Author Archives: avgabriel2

State Archives Celebrates Archives Month with Free Public Programs

Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed October 2017 as North Carolina Archives Month and the State Archives of North Carolina presents several programs exploring the relevance of historical records in our lives today.

Home Movie Day

Saturday October 21, 1– 4 p.m.
State Archives of North Carolina; 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh; First Floor Auditorium

Home Movie Day is an international celebration of amateur films designed to showcase home movies and other forms of amateur media, and to provide a forum to discuss best practices for film and digital media preservation. Hosted in the State Archives’ building auditorium, this annual event invites attendees to bring in their own films to screen and share with all. A/V Geeks Transfer Services will transfer film to digital formats (file to download or DVD) on-site for free. An archivist from the State Archives will provide film preservation tips for films, photographs, and digitized and born-digital documents. Bring in your family’s home movies (8mm, Super8mm, 16mm film, VHS and Video8/Hi8 video tapes) to share or just show up and watch the films of others and play Home Movie Day Bingo.

Virtual Family History Fair

Saturday, November 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Streaming online

Winding down the activities of Archives Month, the annual virtual Family History Fair, with its theme, “Start @Home,” focuses on practical tools used to research family history. Experts from the State Archives, the Government and Heritage Library, the N.C. Digital Heritage Center, and the State Historic Preservation Office will feature ways to search and use newspapers, government records, maps, directories, and digital collections to uncover community and family connections. Explore the genealogy of your own home in the “Genealogy of a House” session.

These sessions will stream online for free, so log on to your own laptop or desktop, or join a local participating public library for the presentations.

For details on streaming, a presentation agenda, and a list of participating libraries, see the online flyer. For additional information please email or call (919) 807-7460.

Extended Research Hours

Friday, October 27, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

State Archives of North Carolina

Government and Heritage Library

109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

To accommodate those attending the N.C. Genealogical Society’s annual meeting on October 28, the State Archives Search Room and the Government and Heritage Library will extend their service hours for Friday, October 27. This is a rare opportunity to continue family research later into the evening.


October is Archives Month – A Celebration of Our Documents and History



Archives Month is celebrated in archives and special libraries throughout the country. Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed October Archives Month in North Carolina. During October the State Archives of North Carolina and many archives and libraries across the state will offer a variety of programs and outreach activities. The State Archives will present two free events Oct. 15 in celebration of archives, archivists, and records of our past.

Oct. 15 – Virtual Family History Fair

Since 2012, the State Archives and State Library have held workshops, presentations, exhibits and on-site genealogical consultations in Raleigh to celebrate the Family History Fair. For the first time, the 2016 Family History Fair will be a virtual event, with online streaming from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. Anyone can participate via laptop, notebook or smartphone. Discover how to access family records at the State Archives and how the State Library can help you begin your search. Experience these and other online live streaming presentations at home or at participating North Carolina libraries.

Consult the flyer and agenda for specific topics to be covered during the 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. program, and to participate. For details on streaming and more information, please email or call (919) 807-7460.

Oct. 15 – Home Movie Day

Bring a home movie to share with others and learn ways to care for your family’s collection of home films. This annual event in Raleigh is sponsored by the State Archives of North Carolina, AV Geeks, and the Film Studies Program at N.C. State University. If you don’t have any home movies of your own, come to enjoy the memories your neighbors bring. The Raleigh Home Movie Day will also feature Bingo with prizes for the whole family. Read more about Home Movie Day, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Archives and History/State Library Building, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, N.C. 27601.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7326.

Traveling Archivist Program Solicits Applications


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 Does your institution need help with the preservation of and access to your collections?

If so, the State Archives is now soliciting applications for its Traveling Archivist Program (TAP).

TAP provides hands-on preservation assistance to cultural and heritage institutions that house archives, papers, and records at risk of deterioration, neglect, and damage. Institutions chosen to participate in this program will receive an onsite visit, a collections assessment, recommendations for managing and caring for the collections, training and instructions, and other resources including some basic preservation supplies.

