Tag Archives: MARS

Facets

The latest installment of learning how to use the new Discover Online Catalog (DOC) at the State Archives is all about facets. Selecting a facet or multiple facets at the beginning of your search can help you to narrow down your search in the catalog. Facets are used to identify types or groups of information and a great way to start and continue your search of the State Archives records. Facets include, but are not limited to:

  • Repository
  • Creator Type
  • Collection
  • Record Begin & End Dates

For example, under Repository you can refine your search by selecting the location where the record resides – for instance, if you know the record you are looking for is at Western Regional Archives, you may click on its link.

If you are searching for records produced within a certain date range, you can select those dates under the Record Begin Date and Record End Date facets.

Please let any of our reference archivists know if you have questions. As always, stay tuned for more information about using the DOC at the State Archives of North Carolina!

New Online Catalog Launches July 2019

screenshot of a search in the new online catalog for 'Wake County'

Screenshot of a search for “Wake County” in the Discover Online Catalog (DOC).

The online catalog MARS has had a lot of different looks since it was created in 1985. But whether it was online or only available on terminals in the Archives and Library building, the catalog’s functionality has remained pretty much unchanged since that initial launch. It’s been an invaluable tool for both staff and the public but doesn’t provide a lot of functionality that most people expect from an online tool in 2019.

That’s why we will be replacing MARS with something new in July 2019. The new system, which we’re calling the Discover Online Catalog or DOC, will give researchers a lot of searching options, while also being faster and more user-friendly than MARS. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide a series of short blog posts from Archives staff giving you a preview of the new system. After DOC is launched, we’ll start creating online tutorials, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a guide to help you learn more about how this new tool can help you find what you need in our collections.

Stay tuned!

Call Numbers for County Records at the State Archives

Carie Chesarino of the Records Description Unit (part of the Government Records Section) has written a post on our records management blog about how to search for county records by their call numbers in our online catalog, MARS.

The G.S. 132 Files

The County Records collection of the State Archives of North Carolina includes wills and estate files, tax scrolls, Superior Court judgment and minute dockets, and many more record series. In a previous blog post, I described one way to do a catalog search for archived county records. This post explains how to perform a call number search.

Begin at the State Archives’ public access catalog, MARS. If you have visited our catalog before, the page may default to the sort of search you last performed (Basic Search, Advanced Search, or Search by Call Number). Try selecting “Search by Call Number” in the blue box to the right of the screen:

select search by call number
For this example, select “Call Numbers starting” in the drop down box after “Search For:”

Call numbers starting

To retrieve search results for all the Alamance County records cataloged at the State Archives, enter CR.001. like in the image below and click “Search” :

Alamance Call Number search

Here are some…

View original post 141 more words

It is time to celebrate!

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

In the mid-1980s the State Archives of North Carolina started work on preserving, microfilming and indexing the North Carolina Land Grants. I have not been part of this project since the beginning, but for the past 6 years one of my jobs has been to index the microfilmed North Carolina Land Grants into our MARS database, I have now indexed 133 reels of microfilm which is 25,899 land grants and I am very happy to say that the project is now complete.

To give an idea as to the scope of this project there are over 200 fiberdex boxes consisting of 216,024 land grants which in turn became 611 reels of microfilm. North Carolina Land Grants span the years 1679-1959 and are arranged by county including the Tennessee Counties that used to be part of North Carolina. Prior to the indexing of these land grants, which consist of a warrant, plat and often a receipt, they would have to be taken out of their envelope “shuck,” flattened ,deacidified, and repaired in the conservation lab. From there they would be microfilmed and then finally indexing could take place. The indexing of the land grants required the ability to read the microfilm of old and at times almost illegible script. The information captured in this indexing was information found on the envelope “shuck” which includes the county name, name of the grantee, number of acres, grant number, date issued, warrant number, entry number, date entered, book number, page number, location, and remarks. The location field often required researching the names of the counties’, cities, creeks, rivers, branches, and other geographical locations. This process could be time consuming because not only might the handwriting be hard to read but in many cases the spelling would be wrong or the names of geographic features would have changed over the years as well. There were also times that the names of the people listed on the shuck would be spelled different ways within the documents and shuck. In those cases I would try to determine, as much as possible, the correct name. But indexing also had its upside, including finding many interesting or humorous names, such as Ice Snow or the all-time favorite among staff working on the land grant project, Bold Robin Hood.

Although the process was long and tedious, this project will now enable researchers to view the North Carolina land grant “shuck” information online. Land grants can provide valuable information for many different researchers. Recently I learned that land grants were used to help reestablish the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Genealogists may also find information in land grants useful in their family research. Just remember that the information found in our MARS online catalog is the information found on the envelope, the “shuck,” at the time of the filming. If a researcher wants more information on the contents of the shuck they will need to visit our search room to view the microfilm, because the original land grants have been withdrawn from use as a preservation measure.

Now that this project has been completed I am on to a new project. Keep an eye out for news about a new addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

News and Notes

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my catch-all blog posts to update you on everything going on in the digital side of  109 E. Jones Street.

North Carolina Digital Collection:

MARS:

Website and Blogs:

Armchair Historians – An Archives Week Recap

On Saturday Archives Week kicked off with Triangle Home Movie Day. As always, the event was well attended and a very enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the home movies brought in by their fellow participants. You can sample some of the feel of Home Movie Day celebrations across the world, including our own, by looking at the Twitter hash tag #HMD2012.

