety of genealogical materials such as books, journals, etc. Most of the sold, but there were a group of Pitt County journals remaining that she is seeking a home for. The sale was a success bringing in $113.05 for the treasury. There were two framed historic prints donated to the sale that did not sell and she asked for suggestions for selling or auctioning them so they get to someone who will value them. One is 24” x 31”, and the other is 18” x 18” so the cost of shipping them to someone out of town would be prohibitive making it more desirable to find a home for them locally. Also remaining after the sale were DAR indexes ranging from 1966 to 1982 and she discussed possibly donating them to the Rebecca Wall NC Room at the Orange County Public Library if they do not have these volumes and have an interest in them.

Membership – Peg Edwards reported that we now have 168 members and five new ones who are local.

Trading Path – Cathy reported that she and Rob will be a bit late in publishing this Trading Path due to health related issues that are fortunately resolving. This will be the last issue for 2011.

Newsletter – Richard Ellington reviewed several of the events in the current newsletter that are occurring in the region including the Thorpe lecture by Malinda Maynor Lowery who will speak on “The Lumbee Indian in the Jim Crow South”, (see – ), and the NCGS Fall meeting to be held on October 9th in the NC Museum of History in Raleigh featuring popular speaker Barbara Vines Little on “Researching Your Ancestor in Colonial Times”. Several presentations include working with Colonial records, Land and Inheritance migration, and taxes. Members have a special rate and lunch may be purchased with registration via the web site at More detail is found on the web site.

Minutes – Fred called the meeting to order and referring to the September minutes published in the newsletter asked if there were any corrections or additions, and as there were none it was moved and seconded that the minutes be approved as written. There being no secretary present, Fred asked for volunteers and the minutes were recorded by Carol Boggs.

Nominating Committee – because we have no President to appoint one, there is no official nominating committee. Past President Richard Ellington has worked to contact candidates for the 2012 officer positions. Several slots have been filled and the slate will be presented for consideration at the November meeting. The positions are: President, Vice-President/Program Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and one at-large director. Additional nominations can be made from the floor at the November meeting.

Computer Interest Group – Carol Boggs reported that the group met at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough on September 17, 2011 after a hiatus of nearly a year. There were ten people present and a few of the “regulars” were unable to attend, so it seems that there is enough interest to sustain the group with a new schedule. The group agreed that they wished to continue to meet and that a quarterly basis will work well at this time. The next meeting will be held in early January, 2012 if possible and likely in one of the Durham County Library System sites. No one has been designated at this time to line up a site, but that can be discussed at the next meeting. Despite the lack of permission to use the overhead projector in the meeting room, Holt Anderson provided access to GoToMeeting for the group to view and share through each of their laptop computers.

Old business – there was none

New business – there was none

Announcements – the November speaker will be Jim Wise and the meeting will be held in the Tobacco Museum auditorium on guess road in Durham

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September CIG Meeting

The Computer Interest Group met at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough—after a determined effort by Carol Boggs– for two hours on Saturday morning, September 17. Orange County had just recently set up new guidelines for the use of its public meeting rooms causing some confusion.

There were 7 members and 3 guests. We learned about (where all of us could get on line and all see what was on the screen of another member in the room), thanks to Holt Anderson and about some fascinating “Webinars”, thanks to Beverly Cato.

We discussed ways to let D-OGS far-flung members join in our CIG meetings in the future via on-screen technology. Depending on available venues and equipment, we hope to meet again in January or February 2012. Quarterly, rather than monthly, meetings will be planned. Suggestions are welcome from local and far-flung members.

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D-OGS Flea Market Report

The D-OGS fundraiser and membership drive on October 1 at the Parkwood community Flea Market in Durham was a success thanks to the participation of members—donors and workers alike. At our strategic corner, under the D-OGS banner, tables and boxes were loaded with genealogical items (genealogy journals, colorful magazines, books, workbooks, software, how-to videos, etc) plus regular flea market household stuff. We took in about $125 (less expenses) for the D-OGS coffers while meeting many new folks.

Participants in the Family History Month project were Holt Anderson, Beverly Cato, Cathy Elias, Rob Elias, Elizabeth Hamilton, Linda Skinner, Jim Richmond, Karen Vance and the D-OGS Board.

