Tag Archives: Government Records Branch

Upcoming Events and News at the State Archives

As you may have seen from previous posts, next week is North Carolina Archives Week. The State Archives has several events planned including:

  • Oct. 20 – Triangle Home Movie Day
  • Oct. 22, from 10:00-3:00 – Civil War to Civil Rights in North Carolina; a display documents and photographs relating to the Archives Week theme, “Journeys to Justice: Civil Rights in North Carolina.” This free event will be held on Monday in the State Archives Search Room at 109 East Jones Street.
  • Oct. 22, from 10:30-11:30 – Armchair Historians: tools you use at home or on the go; archivist Ashley Yandle guides you through online tools and social media including the State Archives’ catalog and the North Carolina Digital Collections. This free event will be held On Monday, October 22,  in the auditorium at 109 East Jones Street.
  • Oct. 25 – Workshop: Digitizing and Remote Sharing of Family Materials

We’d love for you to join us as we take part in this week-long celebration of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our state.

In other news:

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has started a new blog called “This Day in North Carolina History” dedicated to a day-to-day history of the people and places of the Tar Heel state. Several recent blog posts there have included items of interest to readers of this blog, including:

In recent news from the Government Records and Electronic Records Branches, as recorded on the G.S. 132 Files blog:

Records Management Gets a New Blog

[This blog post comes from Becky McGee-Lankford of our Government Records Branch.]

It is my pleasure to announce that the official Records Management blog of the State Archives of North Carolina will go live Monday, July 16th. The “G.S. 132 Files: North Carolina Public Records Blog” is our newest form of communicating and interacting with you; the custodians of North Carolina’s public records. It will be available at: http://ncrecords.wordpress.com/. Through this blog, we intend to expand on our records management services by providing you all with an information portal for news, events, training opportunities, and discussion.

Every day, the analysts and archivists at the State Archives of North Carolina answer your questions, consult you for advice, and consider the trickier issues of public records law. Now you will have the opportunity to engage with us collectively. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but we want to hear from you! As always, please feel free to email or call me with any questions, input, or concerns you have.

Hi, I am employed by the State Archives of North Carolina….

My name is Francesca and I am employed by the State Archives of North Carolina. I’ve been with the State Archives since July 2008. It’s been an unbelievable four years.

In my first job as a processing assistant, I worked with the Public Services and Special Collections branches. I had the pleasure of working every Saturday in the search room. I can tell you I learned the regulars super-fast. I also worked with the correspondence unit with the Public Services. We answered questions for North Carolina and out of state residents.  I highly recommend using the Correspondence Unit to request copies of records held at the State Archives.  The research service is free to North Carolina residents, but you will have to pay for copies with a minimum charge of $2.00. The research fee for out of state residents is $20.00.

I also worked with the Non-textual Materials Unit in the Special Collections branch. I really enjoyed this job because it gave me experience answering requests from the public. Plus who doesn’t enjoy looking at images from North Carolina. There are so many photograph negatives & prints in the Photograph collection. I highly recommend checking out the images on flickr.

In March 2010, I became one of the Local Records Archivists. My position does a little of everything in the local records unit.  One of my main job duties is to be the contact person for Clerk of Courts and Register of Deeds for transfer of permanent county records. We collect county records from all 100 North Carolina counties. I also give Disaster Preparedness workshops in person. The past year I was a part of a team who gave a 4-part disaster preparedness webinar to government employees. We focused on knowing your essential records before a disaster occurs. I also work the arrangement and description of county records.  The local records unit arranges and describes the county records for use in the State Archives search room. Recently, we brought in 2010 electronic tax records. We’re really excited about our new venture into electronic records.  My job provides me with diverse responsibilities that make coming to work enjoyable.

Do you have a murder case in your family? Why don’t you check out Coroners’ Inquests!

Records Spotlight: Coroners’ Inquests

In this month’s edition of Records Spotlight, we are going to focus on Coroners’ Inquests. Coroners’ inquests can give valuable information about the death of individuals. Typically, inquests are administrated when deaths are sudden or involved with possible court cases. Winslow states in North Carolina Research Genealogy and Local History “Inquests provide data on disease, suicide, and murder” (Winslow, p. 285).

