Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Seasons Greetings ca.1928

Here is the holiday greeting card sent out by The Raleigh Times to its customers in the late 1920's. It is just one example of the wonderful old holiday cards in the NC State Archive's Flickr photostream. 

If you have a little more time to spare, check out all the Archive's collections here!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Upchurch & Allied Families Newsletter - Dec 2019

For those following UAFA, click thru the link for the latest news.

Upchurch & Allied Families Newsletter - Dec 2019

Topics include:
Open House in Cary, Dec 19
Upchurch Enclaves
Ancestry Says, “Your Privacy is Our Top Priority”
Retiree Gift
 AS MEMORY DIMS—A Poem By Dr. Robert Phillip Upchurch

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wake Wednesday - General Lafayette's Visit in 1825

I am returning to Reminiscences of Grandmother Mary Ann Towles in Wake Treasures, Volume 1, number 4, Winter 1991, p15, for this vivid remembrance of General LaFayette's visit to Wake County in 1825. Can you imagine what an attraction his visit must have been?

Mary Ann's memory in her words:
I was eight years old when General LaFAYETTE visited Raleigh and everyone went to see him. Uncle carried (m)y brother and me. It was a proud day for me when he shook hands with me, and laying his hand on my head, said, “God bless you.” 

"Portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette." Image courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
 You can read more on General Lafayette's journey thru Wake County and the rest of NC at NCpedia.

If you want to see some artifacts and other first hand accounts of General Lafayett's trip, visit the Little House Museum in Rolesville. Contact the museum for more info.

Journal access is a great perk of your Wake County Genealogical Society membership and a handy tool for those researching in Wake County remotely. Members have 24/7 access to the Journal. With 20 plus years of content, you will likely find the surnames and place names you are researching. Access the Journal issues directly in the Member Area after log-in.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wake Wednesday - The Baptist Grove

Did you know that the land that is currently known as Moore Square was once referred to as the Baptist Grove?

I happened upon this tidbit while browsing thru an old issue of our Wake Treasures Journal. The reference is in an article titled Reminiscences of Grandmother Mary Ann Towles in Volume 1, number 4, Winter 1991, p15.

Enjoy this picturesque description:
Uncle William SHAW had a store on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, and his dwelling house was on Wilmington Street. It was a large three story building with a beautiful garden, a large front, and a back yard. In one corner of the front yard, a big oak spread its branches over a large portion of the yard. Back of our lot was the Baptist grove.2 In the center of the grove stood a small wooden church, lighted with tallow candles in tin scones. The candles were lighted by a maiden lady, Miss Lucinda BRIGGS.  
The location is noted in this footnote: 

2 The Baptist Grove is now what is known as Moore’s Square, across from the old City Market. 
Based upon other dates in the entry, this must have been ca. 1820. 

This is just a sampling of the interesting bits of Wake history you will find in our Journal.

Journal access is a great perk of your Wake County Genealogical Society membership and a handy tool for those researching in Wake County remotely. Members have 24/7 access to the Journal. With 20 plus years of content, you will likely find the surnames and place names you are researching. Access the Journal issues directly in the Member Area after log-in.

This content is referenced with permission of Journal editor.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Saving Oberlin

"Oberlin was not part of Raleigh. It was a proud freestanding, self-sufficient community of former slaves, free blacks, and their descendants, founded after the Civil War. In 1914, a New York newspaper described Oberlin as 'a unique little village of nearly twelve hundred inhabitants. The neat-looking buildings are artistically painted, and the front yards are planted with rose bushes and other shrubberies.' Oberlin actually surpassed Raleigh on some measures of homeownership and education."
Visit the N&O for Myrick Howard's account of saving the Hall House and the Graves home, formerly known as Oakcrest and the families they housed.

Return to the WCGS Website

Monday, November 18, 2019

Online Learning Opportunity - DNA Day, December 7

Florida State Genealogical Society will offer a Fall Virtual DNA Conference on Saturday, Dec 7 from 9am until 4:30pm EST. Five speakers, five sessions. (On demand viewing available with registration for two weeks after the live sessions.)

Speakers include;
Blaine Bettinger
Diahan Southard
Angie Bush
Mary Eberle
Judy G. Russell

Visit FlSGS for pricing and details here.

Looks like a great way to get smarter with out even leaving your sofa!

Return to the WCGS Website

Saturday, November 16, 2019

November update from Upchurch and Allied Families.

Attention all Upchurches and kin -

Visit the link for the latest news, including details on the Dec. 19  Open House in Cary, a really great covered wagon story from Robert Harrell Upchurch and a really wonderful Thanksgiving memory from Cindy Hale.