The purpose of TAP is to help improve preservation of and access to collections that document the culture and history of our state.

The application is open to all North Carolina cultural and heritage institutions that house and maintain active historical collections, and whose collections are accessible to the public; however, federal agencies and those institutions housing solely objects or artifacts are ineligible for this program.

Since its beginnings in 2009, TAP has served more than 100 repositories in 54 counties.

Click on the application and guidelines. Questions relating to the application process may be addressed to Andrea Gabriel, North Carolina State Archives, 919-807-7326,, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.




“Searching for African American Ancestors”: A Workshop

Mother and two sons, portrait. Scanned from glass plate by Wm. H. Zoeller.

Mother and two sons, portrait. Scanned from glass plate by Wm. H. Zoeller.

“I was born on a plantation near Fayetteville, North Carolina and I belonged to J.B. Smith. His wife was named Henrietta. He owned about thirty slaves. My father was named Romeo Harden, and my mother was named Alice Smith . . . Grandfather was named Isaac Fuller.”

This oral narrative from the formerly enslaved Sarah Louise Augustus demonstrates the complications that can arise when tracing African American ancestry today.

The State Archives of North Carolina demystifies the process in a workshop held on Saturday, July 23, at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. In “Searching for African American Ancestors,” archivists will present tools, resources, and strategies most effective in conducting genealogical research for African Americans.

Workshop sessions include:

  • Slave Law: An Introduction, with Bill Brown, Registrar;
  • Alfred Was My Slave Name: Research Methodology, with Chris Meekins, Head, Imaging Unit; and
  • Surprising Sources for African American Research, with Debbi Blake, Head, Collections Services Section.

The workshop concludes with time for the archivists to answer questions. Register now to begin your journey!

Registration for the workshop is $25.00 and includes lunch. The workshop is limited to 50 participants and pre-paid registrations must be received by Monday, July 11.

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives exhibit, running at the Museum of History through July 31, 2016. The exhibit showcases one-of-a-kind documents, photographs, and other media—public records and private materials that are rarely on public view—from the State Archives of North Carolina.

The Museum of History is located at 5 East Edenton Street, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Click on the museum’s website for directions,

For more information about this workshop, please telephone 919-807-7969 or view the Museum of History’s July program calendar.  The workshop is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives.

View North Carolina’s Original Bill of Rights June 15-19 at the N.C. Museum of History

The point of controversy eventually rested on one issue and the argument in North Carolina was vigorous, at times contentious. Conservatives led by James Iredell wanted the document left alone. Their opponents, led by Willie Jones, insisted on added protections for individual liberties.

The document protecting individual liberties that North Carolina demanded before ratifying the U.S. Constitution will be displayed Wednesday, June 15, through Sunday, June 19, in the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” at the N.C. Museum of History. Admission is free.

For a while there was heated debate about the Bill of Rights, each side rounding up more allies. The internal stalemate escalated, preventing North Carolina from taking action, but by November 1789, the state finally ratified the U.S. Constitution with the longed-for Bill of Rights as its first 10 amendments.

George Washington had a copy of the Bill of Rights created for each state. North Carolina’s copy was held in the State Capitol building when, in 1865, it was stolen by a Union soldier. Recovered in an FBI sting operation almost 150 years later, North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights resides in one of two vaults in the State Archives.

Rarely displayed because of its fragile condition, museum visitors will be able to view this document for one week in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives exhibit at the Museum of History in Raleigh.

“The Bill of Rights belongs to the people of North Carolina,” stated Sarah Koonts, state archivist. “We are the custodians of a document that guarantees freedom and liberties to United States citizens and we are happy to have the opportunity to exhibit this treasure to the public.”

Visitors to the Treasures of Carolina exhibit will discover the important role of the State Archives of North Carolina — the state’s memory bank. From parchment documents to digital files, the State Archives collects, preserves and makes accessible over 100 million treasures chronicling the Tar Heel State, past and present.

The variety of public records and private manuscript collections in the exhibit focuses on three themes: providing evidence of civil and property rights, government transparency, and the preservation of North Carolina’s history and culture.