It would be beneficial for genealogists working on criminal cases dealing with murder. The inquest will give more insight to the trial. Normally, coroner’s inquest also provides the date of death. This can be especially helpful to researcher needing a date of death before 1913, as North Carolina death certificates did not begin in 1913. The search room has microfilm copies of death certificates from 1913-1975.

The two main formats for coroners’ inquests are handwritten manuscript and printed form. The handwritten document tends to be associated with the older coroners’ inquests. The printed forms have specific questions that the coroner answered. The answers on the forms may be handwritten or typed.  Sometimes the form includes a pre-drawn image that indicates the injuries to the deceased.

Coroners’ inquests would be beneficial for historical research as well. Here is an interesting article by Chris Meekins regarding coroners’ inquests from Pasquotank County ( http://civilwar150nc.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/pasquotank-county-miscellaneous-records-hidden-history-part-ii/ ) Meekins’ article brings to life the stories behind one coroners’ inquest.

Our oldest coroners’ inquests will be located in the Secretary of State Collection and include inquests from various counties. The collection is arranged in chronological order. There is abstract of the inquests in the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 1, No.1 (Jan. 1975), p. 11-37.  The journal is located in the Search Room. The call number for the coroners’ inquest is as follows:

Secretary of State

Series XVIII: Record keeping Coroners’, 1738-1775

Box 1

Finally, coroners’ inquests located with the county records are arranged chronological and alphabetically. A list of coroners’ inquests at the State Archives is presented below. I would expect that it would take longer to search for an inquest in the chronological arrangement versus alphabetical. You may view these documents in the State Archives of North Carolina search room Tuesday-Saturday.

Winslow, Jr., Raymond A. “Records of County Officials.” Ed. Helen F. M. Leary. North Carolina Research Genealogy and Local History. 2nd ed. Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996. 285.

Arranged chronological:

Buncombe County (1875-1929): C.R.013.913.1-C.R.013.913.2

Chatham County (1796-1971): C.R.022.913.1-C.R.022.913.3

Craven County (1782-1905): C.R.028.913.1-C.R.028.913.2

Cumberland County (1791-1909): C.R.029.913.1

Granville County (1755-1905, 1920): C.R.044.913.1-C.R.044.913.2

Haywood County (1822-1967): C.R.049.913.1-C.R.049.913.2

Henderson County (1853-1926): C.R.050.913.1

New Hanover County (1768-1880): C.R.070.913.1-C.R.070.913.2

Northampton County (1793-1905): C.R.071.913.1

Orange County (1785-1911, no date): C.R.073.913.1

Perquimans County (1794-1892): C.R.077.913.1

Pitt County (1961-1960): C.R.079.913.1-C.R.079.913.14

Richmond County (1906-1967): C.R.082.913.1-C.R.082.913.7

Robeson County (1857-1965, no date): C.R.083.913.1-C.R.083.913.27; C.R.075.605.1-C.R.075.605.2

Scotland County (1902-1946): C.R.088.913.1-C.R.088.913.5

Stanly County (1914-1957): C.R.089.913.1-C.r.089.913.2

Stokes County (1805-1916): C.R.090.913.1

Warren County (1800-1848; 1902-1967): C.R.100.913.1-C.R.100.913.2

Wilson County (1859-1915): C.R.105.913.1-C.R.105.913.2

Arranged alphabetically:

Columbus County (1914-1968; 1981): C.R.027.913.1-C.R.027.913.34 (Adams-Zark)

Harnett County (1906-1968): C.R.048.913.1-C.R.048.913.7 (Adams-Young)

Iredell County (no date, 1854-1968): C.R.054.913.1-C.R.054.913.9 (Abernathy-Zimmerman)

Pender County (1876-1968): C.R.076.913.1-C.R.079.913.9 (Armstrong-Wright)

Records Move: Administration, State Fair, and Cultural Resources

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have moved some of our records into a new storage space within the Archives building in order to make more materials available on Saturdays. The complete list of all the materials moved is available as a PDF from our website, but I’m breaking down the list into a series of blog posts so that I can tell you more about the records.

Today, I’m going to focus on records from the Dept. of Administration, Dept. of Agriculture, and Dept. of Cultural Resources. More information about these collections can be found in our online catalog MARS, but as I’ve mentioned previously, it will likely take us a while to change the location codes in MARS and our other finding aids. We ask you to be patient with us.

