Tag Archives: Digital Information Management Program

Final Bible Records Added to Online Collection

[This blog post comes from Druscilla R. Simpson, head of our Information Management Branch.]

In November 2008, the State Archives and State Library met and decided to work collaboratively on a digital records project that would combine the Archives’ family Bible records with the Library’s indexed marriage and death announcements from five North Carolina newspapers (Raleigh Register, North Carolina State Gazette, Daily Sentinel, Raleigh Observer, and News & Observer) from 1799 to 1893 created by Carrie Broughton.  In May, 2009, we went live with the North Carolina Family Records Online collection which included keyword searchable texts and images from these two resources.  At that time, only 175 Bible records (lists of birth, marriage and death information recorded in North Carolina Bibles) were available.

As of November 2012, the final 544 Bible records went online – bringing the total number online to 2154!  Since the project began, we have added photographs of the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery in Oakwood, the records of the Historical Records Cemetery Survey done in 1937 for 97 counties of North Carolina, and thousands of pages of books and personal records from the State Library’s Genealogy Collection.

In addition to recording family vital statistic information, the Bibles contain  poems, obituaries, memorials, family letters, lists of slave births and deaths, news articles, temperance pledges, and even a few copies of wills and deeds.  For example there is a poem on “When to Wed”

Marry when the world is new;

Always loving, kind and true;

When February birds do mate;

You may wed, nor dread your fate;

If you marry when March winds blow,

Joy and sorrow both you’ll know;

Marry in April when you can,

Joy for maiden and for man;

Marry in the month of May,

You will surely rue the day;

Marry when June roses blow,

Over land and sea you’ll go.

They, who in July do wed,

Must labor always for their bread.

Whoever wed in august be,

Many changes are sure to see;

Marry in September’s shine,

Your living will be rich and fine.

If in October you do marry,

Love will come, but riches tarry.

If you wed in bleak November,

Only joy will come, remember.

When December’s snows fall fast,

Marry and true love will last.

 –M Fannie and C. Macon Walters

There are also beautiful pages such as the marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, N.C.

Marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, NC

Marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, NC – part of the Bible Records collection available on North Carolina Family Records Online.

Transcriptions of these records have been done by State Archives and State Library staff, as well as by volunteers.  For example, more than 52 of the Bible records were transcribed by Pam Toms, a retired librarian and our most prolific volunteer on this project.  If you want to volunteer to transcribe genealogy documents, too, the State Library has a page dedicated to it here http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/verticalfiles.html.  We have nine “super scribes” already hard at work and can always use more!  A terrific blog post about this transcription project can be read at http://statelibrarync.org/news/2012/11/world-usability-day-qa-with-therese.

As a result of putting these records online, more than 154 additional Bible pages recording North Carolina family births, marriages, and deaths, have been donated to the State Archives since May 2008.  If you have a family Bible that contains at least one person who lived or was born in North Carolina and has at least one birth or death dating to 1913 or earlier, then please consider donating copies of these pages to the State Archives.  Instructions are available at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/fhp_brochure.pdf


We’ve gotten a lot of good news in our inbox today.

First, the Society of American Archivists Preservation Publication Award subcommittee has selected the Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Partnership (GeoMAPP) publication, Best Practices for Archival Processing for Geospatial Datasets, to receive this year’s award. To quote their announcement:

“The subcommittee found Best Practices for Archival Processing for Geospatial Datasets to be a valuable contribution to the field of digital preservation for a common but complex type of electronic record.  Among the strengths of the publication is the clear organization according to the steps of a detailed geospatial archival processing workflow.   The inclusion of recommended metadata elements to capture, checklists such as the Quality Assurance Process Workflow Checklist, and especially the list of key questions to ask at each stage of the process should be particularly helpful to programs setting up their processes for the first time.  This publication comes at a time when many archivists are eager for practical guidance as they begin to collect more complex types of electronic records like geospatial data.  The GeoMAPP work provides practical explanation and advice for the archival management and preservation of geospatial data and can help advance the practice of digital preservation in this important field. “

The award will be given on August 10, 2012 in San Diego during the SAA Annual Meeting. Congratulations to Lisa Speaker and Kelly Eubank of our Electronic Records branch who worked so hard on GeoMAPP! It’s great to see their work rewarded with national praise.

