Friday, December 14, 2018

Learning Opportunity - Senior TechEd Winter 2019 Schedule

Education is the gift that keep on giving. Take advantage of the winter listings from Senior TechEd for yourself or someone on your gift list.

View the Senior TechEd Schedule here.

Highlights this season include a series of lessons on working with The series is offered twice, in January and again in February.

Also MS Excel 1&2 - We use spreadsheets for everything from name disambiguation and timelines to DNA sorting and match correspondence. This time will be well spent.

Other topics of interest:

Windows Backup

File Explorer

Cloud Computing

Google Photos

Android Smartphone Apps

IOS, Ipad, and Iphone

Much more... Take a look.

Return to the WCGS Website

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wake Wednesday - Merry Christmas from Raleigh c. 1907

So, I was casting about for a WW post with a holiday theme and happened on this quaint turn of the century Christmas postcard that was featured in the North Carolina Postcards section of the digital North Carolina Collection at UNC. 

This is a postcard that B. H. Woodell, of Raleigh, had personalized and printed to send to his friends and colleagues in December 1907. It is a very classic and formal card typical the ones I have seen from that time period. 

I am not familiar with Mr. Woodell and wondered what sort of footprint he left in Wake County for that time period. 

A Google search turned up several entries for him in an 1887 Raleigh City Directory housed at the NC Archives. This ad from the directory shows that he was a business man in downtown Raleigh at that time.  

There are several other mentions of Mr. Woodell in this directory. They document his dual occupations of shoe merchant and broker/commission merchant, and his membership in the Odd Fellows, a fraternal and benevolent society. His home address of 118 N. Dawson and business address of 230 Fayetteville Street indicates that Raleigh was truly a walk-able city back then. He could have walked the half mile trip in about 10 or 15 minutes.

The next hit on my Google search turned up several newspaper articles that documented his activities as Grand Secretary in the Odd Fellows, his travels, his visitors, and even an illness. He was active and well known in his community.

Another hit turned up a free ebook on Google books documenting the 1907 Annual Session of the Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of North Carolina. Mr. Woodell was a busy man! I count more than twenty mentions of him in this book. (If you have ancestors from Wake who were Odd Fellows, you want to check out this free book.)

Next, my search pulled a hit at My Heritage that told me that his daughter Mary married into the Briggs family, also prominent at that time. 

I made all these discoveries about someone I am unfamiliar with, and I hadn't even touched Ancestry or FamilySearch yet. 

A quick search at Ancestry tells me that Mr. Woodell was born in August 1839. His full name was Burwell Henry Woodell. He married Emily Jane Buchanan in his home county of Chatham in 1868. They were living in Raleigh at least by 1871. They had six children, four of which were born here in Raleigh. They lived at various times on Blount Street and Person Street. B. H. died in Wayne County in 1919, but was buried in Raleigh at Oakwood Cemetery.

A biography Mr. Woodell's life can be found on Ancestry in "History of North Carolina, Vol. 5." It chronicles his early life in rural Chatham County, his military service in the Civil War, and his early entrepreneurial career in Raleigh. There is a very thorough and impressive accounting of his time and activities in the Odd Fellows. As the other sources hinted at, he was a very important man in this organization, not only for Raleigh, but for all of the state as well. From the text:
"Mr. Woodell has personally organized a large per cent of the Odd Fellow lodges in North Carolina, and his voice has been heard in almost every lodge room in the state. In 1885, when he was elected grand secretary, there were forty-two lodges in North Carolina, with 1,208 members. In June 1916, there were 240 lodges with more than 15,000 members, and a large part of this gain in membership may be directly attributed to his faithful and untiring efforts."
Mr. Woodell must have had many, many of those postcards printed up! I suspect the high esteem was mutual many times around.

For me, this exercise was certainly a lesson in being open to non traditional sources to fill in the gaps in your research. I will make every effort to"peek around the corners and under the rugs" for my next search.

Merry Christmas, Mr. B. H. Woodell.

Glad Holidays Tidings to all of our readers!

Return to the WCGS Website

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wake Wednesday - Where to put the permanent NC State Capital

Would Wake County be very different if the choice of the state capital location had been different?

How? Would roadways and growth centers be effected? Would a location five miles away make a difference?

Interesting to ponder. I am sure it would have mattered more to the generations who came before us as their transportation and access to commerce would be most affected.

Hunter vs. Lane

The story of selecting the site of the permanent state capital is covered in this great article about inns and tavern from NCpedia. Isaac Hunter and Joel Lane are both represented here, as are several other important inns and taverns from the early days of colonial North Carolina.
"Inns and taverns played an important role in the economic and geographic development of colonial North Carolina. These establishments-also known as "ordinaries" in eighteenth-century America because they often catered to the full spectrum of social classes-were frequently one of the first businesses to appear in newly designated county seats, offering food and lodging to travelers and visitors to court...."