Yesterday I gave a talk as part of our celebration of North Carolina Archives Week. The talk, titled “Armchair Historians: Tools You Can Use At Home or On The Go,” covered some of our online resources including our online catalog MARS, the North Carolina Digital Collections, our social media, and some news about new projects and tools on the horizon. If you missed it but would like to read through the slides and presenters notes, a PDF version is available online.

We also had an exhibit in the Search Room yesterday – “Civil War to Civil Rights in North Carolina,” a display of documents and photographs relating to the Archives Week theme, “Journeys to Justice: Civil Rights in North Carolina.” Look for a blog post recap of that event later this week.

It’s not too late to participate in Archives Week because we still have one more event planned: on Thursday, Oct. 25 we will host a workshop on “Digitizing and Remote Sharing of Family Materials.”

The Map Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina

[This blog post comes from James Sorrell, head of the Special Collections Branch.]

In a memorandum dated October 14, 1976 to Paul P. Hoffman, head of what was at that time the Archives Branch of the Archives and Records Section, the late George Stevenson, Jr., outlined his suggestions for changes to the system of cataloging, classifying, and numbering the maps in the Archives map collection.  Now, nearly thirty-six years later, I am delighted to announce that Stevenson’s dream of corralling a collection of maps nearly out of intellectual control and imposing on it a reasonable and consistent system for classification and cataloging has finally be realized – although in ways he could not have envisioned in 1976.

From the earliest days of the agency, the State Archives of North Carolina had endeavored to create an extensive reference collection consisting of original and printed maps of North Carolina as well as photocopies of appropriate maps in other repositories.  By the time of Stevenson’s 1976 memo, the Archives had one of the best collections of North Carolina maps in the nation.

At that time, the map collection consisted of 327 smaller collections with town plans, for example, being found in twenty-three different collections. The Archives had employed various standards for cataloging maps in the past, but no standard had ever been established in regard to the information that was reported or the manner in which it was reported on the catalog cards that were prepared for each new addition to the map collection.  Stevenson proposed that the Archives adopt the Anglo-American Rules for cataloging maps and that a set of three catalog cards be prepared for each map. One card would be filed under classification (town, county, etc.) and one by mapmaker in the Search Room catalog and the third in an office catalog to serve as an intellectual control device.  Stevenson felt that the existing system of classification as reflected by the Search Room card catalog was a reasonable one. In this catalog the map cards were arranged in an expandable system of classifications (colony and state, counties, towns, watercourses, etc.).  As it related to the maps themselves, however, the cumbersome numbering system thwarted the logic of the classification scheme.  To remedy this, Stevenson created a simple expandable numerical system which would make the classification scheme as expandable for the maps themselves as it was for the cards in the card catalog.  County maps, for example, would be assigned the same numbers as the county records in the stacks (i.e. Wake County records in the stacks are 099; Wake County maps would be assigned the prefix M.C.99).  The second part of the call number would distinguish each map by date and the initial of the mapmaker.  For example, the 1871 Fendol Beavers map of Wake County would be given the call number MC.99.1871b.

The same system would be followed for other map classifications.  Colony and state maps would be M.C.150; maps of the Appalachian region would be M.C.160; military maps and plans of battle would be M.C.175, etc.  Certain classifications, such as watercourses, cities and towns, and road and railroad surveys would be slightly more complicated since they would require the name of the watercourse or city to be converted to a numeral (i.e., cuttered) using the Sanborn-Cutter three-figure tables.  Maps of the city of Charlotte would be assigned numbers beginning with MC.195.C479 followed by the date and the initial or initials of the mapmaker.  The 1877 F. W. Beers map of Charlotte would, therefore, be numbered as MC.195.C479.1877b.

Stevenson’s proposals were approved by Paul Hoffman; and Stevenson began work on cataloging and numbering of the maps already in the map collection as well as an enormous backlog of unprocessed maps, but the press of his myriad other duties as Search Room supervisor prevented him from making significant progress.  From 1985 to 1987, Druscilla Simpson, now head of the Information Management Branch, was assigned to work full-time on the map collection.  This was the first and only time a staff member was given responsibility only for the map collection, and significant progress was made. Still later, work on the map collection was assigned to and became one of the many duties of a series of special projects archivists. By this time, our MARS electronic finding aid system had been developed and map call number and descriptive information began to be entered into it.  Although main entry cards continued to be created and added to the Search Room card catalog, the development of MARS eliminated the need for the three card system Stevenson had devised for intellectual control.  In the late 1990s, I was assigned responsibility for the map collection in addition to my other duties as archives registrar; and I brought my work with the map collection with me when I was appointed head of the Special Collections Branch in July 2005.  In 2007, the State Archives partnered with the UNC-Chapel Hill library and the Outer Banks History Center on North Carolina Maps, a three year grant funded project to digitize and post online all maps from the three institutions published prior to 1923.  The project came to a successful conclusion in June 2010 and won the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.

Galvanized by the North Carolina Maps grant project, efforts were renewed to finally complete the renumbering and re-cataloging of both the remaining maps in the Archives map collection bearing the old M.C. call numbers and the backlog of maps that had never been accessioned, classified, cataloged, and numbered.  This work was finished in the spring of 2012; and for the first time all maps in the possession of the State Archives of North Carolina have been cataloged and numbered using the system first proposed by George Stevenson, Jr., in 1976.  In addition, all maps in the collection have been described and indexed in MARS, digitized, and most have been posted online on the North Carolina Maps website.