Author Archives: Ashley

Dive into DOC

The Discover Online Catalog, or DOC, went online today, July 1, 2019. Some links to MARS will linger in old blog posts or within documents and PDFs available on our website, but we have updated website links and blog pages to point to the new catalog. If you have MARS bookmarked, those links will continue to work for a few days, but eventually our IT staff will completely remove online access to MARS.

Screenshot of the “Welcome to the Discover Online Catalog” page on the State Archives website

If you haven’t already visited the new catalog, here’s what you’ll find:

  • Welcome to the Discover Online Catalog – The homepage for the new catalog and the place where we will link to tutorials and other help documentation once its available.
  • Search DOC – The actual search page for DOC. See previous blog posts for some new features available through the updated catalog.
  • Online Catalog FAQ – Do you have questions about searching the catalog, what the advanced search options mean, how to move between levels, or what to do once you find a record you want to see? Visit the new online catalog’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information. How do we have a Frequently Asked Questions page when the DOC just launched today? We based the questions on feedback we received from user testing with researchers and staff. As we receive more feedback now that the catalog is live, we’ll update the FAQ with more information.

Launching the catalog doesn’t mean we are done making changes. Staff at the State Archives, Outer Banks History Center, and Western Regional Archives are restructuring data and updating information to reflect the latest national standards. Materials that weren’t described in MARS are being added to DOC, and we’ve moved to a new stylesheet for our finding aids, which are now available through DOC as well as the Archives website. Keep an eye on this blog and our other social media for more updates and news as we continue to improve this resource.

Searching in DOC

[This blog post was written by Anna Henrichsen, Information Management Archivist in the Digital Services Section.]

Searching for North Carolina history in the State Archives has never been easier than in our new system, Discover Online Catalog (DOC). There are several ways to begin looking through our catalog. The easiest way is to type a keyword in the search bar at the top of the page. DOC will search for your keyword in all the fields used to describe our collections and return the most relevant results for you to explore.

Screenshot of the basic search bar in the Discover Online Catalog

Fig. 1: Just type a keyword in the search bar and press enter to begin looking for records!

If you have something specific in mind, use the advanced search options to narrow down your results. Search by combinations of subject, date, record creator, and more with DOC’s advanced search. In the following example, we conducted an advanced search for wills from Swain county.

Screenshot of the advance search fields with "wills' in the title field and "swain county" in the creator field. Below is a single result for Swain County Wills.

Fig. 2: Using advanced search options makes finding the records you want easy.

You can see that DOC immediately found what we are looking for and presented it without extra clutter. You can click the result to learn more information about this series and see our holdings. Searching our catalog is a good first step to take when determining if the State Archives has the records you are looking for. As always, you can also reach out to our amazing team of reference archivists who will be happy to help you out.

Stay tuned for further posts about DOC, including information about finding aids, bibliographic records, and more. We are very excited about this new system and we hope you are too!

New Online Catalog Launches July 2019

screenshot of a search in the new online catalog for 'Wake County'

Screenshot of a search for “Wake County” in the Discover Online Catalog (DOC).

The online catalog MARS has had a lot of different looks since it was created in 1985. But whether it was online or only available on terminals in the Archives and Library building, the catalog’s functionality has remained pretty much unchanged since that initial launch. It’s been an invaluable tool for both staff and the public but doesn’t provide a lot of functionality that most people expect from an online tool in 2019.

That’s why we will be replacing MARS with something new in July 2019. The new system, which we’re calling the Discover Online Catalog or DOC, will give researchers a lot of searching options, while also being faster and more user-friendly than MARS. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide a series of short blog posts from Archives staff giving you a preview of the new system. After DOC is launched, we’ll start creating online tutorials, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a guide to help you learn more about how this new tool can help you find what you need in our collections.

Stay tuned!

