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Three More Years of Wilson County Genealogical Society News Available

A group of adults standing in a line

The 2022 WCGS Officers

Get excited, North Carolina genealogists—three more years of Wilson County Genealogical Society newsletters are now available on our site! These issues, ranging from 2020 to 2022, offer stories of family lineages and local histories along with WCGS news.

One article from the February 2022 newsletter helpfully explains the differences between older kinds of photographs: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. The authors, James and Margaret Bailey, explain the physical processes for developing each type, which include exposing some kind of metal or glass to light and then treating it with chemicals. One notable quality about these kinds of photographs is that they represent a mirror image of reality. The article includes this example of a person wearing a ring; in the original daguerreotypes, it looks like she is wearing in on her right hand, but in the digitally-flipped image, it’s clear that she is wearing it on her left hand (possibly indicating that she is married). 

A comparison of a photograph and its mirror image. In the photo is a Black adult in a white dress standing and looking at the camera.

For more interesting tidbits, you can see the full batch of newsletters here. You can also see all materials from the WCGS (including older newsletters) here. To learn more about WCGS, visit their partner page or their website.


Boy Scout Memories Saved in Scrapbook from Wilson County

A scout making a fire in 1925 as seen on page 17

Boy Scout troop on page 78

A scrapbook provided by the Wilson County Public Library documents the adventures of Boy Scouts in Wilson County from 1925-1932. This scrapbook contains images of swimming, hiking, tent life, boating, troop portraits, and more. Many images contain handwritten identifications noting the date, activity, location, or individuals in the images.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, so this scrapbook documents early BSA groups in Wilson County. Boys of all ages seem to have taken part, with many activities looking similar to Scouting that takes place today. One image from 1929 shows boys swimming using the “buddy system” where each camper is in charge of monitoring the swimming of their buddy. This system is a safety protocol still advocated by the Boy Scouts today.

To take a look at the scrapbook click here. To see more materials from Wilson County Public Library visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

Scouts swimming using the “buddy system” in 1929 as seen on page 76


World War I Records Now Available from Wilson County Public Library

The United Daughters of the Confederacy World War Records of Lineal Descendants of Confederate Veterans, Record 1

The United Daughters of the Confederacy World War Records of Lineal Descendants of Confederate Veterans, Record 1

Thanks to the Wilson County Public Library, nearly 70 World War I lineage records are now online.

Compiled by the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s North Carolina Chapter, these war records document information about men from Wilson County who served during the first World War. The records include the name, rank, and address of the soldier, as well as when and where they enlisted, the camps where they were trained, and when the soldier was discharged. In addition, it also includes the father’s name and address, mother’s maiden name, and the names and ranks of Confederate ancestors. Although most of the items are hand written, the names, camps, and dates have been included in the metadata and are searchable.

All of the records are in great condition and the handwriting is legible. These documents could be extremely helpful for genealogists and researchers interested in both World War I and Civil War information.

To learn more about the Wilson County Public Library, please visit the contributor page or the website. You can access more war records from Wilson County within the exhibit Wilson County’s Greatest Generation: The Memories of the World War II Veterans of Wilson County, N.C.


New Addition to “Wilson County’s Greatest Generation” Exhibit

wilsonww2_scrapbook0052

Wilson County World War II Scrapbook, Page 52

The newest addition to the Wilson County’s Greatest Generation: The Memories of the World War II Veterans of Wilson County, N.C. digital exhibit is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

The scrapbook is a collection of newspaper clippings from various local newspapers and features citizens from Martin County and the surrounding towns, including Jamesville, Williamson, and Washington. The clippings include marriage announcements, injury and death announcements, new appointments, and overall movements of battles and the war.

Researchers might be interested in the way that smaller, local communities used the press to raise support around members of the community serving and the war effort overall. It is also a great source of genealogical information.

Check out all of the materials from Wilson County Public Library by visiting their contributor page and learn more about them by visiting their website.


More Wilson County Slides now Online

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A new batch of slides from the Wilson County Public Library has now been added to DigitalNC. This set mostly shows the county’s agriculture and businesses, with an emphasis on manufacturing between the years of 1974 and 1986.

tobacco           cow

The images show a number of aspects of life in Wilson County during this time. A number of members of the community are shown working, shopping, and banking. Buildings around the county, including banks, shops and tobacco processing plants can be found, as well as the county’s agricultural pursuits.