In addition to selling, we also had the opportunity to talk with prospective members and answer their questions about D-OGS. We gave them our brochures and a personal invitation to the next meeting.

Note: Copies of “old” Trading Paths issues are available for $3 plus $1.50 shipping. Contact: View all the table of contents on the D-OGS website.

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Upcoming D-OGS officer Elections for 2012

We are required by our bylaws to hold elections for officers for the upcoming year. The November meeting is our annual business meeting for this purpose. We will be electing a President, Vice-President/Program Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and one at-large director. A proposed slate will be presented and then additional nominations may be offered from the floor by any D-OGS member. Please plan to be at the November meeting so you can participate in this process.

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Deciphering Surnames of the Bonny Scots

Written by: Bob Brooke

Many beginning genealogists believe that those who bear a clan surname are automatically descended from a clan chief. This isn’t necessarily so.

Surnames appeared on the records in Scotland around the 11th century, used by wealthy nobles to indicate the lands they held. They included Calder, Lockhart, Gordon, Seton, Galloway, Lauder, Meldrurn, Shaw, Learmont, Cargill, Strathearn, Rattray, Dundas, Cockburn, Mar, Abercromby, Myreton and Leslie—all collectively known as the first earls of Scotland, documented in the History of Scotland of the 15th century.

The Normans arrived with surnames that had already been well established in England, France, and what’s now northern Belgium. Also, the Barons that came north with David I from England kept the names they had—Balliol, Bisset, Bruce, Comyn, Fraser, and Montgomery—when they settled on lands in Scotland.

At that time, Scotland had two cultures, the Highland Gaelic and the Lowland Anglo-Saxon. In the Highlands, life was more primitive, so surnames weren’t as much a part of life as they were in the Lowlands. Those who belonged to a clan were the exception.

Highland chiefs demanded absolute loyalty from members of their clans, so each male member took the chief’s surname, using “Mac,” the Gaelic word for son, resulting in names such as MacDonald and Maclaren. Some Mac surnames originated in occupations, such as Macnab (son of the abbott), Maccosh (son of the footman), and Macmaster (son of the master or cleric). Many Mac surnames, such as Macolchallum, are no longer used because they were too difficult to pronounce. Mac surnames can also be spelled using “Mc.”

Many beginning genealogists believe that those who bear a clan surname are automatically descended from a clan chief. This isn’t necessarily so. The ability of a clan to defend its territory from other clans depended greatly on having a large number of people in it. Being a member of a large and powerful clan gave less powerful men an advantage in the lawless Highlands, so followers might adopt the clan name to gain favor with the chief, to show solidarity, for basic protection, or because a more powerful neighbor had taken their lands. However, not all members of a clan used the clan surname. When Clan Gregor was denounced in 1603, many Macgregors adopted surnames such as Campbell, Grant, Ramsay, or Stewart to avoid persecution.

When it became necessary to distinguish ordinary people from one another by more than just their given name, the use of Scottish surnames spread. However, in some areas of the Highlands, fixed surnames didn’t become common until the 18th century.

External influences also played a major role in the shaping of Scottish surnames. The migration of the Scots from Ireland into the Southwest in the 5th century, the influence of the resident Picts, the establishment of the Britons, and Anglian immigrants along the Borders, all contributed to today’s Scottish surnames.

The Vikings also influenced surnames in Scotland. The word bairn refers to a child in the dialect of the Scottish Lowlands. A pretty child might be given the name Fairbairn-in English, Fairchild. The Norsemen left the marks of their culture all along the western shores of Scotland. The name Gunn, originally derived from the Norse, is common in the North of Scotland while the Old Norse name Thorburn is seen in the Scottish borders.

Many Scottish surnames originated in patronymics. Unlike using a prefix to indicate a familial relationship, in patronymics a son’s surname comes from his father’s forename. For instance, Donald Johnson’s son might be Paul Donaldson, whose son might be Magnus Paulson. This presents a challenge for beginning genealogists since the surname changes with each successive generation. This practice persisted in the Highlands well into the 18th century. In earlier records, a person might be known not only by the father’s name but also by the grandfather’s name.