Lillian Exum Clement Stafford: Worthy of “She Changed the World: North Carolina Women Breaking Barriers”–– A Program of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

[This blog post was written by Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Manuscripts Archivist, Private Collections of the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Introduction

Exum with a group of other legislators, on grounds of the State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C., early 1921. (Photo from PC.2084_Phots_B5_F1_A)

This blog is based, with some modifications, on one published in March of 2018 as part of Women’s History Month and to announce the availability in the State Archives of the Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers (PC.2084). She remains worthy of additional highlighting as North Carolina begins a campaign to recognize women breaking barriers and to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary, 2020, of women’s suffrage. A member of the North Carolina Bar and a practicing attorney, L. Exum Clement (as she signed her official portrait) chose to run for the state legislature even before women gained the vote, through ratification of the 19th Amendment in August of 1919.

As the story goes and newspaper articles show, the Buncombe County Democratic party, in a remarkable show of support, had placed Exum’s name on the ballot for the June primary. Such gumption was characteristic of L. Exum Clement (hereafter referred to as Exum).  She went on to beat two male contenders, winning in the November election to become the first woman lawmaker in her own state and in the entire South.  Exum’s accomplishments did not stop there, and she continued to show exceptional drive and courage as a freshman legislator. Exum’s papers in the State Archives contain a remarkable letter of January 11, 1920, from her father who wrote these telling words, “I was glad to see in the papers that you were appointed on an important committee. Your friends here are talking of running you for Congress in the next election.”

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The Rumley Family Papers: A New Collection Featuring Resources for Researchers Seeking Enslaved Ancestors

[This blog post was written by Elizabeth Crowder, contract archivist with Private Collections of the Special Collections Branch. This position is overseen by Fran Tracy-Walls and is supported by funds bequeathed to the North Carolina Genealogical Society by the estate of the late Frances Holloway Wynne.]

Private manuscript collections, part of the State Archives’ Special Collections Section, can provide useful source material for researchers seeking information about enslaved ancestors. In many cases, these collections organize records concerning slaves and freedmen into dedicated series. The accompanying finding aids often identify those slaves who can be tentatively traced in federal census records dating from 1870 and later. Such is the case with the Rumley Family Papers (PC.1969). This collection contains correspondence, bills of sale, promissory notes, mortgages, receipts, and a warrant concerning enslaved and free African Americans.

Among these documents is an 1837 bill of sale for William, an approximately fifty-year-old slave whom Gibbons Bell (1807–1875) sold to his brother-in-law William Jones (1807–1850) in Carteret County, N.C. In attempting to find more information about the slave named William, I worked from three assumptions: that he was born around 1787 and lived at least until 1860, that he called himself either William Bell or William Jones after emancipation and the Civil War, and that he settled in Carteret County or an adjacent county once he was free. William might well have died earlier, used an entirely different name, and/or moved elsewhere. However, I needed a starting point for my search.

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Documenting the World of Outlander #4: Cherokee Land Boundaries

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first 9 episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

In the most recent episodes of Outlander we have seen Jamie and Claire receive a land grant for 10,000 acres in the back country of North Carolina upon which they build a homestead they name Fraser’s Ridge. Fraser’s Ridge appears to be a successful farm and happy home for the Frasers, but there is always a new challenge around the corner wherever they go.  In this case, one of the realities of living in the North Carolina back country in 1767 for Jamie and Claire, is carving out a peaceful and respectful relationship with their closest neighbors, the Cherokee Indians, also referred to as the Tsalagi. In this entry of our blog series we would like to focus on Native Americans, specifically the Cherokee, and showcase some of the documents in the State Archives that pertain to the complicated history of colonial expansion and changing land boundaries in North Carolina during the late 1760’s and beyond.

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A Final Salute to Dr. H. G. Jones

[This post was written by Donna Kelly, Head of the Special Collections Section.]

Whether you knew him as H. G. or Dr. Jones, he was certainly a formidable presence. I was fortunate to call him my colleague and my friend. While working at Historical Publications in 2000, he approached me about publishing a book called, Sketches in North Carolina USA, 1872 to 1878: Vineyard Scenes by Mortimer O. Heath, in cooperation with the North Caroliniana Society. His steadfast attention to detail brought both admiration and frustration. The final product sits on my bookshelf with his personal note to me, which was written on his 78th birthday: “For Donna, who made this book possible and beautiful. With thanks and best wishes, HG Jones, 7 January 2002.”