We also heard that the National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Working Group selected the State Library and State Archives of North Carolina for an innovation award in recognition “for their work educating state employees and information professionals on digital preservation…” You can read the full announcement on the Library of Congress blog The Signal (and you should go read it because it is very good). Congratulations again to Kelly Eubank, our Electronic Records branch, and to all the staff of the State Library’s Digital Information Management Program (better known as DIMP).

Preservation Week

This week is National Preservation Week and our sister organization the State Library of North Carolina is doing a series of preservation related posts over on the Government and Heritage Library Blog. Two new things they are talking about as part of that series are their YouTube tutorial about preserving Facebook data and the CINCH (Capture, Ingest, & Checksum) tool, which will help to automate the process of file preservation.

Another of the State Library’s posts gives an excellent handout version of our tips for preserving your own papers and records. Here are some of the most important things to think about:

Environment Matters

  • Keep your temperature and humidity stable.  Ideally, keep your temperature at 72 deg. F. and the relative humidity in the 40-55% range.  Fluctuations in humidity are more damaging than fluctuations in temperature.  No record likes to be too hot, dry, or damp.  If you can maintain a slightly cooler environment (68 deg. F), even better.
  • Monitor conditions in storage areas.  Be prepared to react to seasonal changes, such as high humidity in the summer, with a room dehumidifier.
  • Limit exposure to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light.
  • Do not smoke in room where family papers are stored.

Think About Storage

  • Avoid attics, basements, closets or any area with limited air circulation and fluctuating temperatures and humidity.
  • Keep sources of food away from family documents.  Don’t store documents near sources of water, such as washing machines.
  • Avoid oak bookcases or other wooden shelves with formaldehyde (including plywood, chipboard, masonite), or polyurethane paints and varnishes.  These off-gas as they age.  Avoid metal storage furniture unless the finish is baked-on enamel (with no residual smell) or dry application powder coating.
  • If you must use wooden bookshelves, finish them with a sealant such as latex paint or air drying enamel and allow to dry for several weeks to ensure all sealant odors have disappeared.  Avoid oil-based paints as a sealant.
  • Shelve like sized books together on the shelf to provide adequate support around each book.  Book ends assist in ensuring the books are adequately supported. Make sure books are snug, but not so tight on the shelf that removal causes wear on the book.  Store fragile or oversized books on one side.  Never store a book spine-up or the pages could separate from the binding.
  • Select acid-free (pH of 7) or buffered (slightly basic) storage materials for loose documents.  This includes folders and boxes.  Document boxes with lids provide protection from dust and light.  Don’t stuff folders or boxes, they should be full so that no folders or documents slouch in the box.  Acid-free spaces or a rolled acid-free folder ensure the folders are snug in the box and not slouching (if the box isn’t full).  Oversized, drop-front boxes provide similar protection for larger materials.
  • Select acid-free boxes and dividers for storage of loose photographic prints.  Neutral plastics should be utilized for use in photographic albums and other storage materials.  Acceptable plastics should be polypropylene or polyethylene.  All plastics should be PVC free (polyvinylchloride) and pass the PAT (photographic activity test).
  • Use photographic albums that contain pocket pages made of the above mentioned acceptable plastics.  Photographs also can be placed in albums (with acid-free pages) using photo corners made of acceptable plastic. Never glue photographs in an album or use the magnetic albums with sticky sheets and a plastic top sheet.