Some Scottish surnames come from offices or titles held by the person. That includes everyone who held serving positions or titles within the royal or noble household. A title that started humbly but became the family name of royalty was the House of Stewart: Walter FitzAlan was the Steward (someone who ran the household) for the Kingdom of the Scots under Robert Bruce. The word “steward” originated from an Old English term meaning “sty ward” or keeper of the animals, but later changed to mean the supplier of the master’s table. Domestic staff became known for their official duties. For instance, a general servant was known as a Hine or Hind while the Chamberlain worked within the noble’s private chambers.

While “Mac” preceded most of the Highland surnames, the name, itself, often indicated the person’s occupation rather than his name. For instance, MacIntyre is the son of the Carpenter or Wright and MacIntosh is the son of the Chief.

To further distinguish between persons of the same name, people started to add descriptive names that indicated the person’s height, skin and hair color, strength, or frailty, or a physical feature or an attribute. Names based on hair color include Reid for red, Brown, White and Black. Small or Little refer to height definitions. The name Cruickshanks indicated crooked shanks or legs. Armstrong showed the strength of an individual.

About Bob Brooke

Everyday Genealogy is a monthly column that delves into the historical side of genealogy, focusing on family history, long-lost occupations, historical misconceptions, and profiles of top genealogical libraries, as well as offering tips on how beginning genealogists can use history to their advantage.

To learn more about Bob Brooke, visit his Web site at And be sure to visit his other sites:, and

(This article is reprinted with permission from the author and the Everyday Genealogy online column on the Genealogy Today website)

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These queries were submitted to D-OGS for assistance. Please contact these persons if you can help them in any way.

Chenita Johnson –

I am trying to find info on Daniel McCollum/McCullum in Orange County. He owned land and had some slaves but I cannot find any slaves attached to him either in this county or in Guilford. As Guilford came from Orange County. He had a land transaction with William Wynne in 1756 according to the March term in the Orange County Records Deed books 1 &2 on pg.129. His son James was summoned to court in Guilford Co. to attest to his father’s (Daniel) will in February 1787, but I cannot find out what he said was in the will.

Any info will help. Thanks, Chenita Johnson


Katherine Carr, 4 Walnut Park Ct, Saint Peters, MO 63376-2949 – 314-780-4318 –

Surnames: Hall

Query: I am seeking parent and ancestor info for William Hall, b. 01-Mar-1806 in Orange Co, NC, m. Pheby ? (b ca. 1806) ca. 1827, d. 1893 (IN). Children Mary, Matilda, William Jr., born in NC. Family moved from Orange Co. NC to Orange Co. IN between 1836 and 1840. Pheby died in IN ca. 1850-1853, and William Hall remarried in IN (Ruth Hunt) in 1853.

Seeking any information about William Hall or Pheby.


Yvonne S. Steger, 2133 Greensward Dr., Atlanta, Georgia 30345-3634 – 404-636-8630 –

Surnames: Duke

Query: My Duke lineage. Mary Duke born 1740 in Jefferson, Fairfax, Virginia married John Gordon born 1739 in Baltimore County, Maryland. They married 5 June 1760 in Frederick County Maryland. Mary died 1789 in Green County, Pennsylvania and John died 9 March 1816 in Green County, Pennsylvania.

The parents of Mary Duke are William Duke born 4 September 1712 at Hayes Farm Jefferson, Fairfax, Virginia and died 21 January 1793 in Warren, North Carolina. William Duke was married to Mary Green born 1720 in Brunswick, Virginia and died 7 Jan 1794 in Warren, North Carolina. They married 1724 in Brunswick, Virginia.

Next I have William (Raleigh?) Duke born 1701 in James City, Virginia and died on 1775 in Bute, Granville, North Carolina on. He married Thamar Taylor (not sure of this). Thamar Taylor was born 1703 in Brunswick, Virginia and died about 1737 in Brunswick, Virginia. I may have the date of William Duke’s birth incorrect.

Does any of the above information follow the Duke lineage? I desire correspondence with anyone working on the Duke lineage. I would like to contact those researching the Duke linage in North Carolina and Virginia.


Steven H. Cain, 434 Tanyia Ct., Havelock, NC 28532 – (252) 349-2643 –

Surnames: DORRIS

Query: Seeking information on Benjamin William Dorris born 1751 in Ireland and died about 1790 in Orange County North Carolina. Married Ann Cockrell in Loudoun County Virginia. Ann was born about 1750 and died about 1793.