 A sampling of the exhibit treasures includes:

  •  The earliest will known to exist in North Carolina, recorded in 1665 by Mary Fortsen. It is unusual because female property owners were extremely rare in the 1600s.
  • An 1839 petition for United States citizenship, signed by Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in Siam (now Thailand). They settled in Wilkes County and married sisters. Altogether, the families had 21 children.
  • The hand-drawn map used as evidence during the 1867 trial of Tom Dula, who was indicted and hanged for murdering Laura Foster. Dula’s fate is told in the popular ballad “Tom Dooley.”
  • A Civil War letter from Martha A. E. Henley Poteet to her husband, Francis Marion Poteet, who was away at war. She enclosed a cutout of her 4-week-old daughter’s hand with the request “write to Me what to name her.” The family lived in McDowell County.
  • A 1903 copy of the North Carolina Constitutional Reader. In 1901 rules were enacted to prevent illiterate African Americans from voting, and this book was published to help African Americans read the Constitution in case they were questioned at the polls when trying to vote.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.

 Treasures of Carolina will run through July 31, 2016. The Bill of Rights will be displayed June 15 through June 19.


Why We Search for the Lost Colony

SWR over recreated Raleigh map

Plan to attend Monday, June 6 at 1:30 as the Friends of the Archives presents “‘Bring Them Home’: Why We Search for the Lost Colony.” This free presentation will be held at the State Library/State Archives building at 109 E. Jones St. in Raleigh.  

The story of North Carolina’s “Lost Colony” is a simple yet compelling one. A late-16th-century effort to establish England’s first permanent settlement in the New World results in failure with the fate of its 117 colonists—men, women, and children—remaining unknown. But while this was just one of many similarly unsuccessful colonies, only this “Lost Colony of Roanoke” still asserts its emotional pull on public and scholarly imaginations across the centuries.

In the last decade, archaeological and archival research has produced new evidence not only of what fate befell Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke Colony, but also of the enduring effects that enterprise wrought. Brent Lane has been an active participant and curious observer on these recent efforts and their often dramatic findings. Brent discusses what is known and what must yet be discovered if our generation of Tar Heels is to fulfill the best—and probably last—hope of recovering North Carolina’s “Lost Colonists.”

Brent Lane is a professor of Heritage Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School where he is Director of the UNC Center for Competitive Economies at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Brent works with several local, national, and international  organizations on the importance of natural and cultural heritage in conservation, education, and the economy.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization formed in 1977 to privately fund some of the services, activities, and programs of the State Archives of North Carolina not provided by state-appropriated funding.

Rare Opportunity to View North Carolina’s “Birth Certificate”: Carolina Charter of 1663

Did you know that the land of the Carolinas once extended ocean to ocean, covering parts of what is now Florida, Mexico, Texas, and California?  King Charles II granted this land in 1663 to several of his supporters—the “Lords Proprietors”—in return for their service to the Crown during the English Restoration.  The gift of land was designated in the Carolina Charter of 1663.

Considered the “birth certificate” of the Carolinas, the Carolina Charter will be on exhibit from Monday, February 8 through Sunday, February 14, at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.  Written on vellum (calf- or sheepskin), this remarkable document bears a striking pen-and-ink portrait of King Charles II of England on the first page. The Carolina Charter marks the beginning of organized, representative government in the province of Carolina, granting to the colonists rights that were to have lasting influence on the region’s population and its history. For example, the Charter guaranteed the rights of property ownership, the establishment of courts, and representation of delegates of “Freemen of said Province.”

Notes Sarah Koonts, State Archivist, “The Charter is a unique and beautiful document. Because of its fragility, we can rarely display it, but for a brief time the public will have the opportunity to view one of North Carolina’s most important founding documents.”

The Carolina Charter will be on view in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives at the Museum of History, 109 East Jones St., Raleigh. Visit and see rare documents from the State Archives’ vault and learn about the characters and stories behind them through the exhibit. Treasures of Carolina will run through June 19 and admission is free. For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access