The new newsletter format is really attractive. Great job from Cindy Hale.

Return to the WCGS Website

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Oakwood Cemetery

For today's Wake Wednesday post I must refer you to the NC Museum of History's blog for their post on the Untold History of Oakwood Cememtery. How did a parcel of land set aside for the final rest of the South's fallen soldiers get is start? Please click through and read the story.

Guest Blog: The Untold History of Oakwood Cemetery

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wake Wednedsay - Local Ghosts

How about some local Ghostly legends?

William Poole, a wealthy batchelor who loved his land and white horse in life, rides the 75 acre pine forest (near Rock Quarry Road) on said horse in death after 1889. Read the story and variations here.

Mary Willis Mordecai Turk, continues to enjoy her former home Mordecai House in Raleigh by wisping around in a mist in a gray 19th century gown and playing piano tunes for anyone who will listen, just as she did in her socialite days. Details here.

Unknown spirits haunt the NC State Capitol. Ghostly happenings reported by a night watchman over 15 years included screams, doors slamming, books hitting the floor, keys jingling and footsteps on the stone floors. More here.

If you need more Wake County ghost stories to set your Halloween mood, there is a Kindle book here that is Free with Kindle Unlimited (reasonable otherwise...). Ghosts of the Triangle; Historic Haunts of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, By Richard and William Jackson.

Happy Halloween. Stay spooky.


Return to the WCGS Website

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Three Preservation NC Events in early November

From the Preservation NC website:

FALL SYMPOSIUM 2-day educational event at Shaw University filled with speakers and topics related to the headquarters renovation project. November 7-8, Raleigh. Dix Park and Historic Oberlin Village tours are also part of the symposium. Prices vary, registration requiredClick HERE for more or to register.

HISTORIC BLOUNT STREET TOUR & RECEPTION Get social with us and tour several of the newly renovated grand old houses of Blount Street, including: Norris House, Lewis-Smith House, Higgs-Coble-Helms House, Lamar-Brown-Arthur House and more! November 7, 6-9pm. $40 per person, registration required.  Click HERE for more or to register.

OPEN HOUSE TOUR of NEW HQ  - November 17, 1-5pm. $10 suggested donation at the door.
Tour the newly restored Hall and Graves houses.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Railroads and Rebirth

Piggybacking on the recent post about the fiery destruction of Raleigh's first Capital building in 1831, I want to point you to this great article from NCpedia on the rebuilding and refocus of Raleigh that that followed. Forward thinking and the latest rail technology saved Raleigh's place in the history, politics and economics of our state and spared our state the former nickname of "the Rip Van Winkle of commonwealths."
"Despite its position as a state capital, in the early 1830s and with a population of barely 2,200, the city of Raleigh was small and underdeveloped and had been struck by a series of fires. One of these took the Capitol building in 1831 and along with it citizens’ collective morale. Without efficient transportation and communication to connect it with the outside world, the capital needed reinvigoration. That reinvigoration came, literally and symbolically, with the arrival of the Tornado, the first steam locomotive to enter Raleigh to inaugurate the state’s newly developing railroad..."
Please read the rest of the story here.

"First locomotive running into Raleigh in 1840."  Sketch of the "Tornado," p. 194 in Hope Summerwell Chamberlain's <i>History of Wake County North Carolina,</i> published 1922 by Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, Raleigh, NC.
The first locomotive running in Raleigh in 1840, The Tornado.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Awesome Remote Learning Event - Oct 23, 10am - 4pm

If you have some free time available this Wednesday, you may wish to check this out:

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

Seventh Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair - October 23, 2019
Every year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation.
See more info at the website here. Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the archived content for the past six NARA Virtual Genealogy Fairs

The sessions look really interesting. The first one covers one of my favorite topics since I started writing the newsletter, the History Hub!  You should really check it out.

Return to the WCGS Website

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wake Wednesday - The loss of the Original State Capitol Building in 1831

Fire gutted the original State Capitol building on June 21, 1831. How did a previous fire, an iron pot and zinc roof shingles factor into Raleigh's near demise as the center of our state government? How did this event seal Raleigh's place as Capital City in North Carolina history?