Paulette Kelly-Porter, 292 Price Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643 –

I am looking for info on John Armstrong, father of Mary Polly Armstrong, born 1780 in Orange Co., NC. Mary Armstrong married in Orange or Caswell Co., NC to John Jessee. I am looking for their marriage record. Thank you.

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Genealogical Glossary

  • CRYING SALE – an early Colonial American name for an auction, since the seller of the goods cried out
  • CUBIT – a unit of length equal to approximately 18 inches
  • CURRENT MONEY – “Current Money” found in Colonial Virginia records is reference to a deferential between Virginia Sterling and the amount of English Sterling it would buy on the London Exchange.
  • CURTESY – the life tenure which by common law is held by a man over the property of his deceased wife if children with rights of inheritance were born during the marriage
  • DAME
  1. A female ruler or head = lady, as feminine of lord.
  2. [archaic] The mistress of a household.
  3. The mistress of a children’s school. Obs. 1640
  4. At Eton: A matron (also a man) who keeps a boarding house. 1737
  5. A form of address: = My lady, Madam: now left to women of lower rank, ME
  6. A title given to a woman of rank = Lady, Mistress, Miss; spec. the legal title of the wife of a knight or baronet. Also, fig. as in Dame Nature, etc. ME
  7. A woman of rank, a lady. Now hist or poet. 1530 b. spec. The wife of a knight, squire, citizen, yeoman (arch or dial)
  • DAMSELLE – young lady

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Websites of Possible Interest

Are you in my photo? – At you can find your family members in the most unexpected places—like a stranger’s photo. You might even find yourself! is a treasure hunt of surprises and mysteries. It’s like no other photo sharing site you’ve ever seen. Best of all, it’s free!

Post and search for ancestor photos in the Genealogy section. But don’t stop there—post and browse through thousands of pictures where you just might find someone you know in other categories: School Days, Life in the 40s, Life in the 50s, Life in the 60s, World War II, Amusement Parks, Military Life, and many more. It’s fun. And it’s FREE.

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Books of Possible Interest

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega for the Genealogy Today website

There are a lot of genealogical how-to books out there. The Family Tree Problem Solver is, in my opinion, one of the best. I am so glad to see that the publisher decided to update and re-release this important work. It’s not aimed at the beginning genealogist, simply because it strives to help people who currently have hit a brick wall in their research. Any genealogist who has some research and problem solving under his or her belt will benefit from the ideas in this book. More advanced genealogists can also benefit from chapters on problem solving and analysis; researching ancestors before 1850; and sorting through individuals with the same name. This book, now in its second edition, was originally written by genealogist, Marsha Hoffman Rising, who passed away in 2010. She was the author of many articles and works about Arkansas genealogy. She worked as a professional genealogist for 25 years. That experience in research is evident as one reads how to break down brick walls.

This second edition includes updates on Internet genealogy; DNA and genealogical terms provided by genealogists Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Laureen Gamber, and the editors of Family Tree Magazine, respectively. This is the type of book that you do not have to read from cover to cover. You can choose sections that would best help you with your own genealogical problem and go from there.

One of my favorite sections can be found in the chapter entitled, “The Critical Connection: Finding Ancestors who Lived before 1850.” This chapter includes a list, Tenets for the Tenacious: Suggestions for discovering the origins of pioneer ancestors, and outlines 15 steps for tracking these early ancestors. This 15-step tip list is one that should be laminated and kept by every genealogist’s computer as a reminder of methodology when one hits the preverbal brick wall. Advice contained in this list includes, focus on families, not surnames; search surrounding areas; and learn all you can about your ancestor and his community. My personal opinion is that this book is one of the best for learning how to problem solve and break down brick walls. Every genealogist should have this book in his or her library.

Disclosure: I am currently writing a book for the publisher of this book. However, I have purchased over the years two copies of this book, both the first edition and this latest edition with my own money and have always recommended this book, prior to my relationship with the publisher. I do not benefit in any way from recommending this book.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-true Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors, by Marsha Hoffman Rising. Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2011.


Granville County North Carolina Gazetteer by Leonard F Dean

The Granville County North Carolina Gazetteer is a dictionary of current and historical places in and around the old Tarheel community of Granville County. The book defines from A to Z streams, communities, homesteads, churches, roads, and many other locations of today and of yesteryear. Granville County was a pioneer county formed along the Virginia border in 1746 and initially was unbounded to the west. Over time the county has given-up significant land areas to other counties in the state. The gazetteer is particularly helpful to genealogist and local history buffs trying to grasp the geography of the area. It views places and events from the perspective of a native of the region. For several years an early edition of this book has been in use at the Granville County Library; it has been a frequent and well used resource.

