Category Archives: News

Documenting the World of Outlander #1: Land Grants

[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 episode 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.

This week, we’ll tackle land grants. In the first episode of the season, “America the Beautiful,” Governor William Tryon offers a land grant to Jamie Fraser as payment for his recruitment of new residents in the North Carolina colony. While Jamie’s path to a grant was unique, he wasn’t alone in using a grant to find a corner of North Carolina as his own. Thousands of new residents of the colony took advantage of the land grant process to start a new chapter of their lives.

The process for obtaining a land grant from the Crown government started with a petition to the Secretary of State from the prospective land owner for a specific piece of vacant land somewhere in the North Carolina colony. The Secretary of State then presented the list of petitioners to the Governor’s Council, who generally approved the petitions without objection. North Carolina’s royal government wanted to attract as many new residents to their relatively impoverished colony as possible, so most potential land owners found success with their initial petition. After receiving approval, the land owner received a warrant from the Governor and the Secretary of State including a vague description of the land in question. The land owner then hired a surveyor to draw a plat of their tract. Finally, the Secretary of State’s office received a copy of the plat and then issued a land patent to the new owner. Once the owner received his patent, the land became his property to cultivate as he saw fit.

At the State Archives of North Carolina, we have surviving warrants and plats in the Secretary of State Record Group. As an example, we have an early land plat from 1758 for Rowan County. It is possible that Jamie and Claire settled in what was Rowan County, so their land grant warrant and plat might have looked quite a bit like this record.

Benajah Penington

Secretary of State Record Group, Land Office, Land Warrants, Plats of Survey, and Related Records, 1693-1959, Rowan County, Box 1765, File No. 484, Plat of Grant Awarded to Benajah Penington

Since Governor Tryon spoke to Jamie and offered him a grant as payment for recruiting settlers to North Carolina, we also wanted to show you a warrant signed by the Governor himself. In our Private Collections, we have a land warrant awarded by William Tryon in 1771 on behalf of King George III to William Sprout for an area along the Cape Fear River. Jamie would have kept this document on his person as documented proof that he could settle at Fraser’s Ridge.

William Sprout Papers [PC 950}

PC 950. William Sprout Papers. Warrant of Land Grant from George the Third to William Sprout, Witnessed by William Tryon, 1771).

Are you curious to see who else might have received a land grant? We encourage you to check out our online catalog, MARS, where we have indexed all our land grants by name in the Secretary of State Record Group. Geographic features are often included as subjects, so you might also find success searching for grants near a specific river or creek.

Receiving a land grant in colonial North Carolina was often the first step for new immigrants from Scotland and the rest of the British Isles to become residents of the colony, but obtaining land was easy compared to the day-to-day struggles of settling in rural North Carolina. Jamie and Claire certainly have more challenges in store and we’ll be here to document the real history behind their adventures.

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Treasures of Carolina: “Teamwork Builds Ships”

The first Wednesday of each month features a document or item from the State Archives considered a treasure because of its significance to the history and culture of our state or because it is rare or unique. Sometimes the featured item just illustrates a good story. The items highlighted in this blog have been taken from the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” and its companion catalog. 

The centennial of World War I ends this month, marking the 100th anniversary of the war’s end with Veteran’s Day, honored at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Among the many letters, journals, diaries, photographs, maps, booklets and pamphlets, and other materials held in the Military Collection, the State Archives preserves hundreds of posters from both world wars created by non-military agencies and organizations and some by government agencies that supported military efforts.

“Teamwork Builds Ships,” a poster drawn by William Dodge Stevens, was issued by the Emergency Fleet Corporation from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is dated 1917. It and other posters can be viewed online though the North Carolina Digital Collections.

MilColl_WWI_Posters_08_15_copy1_01

Poster, 1917. World War I Poster Collection, Military Collection

Digital Services Section New Staff Introduction

[This post was written by Brittney Rankins, Metadata and Digitization Assistant]

Last month was filled with new introductions for the Digital Services Section. I joined the team as a Metadata and Digitization Assistant and jumped head first into the digitization process. As background context, I worked in the past year with the Digital Production Center at Duke University on digitizing their archival collections, including the 1990’s Duke Chronicle and the Lady slipper catalogs.