Read the terrifying and fascinating account in detail at NCPedia here:

The Fires of 1831:  Fayetteville and Raleigh in Flames

[Graphic] Drawing 1 with link to higher quality drawing.
The remodeled North Carolina State House about 1831 by W. Goodacre. - source
Looking not very much different from today with the exception of its wooden roof.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Village of Falls

Olde Raleigh on Facebook featured a historical account of the village of Falls. The picture that accompanies the story is of the Falls that predates the dam. Wonderful and very nostalgic. A place very near and dear to my heart. Visit our Facebook page to read the story and view the photo.

Follow us on Facebook for more Wake County history and nostalgia, for great tips and techniques and for late breaking event notices. See you there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Official Transcription Session Dates for 2019


WCGS is pleased to host the following transcription events to be held at Olivia Raney Local History Library at 4016 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC from 10:30 am – 12:30pm:

▪ Saturday, October 19, 2019
▪ Saturday, November 16, 2019
▪ Saturday, December 14, 2019
▪ Dates for 2020 events TBD

These events are not educational workshops, but time set aside for us to work together on transcription projects to benefit either the WCGS journal, Wake Treasures, or your own research. You can bring your own photocopies or digital files of documents or records needing transcription. We will also provide photocopies and digital files of Wake County-related records needing transcription.
These transcriptions will be used in future issues of Wake Treasures.

Need a refresher on how to properly transcribe a set of records for genealogical research and analysis? This video was recorded by past President Diane L. Richard and provides excellent instruction:

VIDEO LINK: Accurate Transcriptions for Historical Records:

Questions about providing transcriptions or articles for Wake Treasures? Email
Questions about WCGS or these events in general? Email

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Look for more Transcriptions Time from Wakecogen

New dates for Transcriptions Parties this fall - all on Saturdays 10:30-12:30 at Olivia Raney Library.

October 19
November 16
December 14

Original story:
We had such a great turnout for our recent Transcription Workshop on June 29. Results were so positive that more transcription events will be planned for the future. If you love old documents and the wonderful unexpected discoveries within, you will want to join us. Stay tuned for more info.

Here are the attendees getting some video instruction prior to starting our transcriptions. 

Photo: Monique Bunch

Photo: Monique Bunch

Photo: Monique Bunch

Here is the cool deed that I got to work with that day. This is the original that dates back to 1796. Full of long S's (fs) and thence's! Definitely white glove work.

Thanks to Diane Richard for the video and allowing Wakecogen to host on our website. It is on our home page after you scroll down to the end of the page.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Historic Millbrook

Historic Millbrook was just up the road from my home when we moved to Raleigh in the 70s. It was like a toy town of paper Christmas houses. I was fascinated by it. I still remember going to this tiny one room Post Office.
I was so sad when it was leveled in the name of progress and I spent quite a while reminiscing over the photos and old maps on this blog post, another great one from

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Latest Newsletter - Wake Genealogy Watch - Fall 2019 now available

The new Fall 2019 issue of Wake Genealogy Watch (Vol. 3 Issue 1), is now available online for reading or download. 

This issue contains the following topics:
• Use WorldCat to find old and not-so-old books to enhance your research
• Create an art quilt to celebrate a favorite ancestor
• Enrich the context of your ancestors life and times by visiting a historical reenactment
• Transcription Time Sessions for Fall
• A very full events calendar
• Underused records for researching your elder Revolutionary War era ancestors
• AncestryDNA power tools for sorting your no tree/private tree matches

Or, click this newsletter page link to view this and all past newsletter content.

Photo Note: When reading from a printed copy, please refer back to the online edition where you can enlarge the photos for better viewing. 

We welcome your feedback, input, and submissions for inclusions in future editions. Please address all concerns to

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Isaac Hunter's Tavern redux

Shortly after I wrote last week's post about Isaac Hunter's Tavern, this follow up story in from the N&O on the fate of Isaac Hunter's Tavern came on my radar.  So sad. We must protect and preserve our history better than this!
Isaac HunterĂ¢€™s Tavern in 1969 before it was torn down.
The article and companion video follows Mark Turner as he attempt to find the remnants of the tavern which he had located just eight month before. We can't get these things back. This little remnant will have to do.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Notice: Raleigh Family History Center closed September 21- 28

The Raleigh Family History Center will be closed September 21-28th due to the Raleigh North Carolina Temple Open House. If you were planning a research trip to RFHC, add these dates to your calendar. 

For more Information visit RHFC.