Click on the following link to order this hardback book. The price is $30.00 plus shipping. Expected delivery is about two weeks from order date. Payment may be made by credit card or Paypal.

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Calendar of Events

Special unc campus tours – UNC Visitors’ Center to launch ‘Priceless Gem’ tours – The Visitors’ Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will begin offering a new series of free tours for the public on Fridays. Tours in the “Priceless Gem Series,” (which takes its name from a line in the UNC alma mater “Hark the Sound”) will be given most Fridays at 3 p.m., starting from UNC Visitors’ Center, located inside Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 250 E. Franklin St.

University experts will lead these distinctive walking tours on various topics of interest. From archeology to architecture to the African-American experience to today’s sustainability issues, tours will offer a range of information and perspective.

Here is the schedule for upcoming tours planned for this fall:

  • Nov. 4, sustainability tour, led by Cindy Shea, director of the UNC Sustainability Office, and UNC student EcoReps
  • Nov. 18, archaeology tour, led by Meg Kassabaum, research assistant, Research Labs of Archaeology
  • Dec. 2, architecture, led by Wendy Hillis, UNC historic preservationist

UNC Visitors’ Center contact: Missy Julian Fox, (919) 962-1630,

Michael john neill workshops for november – We have announced our upcoming genealogy webinar series for November:

  • 4 Nov 2011-Friday 1: 00 PM central – Using DeedMapper: The Sledds in 1830 Kentucky
  • 6 Nov 2011-Sunday 2:00 PM Central – The Missing 1840 Census Enumeration
  • 8 Nov 2011-Tuesday 8:00 PM Central – Searching the US Census at
  • 10 Nov 2011-Thursday 8 PM Central – Search Techniques for the Bureau of Land Management Website

More information is on our website at Questions can be sent to

Writing your Family History: writing family history from genealogical data, oral history, and family lore – Free – Saturday, November 5, 2011, 2 – 4 p.m. at Olivia Raney Local History Library, 4016 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610. Every family has a story to tell. Most of us grew up hearing family tales we’d like to preserve, if we only had the time and skill to write them.

Judith Paterson, author of the memoir Sweet Mystery: a Book of Remembering, will share her own experience and tips for turning information into family stories that are fun to read. Phone 919-250-1196 for registration information.

Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania presents Pennsylvania Family History Day – On November 5 (that’s a Saturday), the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania will sponsor an all-day conference in historic Chester County, Pennsylvania. Specifically, it will be held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, Route 100, in Exton, Pennsylvania. It will start at 8 AM and continue until about 4 PM. The registration fee includes breakfast, lectures, lunch, and access to some of the nation’s top genealogy experts.

Presenters will include:

  • Loretto (Lou) Szucs and Juliana Smith from, who will show you how to get the most from the website.
  • Lisa Alzo, genealogist and Family Tree magazine writer
  • Michael Hait, Certified Genealogist, author of the Family History Research Toolkit and column contributor to the African American Genealogy Examiner
  • Kathleen Hale and Aaron McWilliams, Pennsylvania State Archives
  • John Humphrey, Certified Genealogist, Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania-German research expert
  • Shamele Jordan, former president of the African American Genealogy Group and consultant to the PBS series Oprah’s Roots
  • Susan Koelble, Pennsylvania genealogist and Philadelphia research expert
  • Dear MYRTLE, (Pat Richley), genealogist and blogger, GeneaBloggers
  • Curt Witcher, Manager, Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library

For a full schedule of events visit: or call the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania at 215-545-0391.

Austin mini-seminar – The Austin Genealogical Society, in Austin, Texas, invites you to our Fall Mini-Seminar on Saturday, November 12. We’re very excited to welcome George G. Morgan as the speaker. George, president of Aha! Seminars Inc., is an internationally recognized genealogy expert, a prolific author, and a popular podcast producer. In this half-day event, he’ll share his expertise on:

— Locating and Accessing Published Genealogies Online

— Expand Your Research Reach with Interlibrary Loan & Digitized Book Collections

— Bits About Obits: Reading Between the Lines

The seminar will be held at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, 9508 Great Hills Trail, Austin, Texas, 78759. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The fee is $10 for AGS members and $15 for non-members if paid in advance; all registrations at the door will be $15.

