Category Archives: News

State Archives Website Refresh

Changes have finally arrived for the State Archives of North Carolina website! Our staff has been working with IT professionals on the website redesign for the past several months and we are excited to announce its launch on Thursday afternoon, November 16.

NewWebsite

A preview of the new website’s landing page.

This transition is part of the Digital Commons Project, an initiative that delivers a more consistent and intuitive experience for citizens who interact with state government on the web and mobile devices. Digital Commons includes the redesign and re-architecture of State agency websites in an effort to create a uniform look and feel.

Utilizing the Drupal open source content management platform (CMS), the new website will present a more streamlined experience across all devices, provide a less cluttered navigational experience, and allow us to create and manage a variety of different content types.

You may already be familiar with these upcoming changes from the State Library’s newly redesigned website; be sure to visit statelibrary.ncdcr.gov for a better look at the site’s new features.

We appreciate your patience with us through this process as we transition to a new online platform. We look forward to the completion of this project and we welcome and encourage any feedback you may have about the design, navigation, responsiveness, or any other technical issues that you may encounter once the new website goes live.

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Veterans Day

Veteran of Rockingham County, Levoir Lindsey, his wife, Viola, and daughter, Betty.

Veteran of Rockingham County, Levoir Lindsey, his wife, Viola, and daughter, Betty. From the Allen, Carter, Gwynn Family Papers and Albums (PC.2154).

The State Archives is closed Nov. 10-12 for the Veterans Day holiday. But many of our military related resources are available online any time. Here are some of the most recent additions:

World War I – As part of the statewide World War I centennial commemoration, we’ve digitized many materials from our Military Collection related to North Carolina’s involvement, including letters, posters, photographs, and maps.

Troop Returns – This collection is composed of troop returns from the Military Collection. Troop Returns (1747-1893) include lists, returns, records of prisoners, and records of draftees. The majority of this collection is related to the Revolutionary War.

Allen, Carter, Gwynn Family Papers and Albums (PC.2154) – These papers, including several albums, were compiled by Joann Marie Davis, whose forebears lived in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily in Stoneville (Shiloh) and Mayo Township, Rockingham County.

Arthur W. Matthews Jr. Papers (WWII 78, WWII Papers, Military Collection) – The Arthur W. Matthews Jr. Papers is composed of 68 photographs and a photocopied wartime diary, documenting the World War II military service of Arthur W. Matthews Jr. of Edgecombe and Wilson Counties, N.C., from April 1944 to February 1946. He served in Company A, 1258th Engineer Combat Battalion, U.S. Army, and later Headquarters Company, 376th Infantry Regiment. The majority of his service involved driving a truck in his unit as the 1258th Engineer Combat Battalion traveled through France, Belgium, and southern Germany, repairing or constructing bridges, constructing or clear mines from roads, building barracks to house displaced peoples in Germany, and guarding and transporting German POWs.

Photo of Col. Richard Hunt in an airplane

Snapshot of 1st Lt. Richard M. Hunt pictured in the cockpit of his U.S. Marine Corps Piper Cub airplane, parked on an island in the Pacific Theater. From Richard M. Hunt Papers (MMP 1, Miscellaneous Military Papers, Military Collection)

Richard M. Hunt Papers (MMP 1, Miscellaneous Military Papers, Military Collection) – The Richard M. Hunt Papers documents the U.S. Marine Corps service of Colonel Richard M. Hunt, from his entrance into the Marine Corps in 1942 during World War II as a Lieutenant, through his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1969. Hunt served during the 1960s in the following non-combat military capacities: as the Assistant U.S. Naval Attaché at the American Embassy in Paris, France, from 1960 to October 1963; as the U.S. Marine Corps Congressional Liaison Officer in the Office of the Legislative Liaison from November 1963 to February 1966; and as the Military Aide to Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey from 1967 to January 1969.

Lawrence E. Allen Sr. Papers (CLDW 23, Cold War Papers, Military Collection) – The Lawrence E. Allen Sr. Papers is composed of photographs, military service records and certificate, postcards, military ID and membership cards, a partial U.S. Navy ship cruise book, and miscellaneous materials, documenting the U.S. Navy service of Lawrence E. Allen of Raleigh, N.C., from 1955 to 1958 on active duty, and to 1961 on reserve duty.