Care and Handling

  • Provide yourself with an adequate work space for using your materials.  Keep your workspace clean.
  • Clean your hands before working with your materials.  Wear gloves when handling fragile materials or photographs and negatives.
  • Remove books from the shelf by grasping the spine, never pull on the headcap (top part of the spine).  Support books and documents with both hands at all times.
  • Remove paperclips, rubber bands, and staples from loose documents prior to storage.  Staples should be removed carefully by bending up the two ends and gently removing the staple.  Never use staple removers because they could tear fragile paper.
  • Unfold loose documents and store them flat, if possible, or with a minimum of folds.  Paper is weakest along the folds.  Never force open a tightly folded item, instead, seek conservation assistance.
  • Never repair tears or holes with any pressure-sensitive tape (Scotch tape), glues, or other adhesives.  Seek conservation assistance if a document needs repairs.  Never laminate a document.
  • Newsprint should be segregated from other papers because is often stains adjacent papers.  Copy newsprint to acid-free papers and destroy the originals or interleave the originals with acid-free paper and use the copies as reference tools.
  • Make use copies of materials (scan or Xerox) one time and utilize those use copies for distribution to family members.  This reduces handling on originals.
  • Avoid framing original documents, frame a scanned, color copy instead.  If you choose to frame an original, use acid-free mats and a window mat or Japanese paper hinge for attachment.  Don’t let the document touch the glass.  Avoid rubber cements or glues to attach anything to a mat.  Select ultraviolet filtered glass or plexiglass.  Use a reputable framer and specify your wishes for each step of framing.

Further reading

The internet contains a wealth of information on preservation tips for most types of records.  Investigate printed and on-line resources such as:

Other websites that give tips useful for Preservation Week and any other time:

Friday News Round-Up

I wanted to take a little bit of time on this sweltering July day to mention a few news items that may be of interest to the readers of this blog.

The first two come from the State Library of North Carolina. Their staff are testing using Flickr, along with help from the public, to transcribe some hard to read documents that are destined for the North Carolina Family Records Project. To learn more about this pilot project, visit the Government and Heritage Library blog.

The State Library has also launched a new exhibit on the North Carolina State Fair called Blue Ribbon Memories: Your History of the NC State Fair. While viewing the site if you select the “Explore” option you can see all sorts of great State Fair premium lists and other documents, including an item from our Treasures Collection: “Autographed speech, printed on 30 cards, delivered by President Theodore Roosevelt on October 19, 1905.” The library staff are also welcoming people to submit personal stories or photographs about the State Fair. Read more about this project on the State Library of North Carolina blog.

Today there is an article in the News and Observer about Josh Howard’s Civil War Death Study, which you can read more about on the official North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial website. One of our staff members, Chris Meekins, recently wrote about one of the topics covered in the News and Observer article, the death of Henry Lawson Wyatt, on our NC Civil War 150 blog.  Today Sarah Bliss expanded on the topic of Henry Lawson Wyatt in the first of her planned series of blog posts about Civil War obituaries.

And finally, the News and Observer blog “Past Times” recently included a post about our Civil War materials and my upcoming talk on our online Civil War resources, which is scheduled for August 8th. I’m sure I’ll have more notices to post about that talk next week, but if you want to read more about it now you can do so by selecting the lectures tag on our Civil War blog.

North Carolina Civil War Soldiers: Mapping the Conflict

Today’s announcement comes from Amy Rudersdorf of the Digital Information Management Program (part of the State Library of North Carolina):

North Carolina Civil War Soldiers: Mapping the Conflict

From Wilmington to Petersburg and Gettysburg, North Carolina soldiers served in many of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Homesickness, fear, patriotism, spirituality, hunger, all-night picket duty, and time in the brig are a few of the experiences and emotions that these soldiers write about in the State Archives and State Library’s Civil War Letters project. The letters, digitized and transcribed, enable readers to experience the war through the eyes of the men on the battlefronts, but also from their families’ perspectives on the North Carolina home front. From mothers and wives come poignant account of struggles against rising inflation, hunger, illness, the militia, and in some cases, allegiances.

Those letters let us in on another important aspect of military life, too: the paths that individual soldiers took throughout their enlistment. History books talk of battles and skirmishes, but through these personal accounts, we learn that soldiers camped for long periods of time, then ran from battle to battle, went home (through desertion or on furlough) and spent time in hospitals and brigs.

Using information found in Confederate soldier’s letters held by the State Archives, and supplemented by rosters and other publications held by the State Library, the “North Carolina Civil War Soldiers” combined timeline and map provides users with insight into the men’s lives on the battlefields throughout the southeastern campaigns and their loved ones on the home fronts in North Carolina. It also identifies the point-by-point movements and engagements of individual soldiers and their regiments and companies.

Seeing the movements of individual soldiers also hits home how far and wide these men traveled, often on foot and in all sorts of weather.