For more information, or to register, please visit our website at If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll come join us!

7th Annual wholly genes Genealogy Conference and CruiseNovember 13-20, 2011 – Join us for an educational and fun-filled voyage to the Southern Caribbean while we learn about genealogical research methods, sources, tools, and technologies from some of the foremost experts in those fields.

You’ll be among friends (old and new) and fellow researchers from around the world as you soak up new knowledge and skills through a lecture series that rivals any regional or national genealogy conference – but at one remarkably-low price that includes all meals, taxes, port charges, onboard entertainment, and conference events.

Unlike many traditional conferences, you won’t have to make difficult choices about which lectures to miss because none of the lecture times overlap! And since all lectures are scheduled while the ship is at sea, you won’t have to compromise your vacation time at the tropical ports!

As popular as our lecture series is, many veterans of our conference value something else even more. That is the opportunity to share a meal with a world-class genealogist or to schedule one-on-one time to discuss their specific research challenges. Come armed with your records and be prepared to hear about new resources, repositories, and finding aids that will help you to break down those brick walls. Some people find these private consultations alone to be worth the trip.

Prices start at $870.65 (inside cabin, double occupancy) subject to availability. That includes food, port fees and taxes, shipboard entertainment, and attendance to all conference lectures and group events. The price does NOT include travel to/from Ft. Lauderdale, alcohol, tips, or optional guided shore excursions.

Pre- and post-cruise hotels will be made available at group rates for those who want them. Roommate-matching assistance may also be available. Please see our Seeking Roommate forum or tell the travel agent if you need help finding a roommate.

To make your reservation, download this registration form:

Then print it and send the completed form to our group travel agent by fax (240-487-0153) or scan and email it to

If you do not get a confirmation within 24 hours (or you have any other questions or concerns), please call The Cruise Web toll free between 9am and 5pm Eastern (M-F) at 1-800-377-9383 and press “8” for the special Wholly Genes reservation hotline.

Duke homestead – Christmas by Candlelight – December 2 & December 9 from 7:00-9:00pm – Celebrate an 1870 Christmas during evening tours of the Homestead! The tour features period decorations, caroling, hot apple cider, and other goodies. Free!

historic Stagville – Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters – December 3 from 11:00am to 3:00pm – Come celebrate the holidays at Historic Stagville. “Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters,” one of our largest annual events, allows guests to see and take part in traditions that were part of Christmas celebrations for both the planter family and the enslaved community. We recreate the experience of holiday festivities through vendors, artisans, decorations, crafts, gamed, food, and music. This event is free and open to the public. Visitors can walk through an 18th century plantation home decorated for the holidays and original slave quarters from the 1850s as they hear traditional music, support their local artists, and maybe buy some holiday gifts!

Bennett place – December 10 & 11from 10:00am to 3:00pm – Christmas in the Carolinas – Join us as we celebrate Christmas in a 19th century fashion. We will have a visit from Santa Claus, and Robinson and Boggs will be playing.

The traditional roasting of the Hogs Head will also take place at the Farm on Saturday.

Cider and Ginger Snaps will be served.

2012 Family History Library Trip with Michael John Neill – We have set the dates for our 2012 Family History Research Trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City–starting at 6:30 on Wednesday night and running through a departure the following Wednesday – starts on 23 May 2012 and ends on 30 May 2012.

We’ll post additional information over the next few weeks. Trip members can get help from Michael before the trip and request help with pre-trip planning, research suggestions, etc. We have 8 am. morning sessions (optional), as many consultations as necessary with Michael, assistance with scanning files, deciding what to research next, etc. If using certain records confuses you, I’ve helped people use various microfilmed indexes, etc.

Early bird registration (complete fee of $175) is due by 1 December. The deposit is only $50. We keep our group size small so that you don’t get lost in the crowd (unless you want to).

There are more details here:

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IRISH HUMOR – Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!”

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”

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Parting Thought

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~ Coach John Wooden

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If you have any items of interest that you would like to submit for future publication, please contact Richard Ellington at or 919.967.4168

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