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Isaac Hunter's Tavern

As I said, I would come back to that special piece of land just off Wake Forest Road where the large mansion called Hardimont once stood. Here is the reason. That same property is where Isaac Hunter's Tavern once stood. All that time that I spent fascinated with that big slightly spooky house, I was staring right through the spot of legend that determined our place in history, not just for Raleigh, nor Wake county, but for the whole state of North Carolina.
This post from the Legeros Fire Blog is an excellent account including some fascinating maps, photos, and links to other post worth reading. The author includes a review of all the property owners from King Charles II in 1760 to the North Raleigh Hilton in 1881 and including some colorful and locally important personalities along  the way - Hunter, John T. Pullen, and a host of others.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Great Learning Opportunities for New and Newly Interested Genealogists

There are some excellent classes and opportunities offered around Wake County this fall. First up, is this great series offered by Wake County Public Libraries and taught by members of our own WCGS.

The topics will vary by library. Please consult individual libraries for details. These presentations are free. See flyer below.

Other opportunities exist as well. Raleigh Senior TechEd will offer multiple series of genealogy content this fall including a five part series on using from starting to research and build a tree, to working with DNA results. Also offered, Genealogy Basics, Library & Archive Research, and Organization Tools. Consult the Raleigh Senior TechEd schedule here for dates and pricing.

Friday, August 30, 2019

DNA Q&A Handouts here

We had a great time and a good turnout at our August DNA Q&A meeting. 

Handouts for the meeting are located on the Wakecogen publication page:

DNA Q&A slides

DNA and Family History handout (provided by Kathy Ruse)

All handouts from our Summer 2019 DNA series can be reviewed by clicking the Summer of DNA tab above or going directly to the Wakecogen website publication page

Photos will be uploaded soon.

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Hardimont

I remember the huge mansion off Wake Forest Road just before you get to the Beltline. It used to fascinate me when we first moved to Raleigh in the 70s. Of course, this spot held other significance for Wake County and North Carolina, but I will get to that later...
"On the estate to the other side, the matriarch was even older, and of even a higher level of artistocracy, and she lived in a house so big it had its own name — Hardimont. Margie Biggs was the widow of James Crawford Biggs, who, in addition to serving as dean of UNC’s law school and being founder of the state’s bar association, served as solicitor general under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Inside the country manor home, when her husband was still alive, they entertained the likes of FDR, Adlai Stevenson and William Jennings Bryan, and held large and lavish parties, it is said, that featured silver service for up to 500 people."

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Reciprocal Journals available at Tuesday night's meeting

The following journals were received by Wakecogen within the last month.

Rowan - June 2019,
Alleghany - Summer 2019
Broad River - Aug 2019
Wilson - Aug 2019

***Please note*** as our location is changing in prep for ORL renovation, Linda Hames (Correspondence Secretary), will have these available for review at our next meeting at Cameron Village Regional Library.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wake Wed - Bloomsbury Park c.1912

Bloomsbury Park once hosted a roller coaster and a carousel. Both are shown in the photo below.


Bloomsbury Park was built in 1912 as the last stop on the Glenwood Trolley line. The park was the finest amusement destination in Raleigh for almost a decade. By 1920, its popularity had waned. Perhaps the stress of the war and the Spanish Flu epidemic had stolen residents attention for more practical pursuits.

Bloomsbury Park is just a distant memory now, but portions of it remain for those nostalgic for old Raleigh lore. The carousel is easy to find, now restored and residing at Pullen Park. The other fixtures - the roller coaster, the trolley stop, and the dance pavilion - require a keener eye. Thankfully, Heather Leah, has that keen eye and has done the exploring for us. Please take a minute to read her article for ABC11 news. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

August Events Update

Several events of note happening in the next few weeks:

This coming Saturday, Aug. 24 from 9-12 @ Edgecombe Community College, Historic Preservation Program offers a Census records workshop with focus on population, agriculture, mortality, and industrial records and finding valuable clues within. Contact ECC HPP for fees and details, (252) 618-6653.

Image may contain: text
Next Tuesday, Aug. 27,Wake County Genealogical Society meeting and presentation.  6:30pm-8:15pm @ Cameron Village Regional Library. Topic: DNA Q& A. Details on WakeCoGen homepage.

Sept 4. NCGS Live Webinar: Mysterious Relatives. Speaker: Ari Wilkins. 7pm. (NCGS members only) Details

Sept. 7 & 8, Wake county Libraries, Oasis Spaces- NC Green Book Project. See this post for details.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Hogg Dortch House

These photos certainly capture old Raleigh. Take a moment to appreciate the leafy grand entrance and oak filled lawn that graced the Hogg Dorch house in central Raleigh. The graceful old home sat on the block bounded by Wilmington, Lane, Blount and Jones Streets. If that location sounds familiar to you, it should. That is the location of the NC Archives building.