Brimley Collection Online

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Photo of H.H. BrimleyThe State Archives is thrilled to announce the debut of our Brimley Collection online.  The Brimley Collection is one of our oldest and most interesting collections and thanks to the dedicated hard work of Ian Dunn of the Audiovisual Materials Unit and Olivia Carlisle and Francesca Evans of the Digital Services Branch, it is available in its entirety on the Web.  The photographs in this collection document many aspects of life in the state in the pivotal era between the late 19th and mid-20th century and include people both common and renowned, scenes of cities and towns, rural landscapes and farms, agricultural activities and products of every variety found in North Carolina, industrial concerns, and much much more.

The Brimley Collection is named for Herbert Hutchinson Brimley, the first leader of The North Carolina State Museum of Natural History.  That museum was at the time an all-encompassing state museum that included history, art, and science.  It later evolved and morphed into separate entities – the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the State Archives of North Carolina, the NC Museum of History, and the NC Museum of Art – all of which operate under an umbrella governance and exist today.

Herbert Hutchinson Brimley was born in Willington, Bedfordshire, England, on March 7, 1861, the son of Joseph and Harriet Brimley.  He received his formal education at the Bedford County School in Elstow, England, where he excelled in mathematics and sports. In December 1880, he immigrated with his parents and siblings to Raleigh, NC.  Interestingly, young H. H. Brimley’s first night in the city of Raleigh was spent in the National Hotel, the building bought the following year for the new home of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture which would become the site of Brimley’s work for the next 60 years.

Following unsuccessful attempts at farming and teaching, Brimley and his brother Clement opened a taxidermy and biological supply company in Raleigh, where they quickly gained an international reputation as the leading naturalists of their day in the South.  In 1884 the North Carolina Department of Agriculture commissioned Brimley to prepare a display of waterfowl and fishes for the State Centennial Exposition, and in 1892–93 he supervised the North Carolina zoological exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair.  In 1893 the Department of Agriculture designated two rooms in its office building as the North Carolina State Museum, for the permanent display of the exhibits assembled by Brimley, and on April 15, 1895, Brimley was appointed curator of the new museum, a post he held until 1928, when his title was changed to director. He served as director until 1937, when he became curator of zoology for the museum, a position he retained until his death. During the fifty years of his leadership, the institution grew into one of the best-known state museums in the United States, containing an outstanding collection of animal, plant, and geological specimens from the southeastern United States.

Two photographers taking photosDuring his years of service with the State Museum, Brimley assembled North Carolina displays at various national and international expositions. In preparation of his exhibits for the various shows, he traveled and took photographs throughout North Carolina to capture scenes for display in his exhibits.  H.H. Brimley took the majority of the photographs in the collection himself, and he was involved in all aspects of the work in which the photographs were used. The photographs in the Brimley Collection were used in the state’s exhibits at numerous expositions and shows as well as within the museum itself and in state publications over the years.

When Brimley died in 1946 at the age of 85, he was still an active state employee and after his death, the photographs remained at the Museum of Natural History for in-house use by the museum staff.  In 1962 with space at a premium and with the knowledge that the collection was too valuable and parts of it too old to continue to be used as an active reference file, the Museum of Natural History transferred the collection to the State Archives for permanent preservation.  Archivists created a detailed finding aid cataloging the collection at that time.

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This collection is arranged alphabetically by topic, beginning with Agriculture and ending with World War II.  At the end are two boxes of unidentified lantern slides (1900s-1920s), seven folders containing correspondence and miscellaneous items (1898-1979), and several boxes of oversized prints. Most of the photographs in the collection are black and white, but a few of the oversized prints are hand colored.  Description of the collection is to the folder level under each subject heading.

We invite you to enjoy this great body of work, and please let us know what questions you may have.

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> ncdcr.gov 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…

Start @ Home: North Carolina Virtual Family History Fair

Join the North Carolina Government & Heritage Library and the State Archives of North Carolina for free online live streaming presentations. View on your own on a laptop or desktop or at participating North Carolina libraries.

This year the presentations will be focusing on local collections and resources for local and family history research. Local records, libraries and archives are a treasure trove of excellent information to Start @ Home for research.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Streaming Online

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM EST

www.ncdcr.gov/family-history  

North Carolina Virtual Family History Fair Schedule

10 AM: Local Collections and Records for Family and Local History

Everything is local, local, local! Staff from the State Archives of North Carolina and the Government and Heritage Library will discuss how information at their repositories will help you in your quest–treasures include local government records, county abstracts, family histories, and other resources.