Friday, November 30, 2018

Wake Research Trip

Plan a Research Trip to Wake County
Reprinted from the Spring 2018 Issue of Wake Genealogy Watch - the newsletter of WCGS:
I was asked by someone living remotely for advice in planning a genealogy research trip to Wake county. I thought my resulting notes might be helpful to others. Please note that all blue text is a working hyperlink, valid as of  2-9-2018. Special thanks to Barb, Ann, and John for their suggestions. - CD
When planning a Wake County research trip, your top 3 must-visit destinations are:
This is the repository for all things historic pertaining to Wake county. Contact the wonderful research librarians,Saundra Cropps and Judy Allen-Dodson, for specific sources that would be useful for your research. They are very knowledgeable and would love to help. Check out their online Collections page.  And the Local History Information Guide.
 • The State Archives of North Carolina 
Next stop is a twofer! Visit 109 E. Jones St. in downtown Raleigh to visit both NC Archives and theGovernment and Heritage Library.  Before you travel, visit both websites to plan your research strategies.

Check the Researchers page at the Archives for records you might find useful.  You just never know what you will find - diaries, legers, photos, family papers.
Visit the G&H Library page for a whole host of services and research guides that can help you fine tune your goals.
 • The Wake County Justice Center 
at 301 McDowell St. houses land, marriage, and probate records. (Check the website before going for restrictions on what you can carry in.) Visit the Register of Deeds for marriage and land records.  Visit the Clerk of Superior Court for probate records.
If time and travel allow:
UNC Southern History Collection (located in Chapel Hill if travel permits)- Browse or search the collection in advance or contact for guidance.
Search online pre- and post-trip:
These sources are online and can be accessed as needed:
NC Land Grants - can be searched online. Searchable data plus 160,000 images for 216,000 land grants issued by the State of North Carolina from 1663 to 1960.
Wake Treasures Journal (WCGS publication) - over 20 years' worth of transcribed data available to WCGS members - While this requires a WCGS membership to access online, the sheer volume of local, original sources, not accessible elsewhere, makes your membership worthwhile. Here are examples of Wake County material which has been abstracted/transcribed and published in the journal.
- Bastardy Bonds (1772-1937) - Divorce Record (A-Z)
- Levy Dockets (1805-1815) - School Census (1897)
- Tax Records - Poor House Records
- Apprentice Records - Court Minutes
- Military Records - Newspaper Articles
- Deed Book R ... and much more! 
Location based research - These may point you in some direction that I have not mentioned here.
I planned a similar trip two years ago to a family spot in Louisiana. The pre-planning was daunting, but the trip was so much fun and the findings so rewarding that it is worth all the effort. I wish you the best of luck in your family hunting.
Do you have other favorite places to visit for research locally? Share with us. Send them

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wake Wednesday - How did your ancestors celebrate Christmas?

Did you grow up in a rural setting? Want to revisit some Christmas customs you might have forgotten and share them with your younger family members?

Visit Oak View Farm for their program - How They Celebrated from 1850 to 1950. Dec 3 - 22

"Tour the Plank Kitchen and Main House and see decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era, Victorian Era, Great Depression, and World War II)!"


They will also offer "Sleigh Rides and Cider" on Dec 1. See their site for more info.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Event: Dec 6, Granville County Gen Society - "America's First Thanksgiving"

Time sensitive - happens Dec. 6

We just received this event notice to the WCGS inbox:

Message from Granville County Genealogical Society 1746, Inc.

The program for the December 6, 2018 meeting of the Granville County Genealogical Society will be presented by Mrs. Velvet Woodlief, GCGS member.

Velvet will present a program on Capt. John Woodlief, and his landing at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia on December 4, 1619. "America's first Thanksgiving". Upon landing on the shores of the James River, Virginia, he carried out the first of his orders and instructions from Sir William Throckmorton, knight and baronet, Richard Bearkley, Esq, George Thorpe, Esq, and John Smyth, Gent., who commissioned the voyage. "Wee ordaine that the day of our ship's arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perputualy keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almight God".

Edward Woodlief, one of our society's members, and other Woodliefs from Granville, Vance and Franklin Counties, along with the help of late Pearl Woodlief Blackley (Vance County) and from Woodliefs across the United States worked to get the recognition for the First Thanksgiving in America established. In 1956, a memorial was built on the shore of the James River at Berkeley Plantation honoring Capt. John Woodlief. On the plaque to Capt. John Woodlief, there are more Woodliefs from North Carolina than any other state. That same year and each year since, Woodlief descendants are sent a special invitation and a reception is held for them prior to the re-enactment of the landing of Capt. John Woodlief. Other spellings of the surname are Woodliffe, Woodliff, Woodlase and Woodlief. Edward Woodlief can trace his ancestry to this Capt. John Woodlief.

