Category Archives: Events

Lunch and Learn: Finding Your Ancestors

Lunch and Learn flyerOn May 10-13, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) will hold its annual conference in Raleigh. To help participating genealogists prepare for their visit, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will host two Facebook Live sessions on its Facebook page. The “Lunch and Learn: Finding Your Ancestors” series will take place over two days:

  • Wednesday, May 3 at 12 noon – Tune in to hear about genealogical research at the Government and Heritage Library, part of the State Library of North Carolina.
  • Thursday, May 4 at 12 noon – Learn about resources available both in the Search Room and online from the State Archives of North Carolina.

The State Archives has also updated the information under the genealogical research tab on this blog in preparation for NGS 2017. If you have any additional questions about your upcoming visit to the State Archives, please contact us.

See North Carolina’s Original Copy of the Bill of Rights

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources press release – you can find other press releases on]

Award-Winning Constitutional Scholar Highlights Bill of Rights, How North Carolina Saved the Constitution

North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights, 1789

See North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights from Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Image credit: State Archives of North Carolina.

RALEIGH, N.C. — In honor of the Bill of Rights’ 225th anniversary on Dec. 15, you will have a rare opportunity to see North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights from Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Admission is free. To protect the fragile document from light, it is on view for a very limited time.

In addition, the museum will offer free programs about the Bill of Rights on Dec. 14. Linda R. Monk, a nationally award-winning author, journalist and constitutional scholar, will present The Bill of Rights: How North Carolina Saved the Constitution. (Did you know North Carolina was the only state to refuse to ratify the U.S. Constitution until a bill of rights was added?) Monk’s work has been featured on PBS, Voice of America, MSNBC, C-SPAN and NPR, and she writes commentary for newspapers nationwide.

After Monk’s program, State Archivist Sarah Koonts will briefly highlight the saga of North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights, from its theft by a Union soldier during the Civil War to its recovery by the FBI in 2003.


History à la Carte: The Bill of Rights: How North Carolina Saved the Constitution

Wednesday, Dec. 14, noon-1 p.m.

Register at and purchase a boxed lunch — or just bring your own. Beverages provided. For information, call 919-807-7982.

Linda R. Monk, J.D., Constitutional Scholar and Author

North Carolina’s role in ratifying the U.S. Constitution helped result in James Madison sponsoring the first 10 amendments in Congress. Ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, that Bill of Rights upholds the key freedoms Americans cherish to this day.

Monk, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has twice won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for public education about the law. She served as series advisor for the PBS documentary “Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.”

Monk uses an accessible, narrative style to explore truths about our constitutional democracy. She conveys this depth of knowledge in a manner that is relevant and understandable to average citizens. Monk also presents seminars and lectures for audiences that include the Pentagon, National Archives, Fulbright Scholars and the Smithsonian Institution.


North Carolina’s Original Copy of the Bill of Rights

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 1 p.m.

Sarah Koonts, Director, Division of Archives and Records

North Carolina’s state archivist will briefly trace the intriguing history of North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights. The journey started when a Union soldier stole it from the State Capitol in 1865 and ended in 2003, when it was recovered in an undercover FBI sting operation. After legal battles in state and federal courts, North Carolina won possession of the document in 2005 and ownership in 2008.

North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights is one of 14 original copies of the 12 proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution prepared by three federal clerks in 1789. A copy was drafted for the legislatures of the existing 13 states to debate; the other copy was for the federal government. After the ratification of the first 10 amendments in 1791, North Carolina retained custody of its copy of the document.

For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.

About the N.C. Museum of History

The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum collects and preserves artifacts of North Carolina history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Each year more than 300,000 people visit the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C.  Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit

Join Us for Home Movie Day!

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

Home Movie Day 2016 flyerSaturday, October 15, 2016, is Home Movie Day!  And the State Archives of North Carolina is hosting Raleigh Home Movie Day for its 14th year!  Co-sponsored by the State Archives of North Carolina, AV Geeks Transfer Services, and the Film Studies Program at NCSU, Raleigh Home Movie Day is fun for the whole family.  Come join us! 

