Author Archives: Chris

Eyewitness to Barnum’s show

CH TubbsPvt. Charles Henry Tubbs served in the 27th Massachusetts volunteers during the first years of the Civil War and in 1863, due to a lingering illness, was transferred to the Invalid Corps – a group of men who were not healthy enough for combat duty but were well enough for garrison duty.  Tubbs’ first service was in North Carolina, where he spent a little more than a year between 1862 and 1863.  After the riots in New York City in the summer of 1863, the Invalid Corps was stationed in New York City to keep the peace.  Tubbs wrote letters to his wife Minerva (Nerve, as he called her) in Massachusetts from his post in Brooklyn.  Tubbs transferred one last time from Brooklyn to Washington DC as the Invalid Corps was moved to help guard the Nation’s Capital after the Confederate raid in the summer of 1864.

While in Brooklyn, Tubbs visited P.T. Barnum’s show and sent a detailed description home to Nerve.  His letter gives an interesting view of the show as seen by someone who was contemporary to the event. His account is even more interesting due to the recent success of the current movie about Barnum’s show.

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Friday Find – Some Old Miscellaneous Microfilm

Today’s Friday Find involves some microfilm that has been with the State Archives a long time but is now residing in a new location within the Archives system.

This is microfilm that was originally imaged by the Mormon church in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The material was still in the county office at time of imaging.  It could be early examples of records that the State Archives has in the county collections (the deeds, for example), it could be items that may or may not have been transferred to the State Archives (the Chowan court papers, for example) or it may be something that the State Archives does not otherwise have on microfilm (the Rowan County administrator bonds for example).

A card catalog card has been placed with the miscellaneous collection cards and a cross reference catalog card has been placed in the county materials.  Researchers may come across the old reference number when researching in published works – those reference numbers are retained on the box labels to assist future researchers in finding the same information as cited by a previous researcher.

Z.1.71.1 Duplin County Deeds, Books 1, 2; 1754-1768

Z.1.71.2 Duplin County Deeds, Books 3, 4; 1757-1772

Z.1.71.3 Duplin County Deeds, Books 5-7; 1775-1783

Z.1.71.4 Duplin County Deeds, Book 8; 1783-1792

Z.1.71.5 Duplin County Deed Index, Grantors and Grantees, 1779-1850

Z.1.71.6 Duplin County Division of Land, Book A, 1800-1860

Z.1.71.7 Duplin County, Inventories and Accounts of Estates, 1754-1800 part 1

Z.1.71.8 Duplin County, Inventories and Accounts of Estates, 1754-1800 part 2

Z.1.71.9 Duplin County, Inventories and Accounts of Estates, 1754-1800 part 3

Z.1.72    Rowan County, Administrators Bonds, 1823-1830

Z.1.73    Chowan County, Orders of the Court, 1780-1830, one volume

Microfilm is self-service but, as always, you can ask the Reference staff for assistance in finding records, loading microfilm, and getting a copy of the single record or the whole reel.

Friday Finds – The Great War in county records

This Friday we bring you another find from the microfilm collection.

The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has been highlighting World War One (WWI), also known as The Great War, in 2017.  Two interesting county microfilm reels contain information related to WWI.

In the Columbus County miscellaneous series, we have a unique offering entitled “History of World War Veterans.”  This is a roster of men and women from Columbus County who served in the war – in the armed services or the Red Cross, etc.  The people are listed and their services records are briefly covered.  Often a military unit’s or Red Cross chapter’s activities will be discussed.  Many small vignettes are intermixed with the rosters and cover home front and war records.  One such piece is entitled “Red Cross in Whiteville in the Great War.”  The entire book as imaged on the microfilm is only 85 pages but it is full of descriptive items related to the people of the county during the war.  This reel is C.027.90005.

In the Davie County estate series, we have an item recorded as World War Guardians, 1937-1958.  At first glance it may seem the dates are for the second World War but the law that created the record series dates from 1929.  Chapter 33 of NC Public Laws is titled “an act regulating the guardianship of incompetent veterans and of minor children of disabled or deceased veterans and the commitment of veterans to US hospitals.”  This law allowed for assistance to veterans and their minor children.  The date of the law suggests it was related to the first World War.  This is even smaller than the reel above – only a fifteen-page book that was microfilmed.  Some of the pages included a multi-page document attached so that there are several frames to capture each of those pages.  If your veteran or his minor children received help they might be listed.  It seems likely that other counties had these records but did not separate them from other guardian books – I can find no similar World War Guardian only books in other counties in the microfilm collection.  If not your family history maybe this reel could lead you to exploring the law and how effective it was in North Carolina – or some other social history question.  Or maybe you can look at the guardian files in other counties to see if this law was used but not kept as a separate record series.  This reel is C.033.50018.

To place an order for a duplicate copy of the material mentioned in the blog post please contact Chris Meekins, Imaging Unit Head  –  chris.meekins <at> or reach him by phone at 919.807.7333.

 Friday Finds wants you!  Have you used microfilm at the State Archives of North Carolina?  Did you make a research connection – a find – using microfilm? Would you like to share your find with the State Archives for possible inclusion in this blog?  If you answered yes to all of these please send an email to Chris Meekins at the above email address.  Tell me 1) who you are, 2) what you found (like a will connecting generations or a deed naming a missing spouse, etc.), 3) what the record name and call number are,  4) and why it was “a find” (how it helped your research – be it genealogical or historical research).  Who knows – yours might be the next Friday Find in our blog…

Friday Finds – Reconstruction: Governor’s Office materials

The Collection Management Branch (CMB) wishes to introduce to you a new feature of the History For All The People blog – Friday Finds.  These posts will highlight things – items, activities, staff – in the three sections of the CMB – the Conservation Lab, Photography Lab, and the Imaging Unit.  Sometimes we will feature things rediscovered while helping patrons and other times we will feature things located through our mission of preserving and providing access to the records.  Regardless of how the item(s) came to our attention, look for new posts on Fridays – a Friday Find.

