Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

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

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Viewing entries tagged "genealogy"

Photographs, Ephemera, and Dortch Family Bible From Wayne County Now Online

DigitalNC is happy to announce that a new batch of 100+ photographs and ephemera from Wayne County plus selections of William T. Dortch’s personal bible are all available to view online. We would like to thank our partners at Wayne County Public Library for making this possible.

Two of the digitized photos are large photographs from around the time of World War I, depicting soldiers in Fort Bragg, N.C. and La Bazoge, France. The other photographs and ephemera in the collection speak to everyday life in mid to late 20th century Wayne County. Much of the material comes from Goldsboro High School, such as photos of cheerleaders and a resolution from the City of Goldsboro congratulating the Cougarettes on winning the state 4-A Girls’ Tennis Championship. Other photos include youth sports teams and many school portraits from New Hope School.

The portions of the personal bible of William T. Dortch contain primary information on the Dortch family tree. The fastidious documentation of marriages, births, and deaths stretches from the 18th century all the way to the turn of the 21st century.

To view all digital content from Wayne County Public Library, click here. And to learn more about the Wayne County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or website.

Luther Byrd Genealogical Collections from Surry Community College Now Online at DigitalNC

An excerpt of the John Hunter Family Record, who came to the US from Ireland around 1750.

Over 120 genealogical collections from Surry County have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Surry Community College. Created and assembled by Luther Byrd, former Elon College professor from Westfield, North Carolina, these collections represent a huge variety of information about different families and their descendants living in Surry County. Many of the collections include documents, papers, newspaper clippings, and personal letters to and from Byrd about the family members.

The coat of arms for the Thrower family, included in the Arrington collection.

Also included are various family records and family tree diagrams, complete with indexes to determine where a given family member is located in the tree. One such example is the Hunter Family Record excerpted above. Looking through these collections, it is fascinating to see the staggering amount of documents and material that these families created and saved throughout the years, as well as the amount of work that Byrd put in to ensure that these collections are all relevant and well-maintained.

These collections represent a growing wealth of information about the history of Surry County. To browse through other materials from Surry Community College, visit their partner page or check out their website.

Substantial and Varied Collection from Rockingham County Now Online

The latest materials digitized from Rockingham County Public Library are online now, and oh are they wide-ranging. Included in this batch are church bulletins, postcards, audio recordings, local histories, genealogical records, and even an intricate cross stitch of Rockingham County’s not-quite-neighbor, Person County.

Many of these items recount the history of the towns of Leaksville, Draper, and Spray before the three were consolidated into a single town, Eden N.C., in 1967. One of these is the book Leaksville-Spray, North Carolina: A Sketch of its Interests and Industries, which is one of only two copies known to exist today. It gives extensive details about textile and other manufacturing industries in the area during the early twentieth century.

Morehead Cotton Mills Co.

Leaksville’s Morehead Mills was founded by future governor John Motley Morehead, also known as “the Father of Modern North Carolina.”

Other materials included in this batch were created well after Leaksville, Draper, and Spray were incorporated as Eden. The song “The Ballad of Leaksville, Spray, and Draper,” written by Leaksville native John Marshall Carter, laments the merger of the three cities with its chorus of, “I can’t believe that they’ve done this to me, I can’t conceive that they’ve killed history.” This song along with “Olden Days” were digitized from an original 45 rpm record.

Header for the Farmer's Advocate Newsletter

“Published Sporadically But Enthusiastically” reads the tagline on the first edition of the Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter.

Also digitized were 70 editions of The Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter from the Historic Jamestown Society — a group dedicated to the preservation of the stories and structures of Jamestown N.C. — spanning from 1975 to 2018.

Rockingham-area genealogists may find some gems in the records of family reunions, vital statistics, church publications, or cemetery survey included in this batch.

All of the items from the most recent batch can be accessed here. To learn more about the Rockingham County Public Library, visit their partner page on DigitalNC or their website.