The transcribed letters and the timeline-map are accessible from the North Carolina Digital Collections (http://digital.ncdcr.gov). The tool is free for use by anyone, and of special interest to historians of the Civil War.

The letters and maps of nine North Carolina soldiers are currently available with more being added over the next four years.

This project is a partnership of the State Library and State Archives.

You can access the time-map from a variety of places, including the official North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial website and the Digital Civil War Collection page on our North Carolina Civil War 150 blog. You’ll notice the time-map is in Beta, so we could really use some feedback from people about the tool before it goes “prime-time” in April. Also of note is the “Traveling Civil War Photo Exhibit at the Government and Heritage Library,” which is currently ongoing.

Online Resources at the North Carolina State Archives

I hope you are all enjoying North Carolina Archives Week.  I’ve put online a PDF copy of the handout from our session today  (“MARS and More: An Introduction to the North Carolina State Archives’ Online Resources”). It is just a quick, informal overview of a few of the tools available through our websites, but hopefully some of you will find it helpful. Although the heading I gave the PDF is for the North Carolina State Archives, I also included information on Outer Banks History Center resources.

Don’t forget that Druscie Simpson and Amy Rudersdorf will be discussing the Family Records Collection of the State Archives and State Library tomorrow at noon in the State Archives/Library Building Auditorium (that’s on the first floor, if you’ve never been to our building before).

Connecting You to the Past: North Carolina Archives Week October 4-10 2010

[Our blog post today comes from the Resource Management Branch.]

As archives throughout the nation celebrate American Archives Month in October, the State Archives will offer public programs and activities reflecting our state theme, “Connecting You to the Past.” Please join us for these informative and fun events honoring Archives Week in North Carolina.  All activities are FREE and will take place in the North Carolina State Archives /Library Building, 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.

Tuesday, October 5

“MARS and More: An Introduction to the North Carolina State Archives’ Online Resources”; 10:00 a.m.—11:30 p.m.

Location: State Archives/Library Buidling—2nd floor, Computer Lab, room 208

What historic North Carolina documents are available through the Internet on the Manuscripts and Archives Reference System (MARS)? What can you find out about your family through online indexes, references, digital collections, and social networking tools? Ashley Yandle, archivist with the State Archives will guide you through some of the basic search strategies for uncovering information about your ancestors. She will identify some of the basic online tools that will make searching worthwhile and rewarding.

Wednesday, October 6

“Getting to Know Your Family: the Family Records Collection of the State Archives and State Library”; 12 noon—1:00 p.m.

Location: State Archives/Library Building Auditorium

Tracing your ancestry isn’t easy. Often the only place some marriages, births, and deaths are recorded is in the family Bible. Fortunately, some of those Bible records are available in the State Archives and can be accessed from your computer. The State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina have created North Carolina Family Records Online. The collection currently contains a selection of over 700 Bible records from the more than 2000 copies of various donated family Bibles. The State Library’s six volume Marriage and Death Notices—indexes of marriage and death announcements appearing in five North Carolina newspapers from 1799 to 1893—rounds out this collection. Join archivist Druscie Simpson and librarian Amy Rudersdorf in a discussion of how to use these records to discover information about your family.

Saturday, October 16

Triangle Home Movie Day; 1:00 p.m.—4:00 p.m.

Location: State Archives/Library Building—Auditorium, 1st Floor

The fun doesn’t end after Archives Week is over. The following week, the North Carolina State Archives hosts Triangle Home Movie Day, a worldwide celebration of amateur home movies. Meet local film archivists, find out about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media, and-most importantly, watch those old family films! Join us in Raleigh to view these movies and bring your own family films to share (8mm, super8 and 16mm—sorry, no video). Share in a discussion with archivists and film professionals about the care and preservation of these unique records. This event is co-sponsored by the Film Studies Program, NCSU and A/V Geeks Archive.

And, please visit the Web site of the State Archives during this week. The Archives is planning to launch an online exhibit, “Finding Our Ancestors: Connecting to the Civil War.”  As the Civil War Sesquicentennial approaches, several staff archivists have researched their own past and have discovered important clues that document their ancestors’ service and activities during the war. We’ve discovered service records, prison records, pension records, photographs, and more.  See how we’ve connected to our past.