Tag Archives: State Agency Records

New Digital Collection: Secretary of State Wills

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the creation of the new digital collection, North Carolina Secretary of State Wills. The digital collection contains wills from 1663 to 1789. These are loose original wills probated in the province. After 1760 most original wills were kept by the clerk in the county in which they were


Isabella Brand’s will

probated, though there are some wills after 1760 in the collection.

These wills are indexed in the Mitchell Will Index categorized with “SS/AR”, which can be accessed in the MARS catalog. The original wills are no longer accessible to the public for conservation concerns. Due to the age of some of the wills, the ink may be difficult to read. The wills are arranged alphabetically by surname of decedent.

Some of the more famous North Carolinians from the time period are included in the collection, such as Lord Proprietors Thomas Harvey and Henderson Walker; the Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs; and the first Governor of the State of North Carolina, Richard Caswell. The collection also includes the earliest known will in the state, for Mary Fortsen from 1665, who signed it herself.

Screenshot of the new functional schedule web page

New Functional Schedule for State Agencies

Visit our records management blog to learn more about the new way that the state agency records schedule is being created and organized.

The G.S. 132 Files

The State Archives of North Carolina is happy to announce the culmination of an innovative years-long project.  As of December 2017, state agency officials have just one 16-part retention and disposition schedule to assist them in the management of their public records: the Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies. This revamped schedule will supersede both the General Schedule for State Agency Records and the program-specific schedules that state agencies have relied on until now.

In 2015, the Records Analysis Unit of the Government Records Section at the State Archives of North Carolina (SANC) began a project to revamp the retention and disposition schedules for state agencies in North Carolina.  Our overarching goals of the project were to simplify records retention, make the assignment of records dispositions more transparent, and ensure the retention of records with permanent value, either within the creating agency or at the State Archives, which…

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Night of the Living Bit Rot and Other October News

It’s Halloween, which means it’s a good time to remind you to prepare for the Bit Rot Apocalypse.

This short film was created by State Archives staff as part of Electronic Records Day, along with several blog posts. They are among the many new items available online this October, including:

Several recent posts from our records management blog may be of interest to History For All the People readers:

In other October news, last week the State Library of North Carolina announced that NCpedia is getting a new look. They invite members of the public to help test the redesigned website and give their feedback.

New Films Available on DigitalNC

In April, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center announced that they were looking for audio visual materials to digitize. The project was similar to the one they completed in 2015, which enabled the digitization of and online access to films by H. Lee Waters, Beveridge and Associates, and others AV items held by the State Archives of North Carolina. This year we took part in their project again in order to digitize items from the Robert W. Scott II Papers (PC.1317) and films created by the Wildlife Resources Commission.



The digitized films are now online through the Internet Archive and the DigitalNC website as part of the North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection. Currently 48 films from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina are available through DigitalNC. They cover a wide range of subjects including the 1968 election, fishing, water quality, state historical events, tobacco, and everyday life in 1930s-1940s North Carolina.



We  appreciate the opportunities such digitization projects offer and look forward to partnering with the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center in the future.

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of August our theme is school.


Call number: State Board of Education Records. Swamp Lands Records. Field Notebooks, Vols. 1-17. Box 4. Transit Book 101, 1885.

August in North Carolina is always hot and humid, and no matter where you are in the state, it often feels like you’re living in a swamp. There are, of course, large tracts of swamplands in the Coastal Plain of N.C., and much of that land has been preserved and protected by state and national agencies. However, in the nineteenth century, the state of North Carolina gave power to the Literary Fund, and later, the State Board of Education, to survey and sell state-owned swamplands “capable of being reclaimed” to raise funds for public education. This week’s treasure is the surveyors’ Transit Book of part of the Angola Bay area in North Carolina, compiled by W. G. Lewis, Chief Engineer, Board of Education for Swamp Lands, and Henry A. Brown, Superintendent Engineer, in 1885.