DigitalNC on the Web: Genealogy blogs

Genealogists are probably our biggest users here at DigitalNC and we love the blog we’re highlighting today because it gives us some great insight into some of the finds one particular genealogist is making using DigitalNC.  Taneya Koonce is a fellow information science professional and also an avid genealogist.  On her personal blog, Taneya’s Genealogy Blog, she chronicles her work to trace her family’s history and the resources she uses to do so.  

Clipping from a genealogy blog about the connection of her family to Sylva, NC

A really great example of the way Ms. Koonce has used DigitalNC for her research is her post titled “And Now I Know Why” which shows how she traced why her great grandfather’s brother died in Sylva, NC, a place the family had not had any obvious connections to, which involved looking at yearbooks from Winston-Salem State University and their student newspaper, both of which can by found on Winston-Salem State University’s partner page.  

To see more posts about Ms. Koonce’s use of DigitalNC in her family history research, view all the posts tagged DigitalNC here.

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 read about other places on the web that feature content from DigitalNC, check out past blog posts here.  


A New Partner Means New Materials from Robersonville and Martin County

We are excited to welcome new partner Robersonville Public Library to DigitalNC.  With this addition, we are adding Robersonville and Martin County generally to our coverage map.  Our first batch from Robersonville includes several yearbooks from Robersonville High School, as well as Abstracts of Deed Books, Robersonville Cemetery Records, and books on the history of Martin County. 

Robersonville High School with students out front

Robersonville High School from the 1957 yearbook

The high school yearbooks cover 1954 through 1967 for Robersonville High School and give a great glimpse into what life was like for students in Martin County at the time.  Alumni who have moved out of the area will be particularly interested in these materials.  

The two books on the history of Martin County compiled by Martin County residents Francis M. Manning and W. H. Booker based on historical documents and oral histories. Martin County History Volume I chronicles more than two centuries of the county’s past, beginning with the arrival of colonists in the area that was previously only inhabited by native peoples. Martin County History Volume I explores notable events, individuals, and even inventions through 1976.

Martin County History Vol I page 252

Some of the inventions discussed in Martin County History Volume I include octagon soap, and a filleting machine.

Religion and Education in Martin County 1774-1974, also authored by these two local historians, includes information about Martin County churches, their congregants, their leadership, and even details regarding a nineteenth-century missionary movement within the county. Part two of the book details the development of the county’s school system, including photographs and details of public and private schools alike.

Williamston Academy Building 1914

Students stretch outside of the Willamston Academy in Martin County in an image from Religion and Education in Martin County 1774-1974.

Martin County genealogists may be especially interested in these new materials. Included in this collection are Abstracts of Deeds from 1774 to 1801, Will Books from 1774-1868, and two collections of cemetery records for Robersonville area cemeteries. These cemetery records including the new and old cemetery sections for the Robersonville Cemetery, the Grimes Cemetery, the First Christian Church Cemetery, and the Roberson Cemetery. These binders provide grave locations for many deceased residents as well as veterans status, dates of birth and death, and the names of plot purchasers for all included cemeteries.

Robersonville Public Library is part of BHM Regional Library, serving Beaufort, Hyde, and Martin Counties. To see more from the Robersonville Public Library, visit their partner page here on DigitalNC or check out their website.

New additions to the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection

An image from the funeral program of Margaret Rozzetta Stephens Fuller

More funeral programs and obituaries from Durham County Library are now online. These are part of the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection and cover funerals in and around Durham County from 1934-2013. R. Kelly Bryant (1917-2015) was a Durham historian and active community member who collected the stories of African-American Durham residents via obituaries and funeral programs.

The newly digitized additions cover the last names Cobb through Furtick. These join the first batch from this collection which cover the names Adams through Coachman. The obituaries and funeral programs are fully text searchable, and are a great source of genealogical information. Birth and death dates, names of family members, and biographical information are often included.