A celebration of this event is held the first Sunday in November of each year (moved from the first Sunday in December for more favorable weather). Next year will mark the 400th anniversary of the landing and the guest speakers will be Charles Berkeley, owner of Berkeley Castle in England and the former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles. The Godspeed sailing ship from Jamestown will be anchored offshore.

Please join members of the Granville County Genealogical Society in attending this meeting, to be held at 6:30 P.M. on December 6, 2018 in the conference room at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford, N.C. All GCGS meetings are open to the public, and visitors and guests are always cordially invited to attend.

All GCGS meetings are open to the public and guests are cordially invited to attend.

Web site address:
Mailing address:
GCGS 1746, Inc.
PO Box 1746
Oxford, NC 27565-1746

Friday, November 23, 2018

Volunteer Request - Seeking Narrative Stories for Wake Treasures

Request from Wake Treasures quarterly journal editor, Diane L. Richard: 

Going forward, we would love to include more narrative pieces in the pages of the Wake Treasures Journal – case studies, family stories, short memory pieces of life back when, etc. Stories don’t need to be long or involved. They can be stories about family, about communities, about activities (church, sports, service organizations, scouts, schools, businesses, and so on), buildings and landmarks that existed and no longer do so, and the list is endless. Any bit of Wake County history involves people … History is invaluable to our genealogical research and our search into family histories provides value and context to history. 

Do you live in Wake County and like me don’t have family here? 

We all live and/or drive by places where history happened – let’s learn more about this history or share what we already do know! No Wake County ancestry is needed for these types of contributions. Please consider how you might help share our “collective” history, family lore and more via the journal. 

Thanks! - Diane,

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wake Wednesday - Old Raleigh Building With Many Lives

This beautiful building sure had a lot of lives. Extra points if you know the story without even looking. Do you know all the names and functions it had over its long life. Sadly, this beautiful Wake county landmark that our ancestors would have strolled past on a leisurely afternoon is no more.

You can read the wonderful twists and turns of this beauty's history in this Goodnight Raleigh blogpost

Baptist Female University - built in Built in 1899 at the corner of Blount and Edenton streets.

Baptist University for Women - name change in 1904.

Meredith College - 1909 was renamed again, "in honor of Thomas Meredith, founder of the Biblical Reporter (1835) and an early 19th century advocate of higher education for women". The college was housed here until the mid 1920's when it relocated to the present location.

Mansion Park Hotel - from the mid 1920's until sometime in the 1950's. The hotel advertised itself as Raleigh's "Most Comfortable Hotel" with reasonable rates, free parking, between Capitol and Governor's Mansion, 122 rooms, 100 bathrooms, Headquarters, Carolina Motor Club, AAA.
In the 1950's, this beautiful building was purchased by the state and used as office space including a driver's license office. This beautiful old "grand dame" was demolished in 1967. The location is now a parking lot. Ahhhhh.....progress.

One more photo before I close. This one from the Meredith College website. A class photo from the college's early days. I love that they used the spectacular porches and stairways to pose. What a remarkable place with a remarkable story.
Were your ancestors part of this story?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Reciprocal Journals in the WCGS File at Olivia Raney Local History Library

Did you know that there is a selection of genealogical and historical journals from around the state available in the WCGS files at Olivia Raney Family History Library?

We previously featured our Reciprocal Journals program (shared from other counties and regions of NC) in the Fall 2018 issue of WGW. We wanted to bring this content out of the stacks so people could have an idea what was available (from your favorite comfy chair no less).

You can keep tabs on the latest additions to our collection by visiting our Journals photo album at the WCGS Facebook page. This is a great opportunity to keep up with your research in other parts of the state. If you see a journal topic you want to check out, visit Olivia Raney Library to view these issues and more that we have in our collection. Just ask at the front desk. Sign their visitor book while you are there. We like to help ORL for all they do to help us!

Special thanks to WCGS Corresponding Secretary, Linda Hames for keeping this journal project moving along. I can always count on her to send me the contents page from the journals as they arrive in our P. O. Box.

Here is a preview of what we have on file:


Friday, November 9, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

WCGS Trifecta at NCGS

Wake County Genealogical Society is the proud recipient of three awards from the North Carolina Genealogical Society at its October 27, 2018  Conference and Meeting.
Awards are as follows (left to right in photo):
-Excellence in Periodical Publishing-Journal:  "Wake Treasures,"   editor Diane L. Richard.
-Excellence in Periodical Publishing-Newsletter: "Wake Genealogy Watch,"  editor Cyndi Deal.
-Excellence in Web Presence-WCGS website: webmaster Cynthia Gage.
Photo - Steve Deal

A full description of the categories and winners can be viewed on the NCGS website.
Congratulations to WCGS. Thanks and appreciation to the winners. We are indebted to them and their teams for the hours of hard work and dedication to produce a quality product on an consistent basis. This speaks well for our society as a whole.  
Way to go Team Wake!!