“This Road was run from Deep Bottom Bridge over North East River, in Duplin County, skirting the Eastern Boundary of Angola Bay. Via: Maple Hill – & between Angola Bay & Holly Shelter Swamp – & on via: Bannermans Bridge over North East River to Centre of the track of the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road just 10.00 chains to the North of the warehouse at Burgaw – County Seat of Pender County.”

The surveyors’ diagrams include not only the elevations and distances of road segments, but also bridges, nearby rivers and creeks, intersecting roads, buildings, property owners, and the character of the land and vegetation along the road.

This notebook and other material from the State Board of Education Swamp Lands Records can be viewed online as part of the STEM Digital Collection at NCDC. If your summer plans bring you to Raleigh before school starts again, we also encourage you to visit us at the State Archives to view the records in person. Or, schedule a visit to the Archives with your school group to get some hands-on experience with historical primary source documents.

For additional information on the history of the State Board of Education and swamplands in North Carolina, check out these NCpedia articles on Swamps, Pocosins, the North Carolina State Board of Education, and the North Carolina Literary Fund.

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of June our theme is vacations!

 It’s summertime in North Carolina, and that means vacation time! All North Carolinians know that our state has hundreds of amazing vacation destinations. From the mountains to the sea, for a long weekend or a whole month, N.C. has much to offer travelers with every kind of interest. Of course, at the State Archives, we are especially interested in the history of North Carolina, and there are dozens of historical sites, museums, archives, events, and parks around the state that cater to inquisitive minds. Our Treasure this week features the Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee, N.C., where the outdoor drama Unto these Hills has been performed for over 60 years.


Mountainside Theatre for “Unto These Hills,” Cherokee, N.C., ca. 1950s. Department of Conservation and Development Records, Division of Travel Information, Photograph File. MARS 44.47

Sponsored by the Cherokee Historical Association, and first performed in the summer of 1950, Unto These Hills recounts the history of the Cherokee people from their origins, through European colonization, the Revolutionary War, the Trail of Tears, and into the present day. The photographs featured here were created by the North Carolina Travel Information Division in the 1950s. They shows four views of the historic Mountainside Theatre where Unto These Hills is still performed every summer. The theatre is located on the Cherokee Reservation in western N.C. Additional pictures of this outdoor drama and the Reservation can be found at the Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos collection at NCDC. Additional information about Unto These Hills, and other historical outdoor dramas in North Carolina, can be found at this NCpedia page.

To Preserve the Blessings of Liberty: State Constitutions of North Carolina

[This blog post comes from Sarah Koonts, Director of Archives and Records for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

“A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty”

N.C. Constitution art. 1, sec. 35

Once separated from the rule of England, North Carolina—like other former colonies—found itself with no governmental structure. Before the end of 1776, the state had a constitution very different from today’s document. For example, the General Assembly—and not citizens—selected the governor for a one-year term. Only free men of at least twenty-one years of age could vote.  Only landowners could hold political office. The social structure of eighteenth-century America informed those men who drafted the constitution and North Carolina’s Declaration of Rights.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

North Carolina continued to amend the constitution and eventually adopted entirely new constitutions in 1868 and 1971. The rights and protections of some of the state’s citizens were broadened while other rights remained restricted or hampered.  Over the years the structure of state government changed, increasing the power of the governor, providing for direct elections for many executive offices, reorganizing government departments and agencies, and eliminating restrictions to rights.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Throughout 2016 the State Archives is partnering with museums and historic sites to display historic constitutional materials around the state.  Called “To Preserve the Blessings of Liberty:  State Constitutions of North Carolina,” exhibit locations and times may be found on the State Archives’ Facebook page. The public is invited to view these documents while they are on display. The inaugural exhibit will take place at the opening of the 2016 General Assembly session.  It will feature North Carolina’s early constitutions, the original Declaration of Rights, and amendments to the state and U.S. Constitution that affected citizen voting rights.  The exhibit will be located on the main floor of the General Assembly building (16 West Jones Street in Raleigh) from 2 p.m. on April 25 through April 26 at 3 p.m.  All of the State Archives’ constitution materials housed in the vault collection are available for viewing any time in the North Carolina Digital Collections.