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You can see all materials from the Wilson County Public Library on DigitalNC here.


Additional Wilson County Yearbooks Available Online

An image from the 1961 "Bear Trap" featuring the "most talented" studentsThe Wilson County Public Library has contributed 16 more yearbooks from its local history collections to be digitized. The yearbooks range in date from 1948 to 1963 and represent several different schools, including:

The photo above comes from the 1961 issue of the Bear Trap, from Elm City High School. You can also view all of the yearbooks contributed by Wilson County Public Library.


Wilson County High School Yearbooks Now Available Online

Early high school yearbooks from Wilson County are now available on DigitalNC. The Wilson County Public Library contributed 35 yearbooks from its local history collections to be digitized. The yearbooks range in date from 1927 to 1963 and represent several different schools, including:



Trees of Wilson 1992 to 2017 Newsletters Now Available

Trees of Wilson January 2017 header. Volume 26, Number 1.

Scenes from "A Visit to Hart's Square" Trees of Wilson, November 1999. Above the words is a picture of three adults sitting. One is holding a banjo, a second a guitar. The third has no instrument.

Scenes from A Visit to Hart’s Square, November 1999.

Thanks to our new partner, Wilson County Genealogical Society (WCGS), a batch containing issues from 1992 to 2017 of the WCGS newsletter, Trees of Wilson, is now available on our website.

The primary mission of the WCGS is to preserve the records, heritage, history, and genealogy of the families who settled in Wilson while also promoting genealogy through education and fostering collaboration in research. These newsletters from 1992 to 2017 include information on society officers and events, meetings, member research reports, research tips, and more.

One notable article was published in the March 2016 newsletter titled: “Black Wide-Awake: The Roots of Wilson’s African-American Community.” The article recounts a presentation given by Lisa Y. Henderson—a Wilson County native, WCGS member, researcher, and writer. In her lecture, she talks about the local history and heritage of Wilson County’s early African American community, including information on the earliest recorded account of African Americans in Wilson County. In addition, Henderson discusses the difficulties of researching African American family history, early communities, and provides links to places where she has gathered her information so that others may also use the resources.  Her blog was highlighted here last year as a great example of how DigitalNC is used on the web.  

To learn more about the Wilson County Genealogical Society, please visit their website.

To view more materials from Wilson County, please click here.


DigitalNC on the web: Black Wide-Awake

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  We thought since they have done such a great job highlighting us, it’d only be fair to turn around and highlight a few we’ve found recently.

Today’s featured website is “Black Wide-Awake” which highlights “documents of historical and genealogical interest to researchers of Wilson County, North Carolina’s African American past.”

The site, written by Lisa Henderson and with posts dating back to 2015, utilizes a wide variety of digitized historical resources to document everything from African-American schools in the Wilson area, wills, correspondence, and newspaper articles related to the enslaved people in Wilson County, to official records including marriage, birth, and death records from the Black community.

Some of the DigitalNC resources that are featured on Black Wide-Awake include many of the photographs and other materials from the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House Museum’s collection.

Shoe shine kit

Shoe shine kit from the Oliver Nestus Freeman collection, featured in this post on Black Wide Awake.

Wilson City Directories

black and white photograph of two adults picking cotton in a field

Photograph from the 1947-1948 Wilson City Directory, featured in this post on Black Wide Awake.

Yearbooks from Darden High School, made possible by our partner Wilson County Public Library

senior page from a yearbook

Senior page from the 1948 Charles H. Darden High School yearbook, the first yearbook from the school, featured in this post on the website.

Many newspaper article clippings from DigitalNC are also included.  A post discussing the white supremacist views held and pushed by editor of the Wilson Advance, Josephus Daniels, is a recent post that connects directly to the current commentary going on regarding Black Lives Matter and reassessing how we look at our history. 

blog text and newspaper clipping

Post on Black Wide Awake pointing out the racist statements the editor and publisher of the Wilson Advance, Josephus Daniels, made regularly in a call to take down any statue or other dedication marker to him in North Carolina.

The work done on this website is a fascinating look into how resources on DigitalNC can really help illuminate a North Carolina community’s past.  Thanks for using us Ms. Henderson!  We encourage anyone with an interest in genealogy and local history, particularly for the Black community in North Carolina, to visit the site.  

If you have a particular project or know of one that has utilized materials from DigitalNC, we’d love to hear about it!  Contact us via email or in the comments below and we’ll check out.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here


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This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.

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