Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finding Your Ancestors in the NC Archives – Part III

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, I attended the one-day workshop / lecture series entitled, Finding Your Ancestors in the NC Archives. The Friends of the Archives sponsored the workshop. As mentioned in the previous two posts in this series, it had been some time since The Friends had sponsored a workshop.

After the wonderful lecture entitled Tar Heels in the Family Tree? A Genealogical Introduction to North Carolina Records, we broke for lunch. As many opted for the box lunch, which could be purchased during the registration process, it provided an opportunity for attendees to mingle and discuss their research with fellow researchers.

Lunch passed quickly and it was soon time for the third presentation, Get Excited about Your Pre-1870 N.C. African American Research: the N.C. Archives Can Put Great Resources at Your Fingertips!, given by Diane Richard. Diane is the owner and operator of Mosaic Research and Project Management. As indicated in her handout and on her website, Mosiac specializes in Genealogy, Family History and History projects that make extensive use of on-the-ground research, web resources, and more. Although she herself is not African American, Diane has a special interest in African American research and has done work in this area in 70 of the 100 NC counties.

Diane began by reminding us to do our homework before arriving at the Archives. In doing the preliminary work, don’t forget to look at the community in which your ancestors lived.

That out of the way, Diane then took us, virtually, through the various floors and sections of The Archives and discussed materials and records that were available. As Diane provided a lot of information, I will only highlight a few of the materials and records she discussed.

North Carolina Marriage Registers and Licenses are often a gold mine of genealogical information and typically include the names of the parents, if known, and whether they are still living, etc. Diane pointed out that if you have ancestors that were from border counties, be sure to look in the neighboring state for marriage records even if other family members were married in North Carolina.

Slaves were often sold instead of bequeathed. These transactions, if recorded, would be found in the Bills of Sale. Bills of Sale can be found in the Deed Indexes. Sometimes Bills of Sale are in the “Loose Collection” of the county records. 

American Slavery Petition, which can be found on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro website, is a database of slavery petitions. Petitions represent disagreements that developed over the division of slaves. Once a North Carolina petition is located in the database, it can be viewed at the North Carolina Archives.

In wrapping up her segment, Diane pointed out that we should not let record categories stop us as many records can be located under categories that we may want to dismiss.

This concludes my series on the workshop, Finding your Ancestors in the NC Archives. For those with North Carolina roots, I hope that it was beneficial.

By the way, now that I’ve attended the workshop, I’m trying to plan a trip to the NC Archives to get some on the ground research done.

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