Since, I had such an enjoyable time, when this position opened, I eagerly applied for the posting. This job offers to provide the same purpose as my previous job (i.e. to provide universal access to historical materials).

My main duties in this position are to digitize archival collections, including State Records, Special collections, and any other materials to be scanned. I will also be inserting metadata, uploading collections to the North Carolina Digital Collections website, and completing other duties. Two of the collections, I am currently working on are the General Assembly State Records digital collection and the status of Women, a collection based on a set of materials discussing the history of the Council on the Status of Women.

For the past few weeks, I scanned and inserted the metadata for the General Assembly Session Records from November to December 1796. The General Assembly project is an ongoing project that details various legislative bills, committee reports, petitions and other important documents relating to legal matters during the early North Carolina statehood period.

 

Another collection, I am working on contains materials detailing the activities of the Council on the Status of Women. Terry Sanford, who was the Governor of North Carolina at the time, created an executive order in 1963 to determine the status of women. The documents were meant to understand the issues North Carolina women faced, and how these women were trying to implement change in their communities.

These are only two of the projects that I have been assigned and I’m excited to be working on many more projects in the future.

 

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.

Electronic Records Day 2018: “Back to the Repository” and Storage Structure

[This blog post was written by Jamie Patrick-Burns, Digital Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina]

It’s October 10 and that means Electronic Records Day! Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), Electronic Records Day is an opportunity to share how we manage our state’s digital resources and raise awareness about best practices for electronic recordkeeping and preservation. The State Archives of North Carolina presents the short film “Back to the Repository.”

Repository structure was fresh on our minds as we have recently restructured our digital repository. The principles below guided our planning and can apply to any file management system at home or in the office. Think about structure and file/folder names that will age well and be clear in the future. A folder or document called “Minutes” might make sense for a couple of weeks if you can remember what the meeting was about and when, but in one year or 20 years you won’t remember! A better title could be “20181010_board_minutes” to include the date and the group that had the meeting.

  1. Hierarchy: organize folders in a hierarchy that is natural to your organization. For the
    Series of boxes indicating a file structure

    Example folder hierarchy

    archives, state agency records are organized by record group (office), series, item number (used to track a particular group of records, e.g. Director’s Correspondence), and accession number (number assigned when records are officially taken into archival custody). Special Collections are arranged by unit, collection number, and accession number. The hierarchy uses identifiers that are well-known to all staff in the Records Center and the Archive, rather than an individual user’s schema. Learn more about record groups, numbering, and retention schedules on our website at https://archives.ncdcr.gov/government/retention-schedules.

  2. File paths: the file path is the full path the computer must navigate to open a document including drive, folders, and file name, for example C:\My Documents\Budgets\2018_budget.xlsx. File names should be descriptive but concise, as some operating systems have a limit to how many characters the file path can be. Microsoft cannot open files with a path longer than 255 characters. In order to avoid long file paths, we use standardized abbreviations in the repository. For example State Records is “SR,” local/county records is “CR,” the Audiovisual Materials unit of Special Collections is “AV.” We also use a numbering system from the catalog that assigns numbers to record groups and series, so that rather than spelling out “Department of Insurance” or having a number of variations such as “Dept. of Insurance,” “Dept of Ins,” etc., the number 00009 is assigned to that department. Numbers have five digits to leave room for expansion and to sort properly in the file system, and we have an index of materials in the repository to help users navigate the abbreviations and numbers. There are also certain characters that should not be included in a file name as they can cause confusion or problems for the operating system: \ / : * ? “ < > | [ ] & $ , . These characters mean something in an electronic environment – for example, the forward slash / indicates folder levels for Microsoft, and a period . denotes a file extension, so if they are in a file name the computer may not know how to interpret them. For more information, see our documentation on best practices for file naming: https://archives.ncdcr.gov/documents/best-practices-file-naming.
  3. Finally, good governance of a repository includes policies for appraisal and collecting.
    Cover of the Managed Storage Guidance for Archival and Permanent Materials

    Cover of the Managed Storage Guidance for Archival and Permanent Materials

    Having clear guidelines on what will and will not be accepted (retention schedule, in-scope documentation, etc.) prevents a “let’s collect everything” attitude or spur-of-the-moment decisions, so that space is not wasted, materials can be found, and you and future users know why something is in the repository in the first place. The State Archives of North Carolina’s repository includes digitized and born-digital records from state and local government as well as special collections. From email to GIS data to PDFs and Word documents, the repository contains records of North Carolina history and activities in electronic format. We all do our best with the knowledge we have, and no one can know the future. But we do our best to have a repository with policies and practices that will stand the test of time so that in another 20 years, digital archivists will be able to find what they’re looking for and won’t have (too many) reasons to say, “What were they thinking?”

