New FamilySearch Website

This week, the FamilySearch officially transitioned their old site,, to their NEW SITE!

The new FamilySearch Website

The new site offers a very appealing update in design and functionality.  The new site has been available for many months now as FamilySearch wanted to unveil the new site in stages.  This allowed them the opportunity to work out bugs along the way.  A description on the site detailing why they’ve made the change explains:

The updated version of the FamilySearch website gives you a richer family history experience by putting all FamilySearch content, services, and products on the same site.

Major areas of the new site include:

  • Learning Resources – offers a Research Wiki that can be edited by anyone to share knowledge, a long list of online research videos & tutorials to help you learn  family history research methods, & a special section on how to get started doing family history research
  • Family Search Centers – search for a Family History Library near you – complete with a fancy Google-map like image for locating it. Tree icons on the map help you find the closest locations and directions, hours and contact information are included.
  • Give Back - help contribute to the rapidly increasing online database collections as a member of the indexing community, contribute to the Research Wiki, or sign up to help evaluate FamilySearch resources
  • Historical Records — if you haven’t checked out the MANY databases coming online from FamilySearch this is your opportunity to do so now.  Amazing what the combined efforts of many can achieve. Collections are international in scope.  There are several NC related collections that we’ve blogged about before.
  • Family Trees –  search user-submitted pedigree files.  Remember the limitations of such files, yet, they can offer useful clues if you locate a person of interest
  • Library Catalog - with a completely revamped and snazzier interface.  As you type a search term, it auto-completes for you a-la Google, and results returned by subject headings make it easy to locate exactly the kind of item you need.  In the old search, the list of specific film rolls required an extra click, but now it’s all consolidated on one screen.

There is plenty to explore in the new interface to keep you busy for awhile.  Read the blog announcement for more information, including a guide to the new site in PDF format.   Also,  the Ancestry Insider blog has a very detailed comparison of the old and new sites.

Tyrrell County: A Brief History

The NC Office of Archives & History announces this week the publication of a new book on Tyrrell County.

Tyrrell County: A Brief History by Alan D. Watson

This book by Alan D. Watson chronicles the history of the county over close to three centuries.   If you have research interests in this area, you’ll want to pick up this book.   It is available through the NC Historical Publications Shop for $15.

African-American Resources

Harper's Weekly Image

Looking for records & resources for African-American genealogy research?  We’ve recently updated the African-American Special Projects page on the NCGenWeb site to include links to specific counties with relevant content.

Resources vary and may include:

You never know what you’ll find so be sure to look around.  If you have questions, please contact the county coordinator who can lead you to further resources.  Thank you to Deloris Williams, Assistant State Coordinator, for compiling the county links.

North Carolina Treasures

The North Carolina State Archives announced a new site this week – their “Treasures” collection.

Treasures is an online exhibit of some of the most priceless items from the collections at the North Carolina State Archives, with supplemental materials from the State Library of North Carolina to be added later. These archival documents are not available for public viewing except at specifically designated times due to their importance to the state’s history and, in some cases, their fragile condition. Also included in this online collection are some examples of presidential signatures that the State Archives has collected over time.

Upon visiting the site you’ll quickly understand why these are very much state treasures.   Having them digitized for online viewing will certainly increase their accessibility and many a researcher will be thankful.   The site is easy to navigate with content clearly presented in 12 time periods that spans 1600-present day.

Treasures web site

There are many interesting items to be found here – as an example of one among many is the will of John Penn (of Granville County) – one of the NC representatives to sign the Declaration of Independence.    John died in September of 1788 and his will, dated 1 Mar 1784, divides his estate between his two children – a son and a daughter.   What a great document for a descendant, or Penn family researcher, to know about and access.   Spend some time exploring the stie and see what you find.

NCGS Fall Conference Nov 12-13

The North Carolina Genealogical Society (NCGS) is holding its annual fall meeting within a few days.   The meeting will be held at the Brownstone Inn in Raleigh on November 12th and November 13th.   The theme is “Finding British Isle Ancestors” and the featured speaker is Paul Milner.

Further details are available on the NCGS website.

In other NCGS news, Jordan Jones, Director-At-Large and Webmaster for the NCGS, was recently named to the Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society.  More details can be found on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

NCGenWeb County Coordinator Makes Eastman’s Blog

Dick Eastman runs one of the most popular genealogy blogs out there today – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.  Recently, Dee Gibson-Roles, county coordinator for several counties (Buncombe, Cherokee Reservation, Jackson, Macon, Madison & Swain) was highlighted in his newsletter!

Dee writes a genealogy column for the Asheville Citizen-Times paper of Asheville, NC and the surrounding region.  Her recent article on reading and understanding deed records was noted by Dick on November 1st.  You can read his overview here and you can find Dee’s article here.  If you’ve ever read old deeds or wish to learn more, you’ll be sure to want to read through her article for great tips on understanding the terminology.

NCGenWeb Mentioned in Family Tree Magazine

The December 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine includes a list of the “Best State Websites” for genealogy research.   Guess what USGenWeb project appears in the list? the NCGenWeb!!!

There are two websites listed for North Carolina, the NC State Archives and NCGenWeb.  Here are their comments for us..

Another standout from the USGenWeb Project, this North Carolina site offers a wealth of extras. The maps tracing the state’s confusing county formations are a must-bookmark, and the Digital Bookshelf <> is a nifty guide to digitized titles of interest to Tar Heel State researchers.

A big shout-out to all of our county coordinators for their excellent work in making the NCGenWeb a must-go website for research in the state.  For our researchers, we will continue to work diligently to bring you as many resources as we can to help you along.   The full list contains a total of 75 websites and one other USGenWeb project is mentioned – our cohort in Iowa.  Congratulations to Iowa too!  Check out the full list on the Family Tree Magazine website – you’ll want to be sure you visit them if you haven’t already.

Passing of Sharon Pierce

The NCGenWeb Project is sad to relate that earlier this month we lost one of our county coordinators (CC), Sharon Pierce.   Sharon was the CC for Stanly & Cabarrus counties.  She actively contributed material to each site and worked with many researchers to help share genealogical information.  She will be missed by us all.

Sharon was 63 years old, lived in Texas, and loved family and friends to mourn her passing.  Her obituary can be seen online here and we will soon add a tribute to her on the NCGenWeb Memoriam page.

Fellow CC, Patsy Dwiggins, has graciously adopted Stanly & Cabarrus counties.

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!

Craven County: Explore Your Family Roots

Craven County is celebrating it up this weekend! This year marks the 300th Anniversary of the county and in honor of the birthday a series of events have been planned to celebrate the area history. Not only is the celebration for those from Craven County, but many of the neighboring counties as well – Beaufort, Carteret, Jones, Lenoir, & Onslow included.

The event is sponsored by the Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina. Events will be held on Friday, August 20th & Saturday, August 21st. More details can be found on the event website at

There is also an article in the New Bern Sun Journal worth reading for personal stories of some of those attending.   To all those going, have a great time and share pictures with those of us that can’t attend!

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