You can browse or search the digitized items in the collection by visiting the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection exhibit page on DigitalNC. More information is also available through the collection’s finding aid on the Durham County Library’s website.

To learn more about Durham County Library, visit their DigitalNC partner page or take a look at their website.

A Local History of the Civil War from Mauney Memorial Library

The latest from the genealogy shelves of our partner institution Mauney Memorial Library can be found online at DigitalNC.  In his book, White Plains Goes to War: The Civil War Saga of Edward and Benjamin F. Dixon, David C. Neisler chronicles the Civil War experiences of his ancestors, brothers Edward and Benjamin F. Dixon.

Letter written by Edward Dixon

The first half of the book focuses upon the lives and experiences of the Dixon brothers as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. Neisler’s research is based upon personal correspondence and a few other documents found in a relative’s attic. Copies of these materials and photos of the Dixon brothers are provided in the book.


The second part of the book looks at Company D of the Fourteenth Regiment of the North Carolina Troops, or the Cleveland Blues as they were known. Lead by Edward Dixon, the Cleveland Blues were primarily from White Plains, N.C. Following a brief historical sketch about the Cleveland Blues, Neisler provides an annotated roster of all 68 volunteers who enlisted at the White Plains Post Office on April 26, 1861.

Genealogy Newsletters, Cooking Related Materials Now Available Online from Braswell Memorial Library

Royal Palm Restaurant Menu, page 2

Royal Palm Restaurant Menu, page 2

Thanks to our partner, Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, DigitalNC has published a number of new materials in the North Carolina Memory Collection.

Included in this batch are several cooking related items. A vintage menu from the Royal Palms Restaurant in Rocky Mount documents the variety of prices and meals available at the local establishment. This item is a unique addition, as DigitalNC only has three published menus on the site. If you are more interested in doing some cooking of your own, check out the Kentucky Cookbook from Bygone Days. This unique item was transcribed from an 18880’s collection of recipes created by several women with connections to North Carolina. The recipes are included along with descriptions and family histories, adding some depth and context to the cookbook’s entries. Try your hand at making some nineteenth century ginger pudding or molasses pie!

Also in this batch are nearly seventy issues of “The Connector,” the newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society. The Connector contains articles from members of the society, detailing their research in family and local history. They include many maps, rosters, names, dates, and other information that could be useful genealogy research–all aggregated in one place. These newsletters are full-text searchable, allowing researchers to easy search through the nearly 1200 pages of material. You can view all of the newsletters from Braswell Memorial Library at the following link.

To learn more about Braswell Memorial Library, please visit the contributor page or the website. To see more items like these that are digitized and available on DigitalNC, please visit the North Carolina Memory Collection.

Recipes for Ambrosia Filling, Cream Pie, and Molasses Pie-- Kentucky Cookbook, page 39

Recipes for Ambrosia Filling, Cream Pie, and Molasses Pie– Kentucky Cookbook, page 39

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.

Additions to the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection from Durham County Library

More funeral programs and obituaries that are part of the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection are now on DigitalNC. This collection is housed in the the Durham County Library North Carolina Collection. R. Kelly Bryant (1917-2015) was a historian with an extensive knowledge of Durham, North Carolina who collected the stories of thousands of African American residents told through funeral programs and obituaries. The collection is organized alphabetically by surnames, and this batch includes the names Keith through McLean, which means collectively the names Adams through McLean are now available on DigitalNC.

Included in this batch is the funeral program for Jean Hopkins Lucas (1935-2007), the first African American woman to serve in North Carolina’s state Senate. Also included are the funeral programs for civil rights activists Floyd McKissick (1922-1991) and Evelyn Williams McKissick (1923-2004). There are countless amazing stories and tributes captured in this collection, making it a great source for research.

To learn more about R. Kelly Bryant and his archival collection at Durham County Library, visit their finding aid. To see all of the digitally available programs and obituaries, visit the  R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection exhibit page.

Also please take a look at other materials from the Durham County Library that are up on DigitalNC by visiting their partner page.