Happy Electronic Records Day!

Explore the Outer Banks Hispanic Community with the Mano al Hermano Records

[This blog post was written by Samantha Crisp, Director of the Outer Banks History Center.]

In recognition and celebration of the contributions and culture of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to our nation and society, Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed September 15, 2018 to October 15, 2018 as Hispanic Heritage Month for the state of North Carolina. In conjunction with Governor Cooper’s announcement, we would like to share one of our recently processed collections that directly relates to North Carolina’s Latinx community, the Mano al Hermano Records.

Clipping from the Outer Banks Sentinel, 23 March 2011, announcing grant funding for Mano al Hermano. From ORG.5284 Mano al Hermano Records, Outer Banks History Center.

Mano al Hermano (“My Hand to My Brother”) was envisioned as early as 2003, when
a Latinx support group for the Outer Banks community was founded by Sister Arcadia Rivera. After dying out, this group was revived by Ginger Candelora in 2010 as an affiliate with Interfaith Community Outreach. Candelora’s group was given 501(c)(3) status in April 2011 under a new name, Mano al Hermano.

Mano al Hermano’s mission is to serve the Hispanic and Latinx community of the Outer Banks by supporting literacy and education initiatives, offering English language classes, providing guidance on immigration and other legal issues, and encouraging collaboration between the Latinx and Anglo communities of Dare County. From 2013 to 2017, Mano al Hermano organized an annual celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, first called the Hispanic Heritage Festival, and later called the OBX Latin Festival. The organization offers regular workshops and presentations on developing issues affecting the Latin American community as a whole and the Latinx community of the Outer Banks specifically, including changes in federal immigration policies (for example, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA), local resolutions relating to undocumented immigrants, and guidance on dealing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Program for OBX Hispanic Heritage Festival, 2014. From ORG.5284 Mano al Hermano Records, Outer Banks History Center.

One of Mano al Hermano’s early initiatives was to establish a community garden on Roanoke Island with the assistance of the Dare County Airport Authority. The goal of the community garden was “to provide affordable and accessible healthy food to locals while encouraging community involvement and interaction.” Mano al Hermano still operates this community garden today, with a special plot set aside for children affiliated with the organization to participate in a 4-H club called the “Mini Dirt Diggers.”

Another major initiative led by the group is the Family Literacy Program. This program involves home-based volunteer tutoring for elementary school children on a weekly basis as well as English language lessons for parents. The project is supported by community volunteers who act as tutors. The program also includes a special eight-week summer program culminating in and a field trip for participants hosted by the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

ORG.5284 MAH DACA Flyer

Flyer for DACA workshop, 2017. From ORG.5284 Mano al Hermano Records, Outer Banks History Center.

The Outer Banks History Center’s Mano al Hermano Records, 2010-2018, contains newspaper clippings, event flyers and programs, photographs, a scrapbook, and other papers created and collected by the organization from the time of its inception. Photographs in the collection mainly depict groups of children participating in various activities as part of Mano al Hermano’s Family Literacy Program and working in the community garden. For more details about the collection, researchers can view its finding aid, which is accessible in both English and Spanish.

Unfortunately, significant documentation of the Hispanic/Latinx community is lacking in many archives, including the State Archives of North Carolina and its regional units. Collections like the Mano al Hermano Records are indispensable to researchers attempting to understand the experiences, contributions, and stories of Hispanic North Carolinians. If you have original materials documenting the Hispanic community in North Carolina, are affiliated with a Latinx advocacy group, or would be willing to record an oral history interview about your role in the Latinx community, please reach out to us today to discuss donating your materials to our repository. We must act now to ensure that this important history is not lost!