This Friday Find is from the Imaging Unit.

The Sesquicentennial of the period known as Presidential Reconstruction (1865) is currently underway.  Visit the main Archives Search room to see manuscript collections related to the period.  The Provisional Governor papers are important but so are the Governor’s Office materials.  Recently we have had some researchers who needed to see the Governor’s Office materials related to Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction but could not visit the Archives.  The most cost effective way to copy all the records was to microfilm them.

microfilm boxes resized

Production costs of microfilm are only 20 cents a frame.  Once the microfilm is created the customer can also get digital copies of a reel for $15.00.  When a whole record is requested microfilmed, the Archives (depending on the historical and evidential value plus the preservation aspect of having security microfilm) can keep a copy of the microfilm.  The extra value is that a reading copy can be added to the microfilm reading room and give more access options to patrons.

Four different Governor’s Office volumes have recently been imaged.

  • GO. 42 – Confederate Pardons: 1865-1867
  • GO. 43 – Pardons: 1869-1870
  • GO. 44 – Pardons and Recommendations: 1869-1870

All on new microfilm reel S.51.1577.

  • GO. 33 – William W. Holden to Tod R. Caldwell: Commutations, Pardons and Respites: 1868-1872

On new microfilm reel S.51.1578.

The petitions for pardons often provide details about activities of the petitioner during the Civil War period.  The petitions and pardons include a range of activities – citizens requesting release of a man convicted of a crime and jailed but whose wife and children need him on the farm to survive.  The records are rich in social history of the state.  Who knows, you might even have your own Friday Find while searching the material.

To place an order for a duplicate copy of the material mentioned in the blog post please contact Chris Meekins, Imaging Unit Head  –  chris.meekins <at> or contact him by phone at 919.807.7333.



Mount Olive Tribune newspaper addition

An ongoing project in the Imaging Unit is the Wayne County Mount Olive Tribune newspaper (call number MouT-#). The unit has been imaging the newspaper for microfilming. There were a few early 1906 issues but the bulk of the material runs from that year through 2014 – and the imaging project is working in 1982. The first 65 reels of microfilm have been completed.
Recently the donor organization, Wayne County public libraries, purchased duplicates of all 65 reels of microfilm produced to date. Researchers who wish to use the paper for those periods – 1906-1981 – should contact that library.
The Archives usually does not add newspapers through such a current date, however, we will be adding 33 reels of the microfilm through the end of the year 1962 to the reading room. These reels should be available to researchers after the 2017 Labor Day holiday.
The Imaging Unit continues to microfilm the newspaper. We estimate that the project will be completed in May 2018. The whole series will be available at the Wayne County library after that date.
Researchers who wish to purchase copies of microfilm – Diazo or digital formats – can contact Chris Meekins at for more information.

Hyde County Tax Records

The Imaging Unit of the State Archives of North Carolina has just completed imaging and creating microfilm for some Hyde County tax records. The twenty-five new reels of microfilm have been added to the security vault and a reading copy will be placed in the public search room for public use soon.

The material includes [reel number and years]:
053.70006 Tax List 1897-1898
053.70007 Tax List 1899-1900; 1900-1902
053.70008 Tax List 1902, 1905
053.70009 Tax List 1909-1910
053.70010 Tax List 1883, 1889, 1891, 1893
053.70011 Tax List 1894, 1896
053.70012 Tax List 1915, 1919, 1920
053.70013 Tax List 1925, 1930
053.70014 Tax List 1935, 1940
053.70015 Tax List 1945, 1950
053.70016 Tax List 1874-1878
053.70017 Tax List 1879-1882
053.70018 Tax List 1883-1884, 1886, 1887
053.70019 Tax List 1888, 1890, 1892
053.70020 Tax List 1895, 1940, 1945
053.70021 Tax List 1920, 1925, 1930
053.70022 Tax List 1950, 1960, 1961, 1965
053.70023 Tax List 1975
053.70024 Tax List 1980
053.70025 Tax List 1985
053.70026 Tax List 1958-1962
053.70027 Tax List 1958-1962
053.70028 Tax List 1964-1965
053.70029 Tax List 1885-1899
053.70030 Tax List 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920

To use microfilm please come to the main registration desk at the State Archives. Once registered, a Reference Archivist can assist you in locating and using microfilm.

To order duplicate reels of microfilm in Diazo, Silver Halide, or digital format contact Chris Meekins at

The Imaging Unit is in the middle of a small project for tax records. As we complete more imaging projects, we will post the completed projects information. We in the Imaging Unit hope that you the researcher will find these projects useful.

Liberty or Death! Finding Revolutionary War Era Sources at the State Archives of North Carolina

Saturday, April 1; 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.
Liberty or Death!: Finding Revolutionary-Era Resources at the State Archives of North Carolina

*Update (2/24/17): This event is now full.*

Plan to join us for this day-long workshop that reviews the types of records—county, state, military, and private—held at the State Archives and how to identify and locate them. This workshop is limited to 30 participants and your registration fee must be received by March 24, 2017. Please view the agenda for fuller description of all sessions.

Registration for the workshop is $20.00 and $18.00 for Friends of the Archives members and lunch is included. Please complete and mail in the registration form to ensure your space.