Dept. of Administration

  • Human Relations Council, 1963-1978 – The first predecessor to the Human Relations Commission was the Good Neighbor Council, established 18 January 1963 by executive order of Governor Terry Sanford. The council consisted of 24 citizens appointed by the governor. Its mission was: to encourage the employment of qualified people without regard to race; and to urge youth to become better trained for employment. Under the Executive Organization Act of 1971, the Good Neighbor Council and all its statutory powers were transferred to the Department of Administration (DOA). The legislature of 1971 changed the name of the council to the Human Relations Commission. The General Assembly of 1989 changed the name of the council to the Human Relations Commission. Records include Director’s correspondence and subject file; meetings files; consultants’ files, education institutions files; projects and programs files; City-County program files; public relations files; policy and procedures files; and other materials.
  • State Construction Office, 1920-1984 – Prior to the creation of the Division of Property Control and Construction in 1957, responsibility for the state’s program of building and property management was distributed among various boards, commissions, and agencies. Any planning for future property needs was generally a function of the individual state agencies, although final approval of the purchase, sale, mortgage, or lease of state property had to be given by the Council of State. In a study authorized by the 1955 General Assembly, the Commission on the Reorganization of State Government reviewed the state’s property management practices and long-range policies. The commission recommended formation of a Department of Administration that would absorb all the functions involving state property and buildings, which were at that time divided among various agencies.  In 1977 the Division of Property and Control was divided into separate units subsequently named the State Property Office and the State Construction Office. Organizationally, these units and the related Capital Planning Commission and the Capital Building Authority came under the Department of Administration’s deputy secretary of governmental operations. Records include: construction contracts; correspondence; architectural and engineering drawings; dredge and fill files; and other materials.

Dept. of Agriculture

  • State Fair Division, 1948-1959 – The first North Carolina State Fair was held in 1853 under the auspices of the North Carolina State Agricultural Society, which had been incorporated a year earlier by the General Assembly. The fair was envisaged as a means of promoting interest in advances both in agriculture and in industry. With the exception of the war periods, 1860-1866 and 1918, the State Fair was conducted by the State Agricultural Society continuously from 1853 through 1925. In 1924 the Agricultural Society requested the assistance of state government and the city of Raleigh in managing the fair. After assurances that the fair would be continued under state auspices, the State Agricultural Society disbanded. During the years 1926 and 1927 the fair was not held. The 1927 legislature assumed responsibility for the State Fair, declaring that it “shall be managed, operated and conducted by a board of directors,” representing each congressional district, with three additional at-large directors. In 1937 Dr. J. S. Dorton of Shelby was appointed manager of the new State Fair Division of the Department of Agriculture. Records include: subject files; correspondence; contracts; and publicity files.

