Wake County Genealogical Society, North Carolina
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Wake Genealogy Watch - Winter Edition

The Fall 2023 Issue (Vol. 7 Issue 1) of our award-winning newsletter, Wake Genealogy Watch, is now available online for reading or download. You can visit the WCGS website  or access through this link - Wake Genealogy Watch, Fall 2023.
Features in this issue include:
  • Several updates including news about our Homepage, Journal, and a new Board Position – Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
  • The Reading Room features a review and link to an amazing family history book written by Brian Griffis. You will want to read The Life and Times of Lucius Griffis (1839 – 1918) to see what Brian accomplished with his strategy of searching way beyond the expected sources for his Wake County ancestor who lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction.
  • Barbara McGeachy shares an important FamilySearch tip for location resources.
  • Instructions to access the Upchurch Enrolled Family files online. These files hold reams of Wake County Genealogy content.
  • A focus on the history and importance of mills in Wake County, including a link to a fascinating five-part thesis exploring what remains of mill culture in our area.
  • Genealogy highlights and links to the Fall 2023 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI),
  • North Carolina Maps, a collaborative digitization project that offers online content and inspiration for your research.
  • A recent Wakecogen Blog feature on maps that provides a different look at map use and development in our early history.
  • Highlights from our experiences with the NGS SLAM Open House in May.
Photo Note: If you choose to read a printed version of this newsletter, some of the photos will be difficult to view due to size constraints. Please refer to the online edition where you can enlarge the photos to accommodate better viewing.
Click this Newsletter link to view this and all past newsletter content.   We welcome your feedback, input, and submissions for inclusion in future editions.  Please address all input to newsletter@wakecogen.org.

Saundra Cropps, WCGS's New Diversity Officer

We are delighted to announce the election of Saundra Cropps as the new Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the WCGS (Wake County Genealogical Society). With a rich background in genealogy and community engagement, Saundra brings a fresh perspective to our organization's leadership.
The role of Diversity Officer at WCGS is a board-level advisory position that plays a pivotal role in realizing our society's vision of becoming an inclusive and welcoming community for all individuals seeking to discover and embrace their family stories. As the Diversity Officer, Saundra will help ensure that WCGS programs and projects address and support the diverse needs of the genealogical community.
One of the primary objectives of this position is to promote partnerships with other societies, fostering collaboration and exchange of knowledge, ideas, and resources. Among these critical partnerships is the Triangle Chapter of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society, through which Saundra will help strengthen connections. Furthermore, as we strive to expand access to education, research, and records, Saundra will play a role in making sure our outreach efforts resonate with all segments of the genealogical community and help establish WCGS as a place where everyone feels inspired to uncover their ancestral roots.
Saundra served for many years as the Library Manager for Wake County’s Olivia Raney Local History Library, and she also serves WCGS as our coordinator and respondent for queries sent to us by members and the public.  Her many years of genealogical research and experience contribute to the skill set she brings into this new board position.  Please join us in warmly welcoming Saundra Cropps as the new Diversity Officer at the Wake County Genealogical Society. If you need any assistance or have questions, you may reach her through query@wakecogen.org.

Resources for African American Research

With the election of Saundra as WCGS’s first Diversity Officer, we want to highlight some of the resources available on our site for supporting African-American research - one of which was assembled by Saundra!  Many of these resources (and more) can be found within the Research Resources section of our website. Under the Articles and Handouts page, there is a section dedicated to items relevant to African-American research.  These are PDF files which provide resource lists and/or links to repositories.  Here you can find Saundra’s handout “Tracing Your Roots” and two articles from our Wake Genealogy Watch newsletter covering enslaved person research and links to Juneteenth videos from Family Search.
When looking on the Wake Research Links page, you can sort by the “African-American” category to narrow the links to dedicated topics.  Here you will find searchable links to college catalogs from Latta University, Shaw University, and the Leonard Medical School of Shaw.  These catalogs cover various years from 1876 to 1920 and list the students, faculty, and for some catalogs the alumni.  But don’t just limit your search to items under the AF-AM Category.  If your ancestor was from Raleigh, be sure to check the links to Raleigh City Directories (broken series 1881 to 1921).   Looking under “Baptist Records,” a search for African American returned 64 hits across the state including the Wake County cities of Wake Forest, Holly Springs, Apex and Wendell.  Many of these records are from the nineteenth century and include membership rolls.  Did you ancestor own land in Wake County?  Then check our direct link to the Wake County Register of Deeds.  Our county is one of the few which has all the deeds online.
Our Wake Cemetery Project is another great resource for African-American research.  You can perform a category search within the various townships to easily locate AF-AM cemeteries.  This resource will provide the location of the cemetery and in many cases transcriptions of the headstones.  Here you will find listings for small family cemeteries which are not included on Find-A-Grave.  And even for instances where the cemetery is listed on Find-A-Grave, you may find our resource has a more complete listing either because Find-A-Grave is incomplete or because headstones were missing by the time the information was gathered for Find-A-Grave.  Our project also lists the purported locations for Slave cemeteries though gravestones are lacking.
Our journal Wake Treasures provides another resource for finding your African-American ancestors.  Check our Subject Index file for the topics of “Slaves”, “Free Negros”, “Slave Narratives”, and “Free Persons of Color” to find records which we have abstracted or transcribed for publication in the Journal.  This index covers the first 25 years of our journal, but more recently we have also transcribed the 1897 Raleigh School Census – “Colored”.  It can be found in Vol 29 Issue 1 through Vol 30 Issue 2.  Our Wake Genealogy Watch newsletter also contains articles of interest to African-American researchers, not just topic-specific but also for general articles on improving your genealogy skills.  A newsletter index is under development.
Our lists and links to support research in Wake County continues to grow. If you have an appropriate suggestion, please let our webmaster know, and be sure to check back with us often!

WCGS on Lulu!

Did you know WCGS has publications of transcribed records which are available for purchase on Lulu? Visit the Wake County Genealogical Society Bookstore here.


December 5
Genealogy Escape Room℠ – The Case of William Sydney Porter: Oh Henry!
Online Event Leader:  Thomas MacEntee   Audience Level: Beginner. A fun start to the holiday season! Imagine you are trapped at a archives and the only ...

January 23
More than Money and Land - The Evolution of Bounty Land, Military Pensions, and Alternative Service
Debra Dudek will show us how we can use bounty land applications and military pensions in our research. This group of records is a useful resource for anyone ...

February 27
Roots of Hope: Rediscovering the Legacy of John Hunter
Ernest Dollar, Director of the City of Raleigh Museum, made a chance discovery that led to an incredible merging of past and present. While ...

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