Participation is simple!  Rifle through your attics, dig through your closets, call up Grandma, and find your family’s home movies!   Then come on down to the State Archives with up to two old reels (8mm, Super8mm, or 16mm film) or video tapes (VHS or Video8/Hi8), and we will screen at least one of them for you and the audience to enjoy!  Point out people and places you recognize! As a BONUS, you’ll later get a digital transfer (downloadable file e-mailed to you or DVD mailed to you) of the home movie that you shared with us on the screen.

If you do not have any films or videos to bring, that’s OK!  You can just show up and watch the films of others.  It’s not just historically significant – it’s fun!

And did you know that original films can long outlast DVDs or video tape transfers if you properly take care of them? Don’t throw your films away!  HOME MOVIE DAY will not only provide a wealth of free entertainment but is also an opportunity for you to learn about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media.  Motion picture archivists will be on hand to answer all your questions and tell you how to properly store your films and plan for their future.

If you are still considering cleaning house and getting rid of your old home movies and videos, please just don’t throw them out yet!  The State Archives collects and preserves old moving images of North Carolina, and while the bulk of our current holdings consist mainly of films and tapes relating to state government, we have a growing body of amateur film and are looking for more because home movies can often include glimpses of important places, and historically significant events and happenings that are not documented anywhere else.   Home movies are an essential record of our past, and they are among the most authoritative documents of times gone by.

So come to Home Movie Day, learn, participate, and/or just enjoy the antics of your friends and neighbors caught on film.  THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (AND parking is free)!


Saturday October 15th, 2016

1 – 4pm



State Archives of North Carolina Auditorium

109 East Jones Street

Raleigh NC 27601


Please contact Kim Andersen (AV Materials  Archivist, State Archives),, 919-807-7311, with any questions about Home Movie Day and/or film and video donations.  And for more information about Raleigh Home Movie Day 2016 in general, please contact Skip Elsheimer (Owner, A/V Geeks),; and/or Devin Orgeron (Professor, Film Studies, NCSU),

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.

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


On October 8, 2016, join the staff of the State Archives for a day-long educational opportunity focused on researching in Revolutionary War era records at the State Archives of North Carolina. The event will last from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, include talks on six different record series and an overview, have a catered lunch break and be held in the auditorium of the library and archives building at 109 East Jones Street.

Registration by mail until September 23, 2016.  The registration fee is $20.00 for the general public and $18.00 for members of the Friends of the Archives.

The lectures are part of National Archives week and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources It’s Revolutionary! programming.

For registration flyers and more information contact the Archives at 919-807-7310.


Registration form

State Library and Archives Building — Auditorium

109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Saturday, October 8, 2016

9:00 am — 9:30 am

Check-in:  Coffee and snacks by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

9:30 am — 9:35 am


9:35 am —10:00 am

Revolutionary War North Carolina overview: Vann Evans

10:00 am — 10:45 am

County Records: Josh Hager

10:45 am — 11:00 am

Break: Sponsored by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

11:00 am —11:45 am

Secretary of State and General Assembly Session Records: Doug Brown

11:45 am — 12:30 pm

Treasurer and Comptroller’s Records: Alison Thurman

12:30 pm —1:30 pm

Lunch catered by Pharaoh’s at the Museum

1:30 pm — 2:15 pm

Military Collection: Matthew Peek

2:15 pm — 3:00 pm

Private Collections: Debbi Blake

3:00 pm — 3:30 pm

English and British Archives: Vann Evans

3:30 pm — 3:45 pm

Questions and finis



Treasures of Carolina Exhibit Closes July 31

Tracing of a baby's hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

Tracing of a baby’s hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

This weekend is your last chance to see some of the State Archives’ treasures while they are on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives will close after July 31. The exhibit has been at the museum since October 24, 2015 and illustrates the history of North Carolina and the role of the State Archives in preserving and providing access to both modern records and historical materials. The exhibit includes items such as:

  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • Information on GIS and website preservation.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.
  • North Carolina’s official copy of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and 26th Amendment which allowed U. S. citizens 18 years and older to vote.

To learn more, visit the exhibit page on the North Carolina Museum of History website.

"Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina" exhibit flyer

“Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina” exhibit flyer

“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.