Dept. of Cultural Resources

  • N.C. Symphony, 1932-1973 – The North Carolina Symphony Society was incorporated as a non-profit, non-stock corporation on 31 December 1932. Among its purposes were “to promote and foster musical culture and education, and in the furtherance of said objects the Society may organize the North Carolina Symphony and other orchestras and supervise and provide for the training of musicians, and may arrange and conduct concerts and all forms of musical entertainment.” As a private organization the symphony survived for ten years through private and individual support. In 1943, acknowledging the important educational and cultural objectives of the North Carolina Symphony Society, the General Assembly placed it under “the patronage and control of the State, to the end that its permanency may be assured and that the State may to some extent lend financial aid necessary to the support thereof.” Under the Executive Organization Act of 1971, the North Carolina Symphony Society was transferred to the management of the newly created Department of Art, Culture, and History. In 1973 the department was renamed the Department of Cultural Resources, and the North Carolina Symphony Society continued as an agency of the new department. Records include: symphony ball file; public information office files; photographs; publicity files; grant files; subject files; contracts; financial records; minutes; and “Historical File — General, Financial, Programs, and Soloists.”
  • N.C. State Library, 1877-1962 – The origins of the State Library date from 1812 when the General Assembly required the secretary of state to collect, catalog, and safeguard books and documents for use by the state legislature and government officials. In 1819 the General Assembly designated funds for the “Public Library,” although subsequent legislation in 1822 referred to the “State Library.” A legislative act of 1858-59 provided that the state librarian would serve as the librarian of the state Senate and House of Representatives. Although the State Library was patronized primarily by state officials, the public was allowed to use the reference collection on library premises, and open circulation was permitted for a period during the 1870s and the early 1880s. Until the last decade of the century, the State Library served as the state’s only tax-supported library. In response to a growing demand for more systematic support of the public library movement, the General Assembly of 1909 established the North Carolina Library Commission. Formed for the primary purpose of promoting the development of free public libraries on the local level, the commission’s responsibilities included the following: assisting in the establishment of new libraries, including public school libraries; supplementing local collections; distributing library literature; and providing advice to trustees and libraries on library services. In 1955 the legislature combined the State Library and the North Carolina Library Commission into one agency called the State Library. Records include: departmental files; associations and organizations files; budget records; legislative files; correspondence; audit reports; state and federal agencies files; subject files; statistical reports; minutes; general history files; and other materials.
  • America’s 400th Anniversary Commission, 1967-1987, n.d. – Between 1984 and 1987 North Carolina commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages. Through a joint resolution, the General Assembly of 1955 laid the foundation for a three-year celebration of the historical events. A body known as America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Commission was established to initiate plans toward a commemoration on the scale of a national or world’s fair exposition, or as deemed appropriate. In 1973 the legislature repealed the resolution creating the anniversary commission and established America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee in its place. Charged with advising the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in planning and implementing the commemorations, the anniversary committee consisted of four ex officio members and ten gubernatorial appointees who served staggered terms. Records include: exhibit/festival correspondence; celebrations file; archeological files; newspaper clippings; events files; general correspondence; minutes; and other materials.

Public Records Law Webinar

Our Government Records staff does so many good things, including taking part in a recent Public Records webinar.  Via Tom Vincent:

While thousands of people descended on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus to see President Obama’s address, over 900 Local Government Officials and Employees logged in to view a webinar on Records Retention. The webinar was presented by the UNC School of Government. Kelly Eubank, Electronic Records Branch Manager and Tom Vincent, Local Records Unit Supervisor, assisted Frayda Bluestein and Shannon Tufts of the SOG in presenting on records retention, records retention and disposition schedules and the challenges accessing and retaining electronic records.

More information about the webinar series is available through the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government website.

Mobile Shelving Space Comes On-line

Earlier this week I mentioned that we were in the process of moving records within the building in order to make more materials available on Saturdays. Here’s some information about that process from Becky McGee-Lankford of our Government Records group:

Since February 20, 2012, Archives and Records Section staff have been involved in an extensive relocation of approximately 10,000 cubic feet of archival records from our various storage facilities into a recently equipped mobile shelving storage space in the basement of the Archives Building. This now provides patrons access to more records for research on Saturday including Governor’s Records from Aycock – Holshouser, Superior Court, and General Assembly Records (1901-1991). Other state agency records now available for research include Dept. of Justice, Emergency Relief Administration, Dept. of Public Instruction, Utilities Commission, as well as various State Agency Boards and Commissions. In addition, we also moved account books.

In addition, to moving records into the new storage space we have also shifted 2,000 cubic feet of records within the Archives stacks allowing for additional records to be incorporated into the local records collections.

This project has progressed smoothly with a substantial quantity of fragile records being moved in a short period of time by dedicated staff. As always, staff is dedicated to the accessibility and preservation of North Carolina records.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to focus on a small group of records that were involved in this move and tell you a bit about them. Most of the description for these collections can be found in our online catalog, MARS. As I’ve mentioned previously, however, it will likely take us a while to change the location codes in MARS and our other finding aids, so we ask you to be patient with us. The whole list (PDF) of materials that are newly available on Saturdays is available via our website.

Here is our first set of records:

General Assembly Records (1901-1992) – These are the records of the state legislature and can include anything from session records, Legislative Services Division records, and Clerk’s Office materials, among other types of records.

Governor’s Records (Aycock – Holshouser) 1901-1976 – The records of the Governor’s Office can include general correspondence; subject files; the records commissions and other groups; press releases; invitations; and other records.

Supreme Court Records (1800-1939) – These records can include case files, clerks’ dockets, general correspondence, minute books, judgement dockets, and other materials.