The home was built in 1850 by Dr. Thomsas Devereux Hogg. It originally filled the whole block.
The Union army may have housed officers here during the war while the troops camped on the grounds.

Descendants of the Hogg family lived here until Dr. Hogg's grandaughter, Sally, passed in 1951. In 1962 the grounds were razed when construction began for the Archives and History building.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Event Notice: Green Book Project Lecture Sept 7 and Sept 8

This lecture will occur twice in early September. Olivia Raney Local History Library will host from 11am - 1:30pm on September 7. Richard B. Harrison Library will host from 2pm - 4pm on Sunday, September 8.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wake Wednesday - NC State Capitol c. 1880s

This is what the State Capitol building and grounds must have looked like to your Great-great Grandparents on a hot August afternoon in the 1880's.
I bet it has been a really long time since an oxcart was seen there!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wake Wednesday - California Restaurant

I got really curious about the California Restaurant from a published Thanksgiving menu that I had written about previously. I have looked high and low for that menu so I could share it here, but no luck. I will share it if I find it. If you find it first, help a girl out, please?

I did some research and reading about the California.  I found some really interesting facts about it, especially the evolution from fruit store to restaurant then to clothing store. It was featured in a write up on the Goodnight Raleigh blog back about 2012. 

The history of the California is really fascinating, especially if you have these surnames in your tree:
Vernakes, Stathacos, Adler.

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Monday, July 29, 2019

DNA Handout for July WCGS meeting - WATO tool

Presented by Jean Lansford, July 23, 2019

We had a great turnout and a powerhouse DNA topic! Thanks, Jean.

The full handout will be published at the WCGS website shortly. Our webmaster is traveling.  In the meantime the links here will get you started.


Science the Heck Out of Your DNA Series, Leah LaPerle Larkin, The DNA Geek
 Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki 

Tools at DNAPainter

WATO Tree Template

GreenShot Screen Shot and Image Editor


This includes the slides from the presentation. It will walk you thru the process.
Check here: Summer of DNA (2019) Handouts

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Olivia Raney Library - Original Location

"...Olivia Raney Library, once known as Raleigh’s 'Taj Mahal.' The beautifully detailed Italian Renaissance building was erected in 1899, but sadly, this Hillsboro St. landmark is now long gone."
It was replaced by the more modern version at 4016 Carya Dr in Raleigh in the mid 60's. Now, as the current facility awaits its own impending update, we can look back to enjoy this beautiful library building and its interesting local history. Many lovely relics of the original, including the tops of the Italianate columns, exist inside the entryway of current building. I sincerely hope that all these mementos of Raleigh past will be preserved in the coming makeover.

Visit Good Night Raleigh for the back story and some wonderful old photos of the original ORL that stood at the corner of Hillsborough and Salisbury Streets.

Olivia Raney Library, Raleigh, NC  08/17/12

Olivia Raney Library, Raleigh, NC  04/11/2014

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Seaboard Airline Depot

We all know it today as Logan's Nursery, but in its heyday, Seaboard Air Line Railroad Depot was a bustling place. It was our gateway to points north and the sunny south.

Folks waiting to board train at Seaboard Airline Depot! (source)
Logan's now (source)

The Orange Blossom Special regularly came thru Raleigh.
Whether you passed through its walls to board a train, or had an ancestor who worked there at its height of popularity, you will enjoy these links that feed our "nostalgic for rail travel" moment.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Wake Wednesday - FamilySearch Wiki - Wake County

Have you used the wiki for Wake county in your research. It is a great place to check for resource locations and contact points.  You will find info on church, land, military and probate records, as well as maps and county history and border changes. Check it out. There is a wealth of information there. It is a good place to start if you are just beginning your Wake County research.

Visit the wiki and be sure to scroll all the way down the page or you might miss something!

Return to the WakeCoGen Website

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Followup to Leeds Color Sorting DNA Matches presentation WCGS - June 25

Followup to last weeks Leeds presentation - 

In my effort to cover the topic in the time allowed, I was using a very simplified data set that was edited (think one of those home shows) for time. 

If you are trying to create your own spreadsheet from memory of my steps, take heart, Dana Leeds will walk you thru in her blog posts (Links in the handout and here). 

I wish you much fun and success. As always start small and give yourself permission to start over when you start to get the hang of it.

I like this description too.

Good luck with your DNA Match sorting!

Cyndi Deal

PS - Also, keep watching the Summer of DNA link at the top of the blog home page. All handouts and links will be posted there for reference.

Return to the WakeCoGen Website