H.G. Jones sits behind a tabble with various photocopies in plastic sleeves spread out in front of him.

Historian H. G. Jones looks over his papers and sketches from his compilation of Sketches in North Carolina USA: 1872 to 1878. 2002, News & Observer file photo. Reproduced with permission.

Dr. Houston Gwynne Jones was born on January 7, 1924 in Caswell County and he passed away on October 14, 2018 in Chatham County. Throughout his life he was the ultimate historian, recording his own thoughts and activities in a daily journal, now preserved as part of his collection (PC.1681) at the State Archives of North Carolina. He served as director of the Department of Archives and History and as state archivist from 1968 to 1974. When the agency no longer had departmental status, he made certain that the biennial report for 1970–1972 was printed with a black cover. In fact, the opening paragraph of his director’s report stated: “It must be something like preaching one’s own funeral—the writing of the final biennial report of the State Department of Archives and History as an independent state agency.”

H.G. Jones behind a desk with books and papers on it. A typewriter sits on his left and a bookshelf stands against the far wall

H. G. Jones, State Archivist, 12 September 1956; Photo by D. Phillips. From the General Negative Collection, State Archives of NC, N.56.9.28.

After graduating high school, H. G. volunteered for the Navy in World War II. He wrote about his experiences in the book, The Sonarman’s War: Chasing Submarines and Sweeping Mines in World War II. After the war he attended school under the G.I. Bill, earning both a master’s degree and Ph.D. He then taught for several years until he was appointed State Archivist of North Carolina by Gov. Terry Sanford in 1956. In 1968, Dr. Jones was tapped to serve as the director of the State Department of Archives and History, until he resigned in 1974 to take on the duties of the curator of the North Carolina Collection and adjunct professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. Many of today’s public historians took courses under him. He retired from that position in 1994, although he became the Thomas Whitmell Davis Research Historian and could be seen in a carrel in Wilson Library conducting research until his health prevented him from doing so.

From 1969 to 1986, Dr. Jones wrote a weekly column titled “In Light of History,” which was devoted to North Carolina history. He also wrote many award-winning books, including For History’s Sake, Local Government Records, North Carolina Illustrated, and North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Just a few years ago, he wrote Miss Mary’s Money: Fortune and Misfortune in a North Carolina Plantation Family, 1760–1924.

Dr. H. G. Jones, with pipe and beard, January 1974; Photo by Randall Page. From the General Negative Collection, State Archives of NC, N.74.1.162

In 1975, Dr. Jones co-chartered the North Caroliniana Society to encompass all the state’s cultural heritage, not just history. He remained secretary-treasurer of that organization until 2010. As evidenced in his collection at the State Archives, Dr. Jones served as chair or president of nearly all of North Carolina’s historical organizations at one time or other during his lifetime. He was appointed to the North Carolina Historical Commission in 1978 and served as an emeritus member from 2002 until his death. Nationally he was elected president of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), secretary of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), and commissioner of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). His publication, The Records of a Nation, was used as evidence during the Watergate hearings.

Dr. Jones received numerous accolades throughout his career and beyond. A few of the highlights include the Award of Distinction (AASLH), the Award for Distinguished Service in Documentary Preservation and Publication (NHPRC), the Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award (North Carolina Literary and Historical Association), the Ruth Cannon Cup (North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiquities), the John Tyler Caldwell Award (North Carolina Humanities Council), and the North Carolina Award for Public Service, bestowed upon him by Gov. Mike Easley in 2002.

There are many more things that could be noted here about Dr. Jones, but many of his accomplishments can be read online using a simple Google search. Here are but a few links:

What I will remember most is my last visit with him on September 19, coincidentally my birthday. I shook his hand and he told me how much he pitied the archivist who would have to organize his papers. I smiled and assured him that his collection was in much better shape than most that make their way to the Archives. His voice was weak, but his spirit was strong, and it was evident that he was concerned about his legacy, even near the end. His wish was that his papers be preserved in the State Archives, an agency that grew stronger under his leadership as both an employee and later as a member of the Historical Commission, spanning over half a century.

Portrait of Dr. H. G. Jones, emeritus member of the North Carolina Historical Commission, May 18, 2015.