11 AM: Newspapers and Finding Treasures

Newspapers contain a wealth of information from the articles to the advertisements; information that provides knowledge and insight into periods of time that may change the course of their research. Staff from the Government and Heritage Library, the State Archives of NC, and the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center discuss what and where information is available about both current and historical NC newspapers, tools to access newspaper content, and current, ongoing services to provide access to out of print newspapers.

12 PM: DigitalNC for Family and Local History Research

There are numerous types of materials held by public libraries and other local cultural heritage institutions that can provide invaluable information about local and family history that cannot be found elsewhere.  Kristen Merryman, the Digital Projects Librarian from the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, will discuss the city directories, yearbooks, and other local level publications that digitalnc.org has freely available for many towns and counties across North Carolina and how they can be used to fill in gaps and enrich your knowledge of your town and family’s past.

1 PM: Genealogy of a House

Staff from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office will discuss different methods of research to uncover the genealogy of your house. Michael Southern, GIS coordinator and senior architectural historian, will demonstrate HPOWEB (http://gis.ncdcr.gov/hpoweb/), a web-based historic properties GIS mapping tool, and review information available in local architectural survey publications and nominations of properties and districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Claudia Brown, Survey & National Register Branch supervisor and architectural survey coordinator, will discuss resources for research such as city directories and Sanborn Insurance Fire Maps.  Mitch Wilds, Restoration Services Branch supervisor, will talk about analyzing the building elements of a property in order to date it.

Questions

Call: (919)807-7450

Email: SLNC.reference@ncdcr.gov

Web:  www.ncdcr.gov/family-history

The Charter: Fall 2017

Cover of the Fall 2017 edition of The Charter

Cover of the Fall 2017 edition of The Charter

The Charter is a digital magazine with feature stories, information about documents, fun facts about North Carolina’s history, and news from the State Archives of North Carolina. This edition includes articles about the National Genealogical Society Conference, previous and upcoming exhibits, and creating custom-fit boxes to protect our archival volumes.

We’ve recently revamped the magazine with a new layout and design. We welcome your feedback on the changes and hope you enjoy the magazine.

New Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records & District Superior Court Records

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the addition of two new collections to the North Carolina Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records and District Superior Court Records.

CCR_Estates_Miscellaneous_Estates_01

CCR_Estates_Miscellaneous_Estates_01

The Colonial Court Records digital collection includes two series: Estate Papers, CCR. 179-CCR.186, and Land Papers, CCR.187. Records relating to any of the higher courts in early North Carolina represented in the series Colonial Court Records (CCR) are extremely scarce until 1683, and are almost non-existent for several higher courts well after that date. Records of the General Court, the most important of these courts in terms of powers and amount of business transacted, do not begin to be abundant until 1694. It functioned from as early as 1670 until 1754 and during those years heard a great number of lawsuits involving decedents estates. When the records of this court were arranged at the Archives about 1959, papers from cases concerning estates were sorted out of the other loose papers and were designated Estates Records even though they were not true estates reports, inventories, accounts, etc. Papers concerning approximately seven hundred estates resulted. They were then foldered individually by decedent and arranged alphabetically.

For a more detailed account of what records are in the Colonial Court Records Collection, please see the CCR finding aid.

The District Superior Court Records digital collection currently contains only one district, Edenton District, from 1756 to 1806. It includes writs, transcripts, narratives, inventories of estates, notes, bonds, appeals, and subpoenas relating to the settlement of estates in the counties under the jurisdiction of the Edenton District Superior Court. It also includes a short subseries of guardians’ records (1760- 1805) arranged by name of the ward, and records of unnamed decedents and wards.

The supreme courts of justice system, in effect briefly from 1755 to 1759, served as the immediate predecessor and the pattern on which the district superior courts system was based. Under the supreme courts of justice, the colony of North Carolina was divided into five districts–each with its own independent court. The following towns served as the seats of the court districts: Edenton, Enfield, New Bern, Salisbury, and Wilmington.

Each supreme court of justice was independent and had the same jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters in their respective districts. Duties of the district superior courts also included the power of probate for deeds and wills. The state’s judiciary system underwent several more changes, with varying changes in duties and jurisdictions of the district superior courts until 1806 when the district superior courts were closed and replaced by superior courts erected in every county seat in the state. For a more detailed account of court history please seeing the digital collection landing page, or NCPedia article “State Judiciary.”