Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Follow up to the September 26 virtual meeting - AI and Genealogy

For all who participated in Tuesday night'ss presentation from Steve Little - Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy, the interactive handout and guidance is posted on our website. Please go to the temporary handout space on the homepage to gather the needed files. They are now posted and will remain through this coming Friday, Sep 29 at 8pm. 

Use in this order:

1) Transcript file - be sure to read the instructions from Steve in the description box.

2) Speaker Handout - After working through the conversion process, compare your results to this sample created by Steve.

3) Chat log - additional file from the meeting.

Have fun and best of luck if you are working through you first AI attempt.

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Wake Wednesday - The Life and Times of Lucius Griffis 1839 - 1918

This Reading Room Review is republished from the Wake Genealogy Watch newsletter, Fall 2023, p.3.

The Life and Times of Lucius Griffis (1839-1918): Including a Detailed Study of His Participation in the American Civil War (1861-1865), written by Brian Craig Griffis.  119 pp.

Brian Griffis shares this glimpse into his Wake County family story with us. He researched for years to discover and round out the context of his ancestor, Lucius Griffis. - CD 

Lucius was a Wake County native born and bred, a fatherless son who was  raised by two women. He was not much of a student and chose to pursue farming as soon as he could get away from the classroom.  He was a soldier, a deserter who paid the consequences and rejoined his unit, a soldier again drilling and marching all over the South without seeing any real battle action until a very pivotal moment. He was a husband and father of a family unit tragically broken by the war and its aftermath, a husband again twice over, a  veteran so crippled and debilitated from his injuries during the war that he spent his later years on the dole in the poorhouses of Raleigh.

That was my elevator speech version of Lucius' life. I am being deliberately brief here because Brian has done so much research on his 2nd Great grandfather over many years. He has done a masterful job of pushing past the easy task of snagging links at  You will find he has dug deep to find records that not only document Lucius' presence in the many phases of his life, but jaw dropping accounts of what his ancestor faced as a soldier, deserter,  and veteran.  Brian has also captured the desolation of Lucius and various family members as they struggle to survive in the chaotic place that was the Reconstruction South.  

Brian’s book will be of interest to a wide variety of readers’ interests including:

· Wake County research

· Civil War history in both North Carolina and Virginia especially those interested in the NC 47th’s role in battle and eyewitness accounts of battles and last days of the war

· Raleigh's occupation by Federal troops in the immediate aftermath of the war

· Social support and reform in the postbellum era

· History of the Wake County Home and Cemetery

Those seeking a model of best practices for research and family history writing will want to make time for a nice leisurely read to enjoy not only the story, but Brian’s strategy for “filling in the dash.”  Brian presents us with a richly told story of a Wake County man and his cohorts as they struggle through some  historically tumultuous events in our history.

In pressing beyond the standard data points of Birth, Marriage and Death records, Brian has made use of a great many alternate resources. These notably include:

· Eyewitness accounts of NC47th from published sketches of Captain Thorp, Co. A and Lieutenant Rogers, Co I, (Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-1865)

· Eyewitness accounts of Surrender at Appomattox

· Eyewitness accounts of the Federal occupation of Raleigh

· Lucius’ Confederate service file

· NARA Confederate Archives

· Articles and reports from newspapers on various topics throughout the biography

Brian has made careful and helpful use of his footnotes and source bibliography. He includes photos with  illustration credits. At the end, readers will find an Appendix with an eleven generation Griffis pedigree including the author and Lucius.

Click to read or download the PDF. Note that this is a large file and may take a minute or two to open. For printed copies or usage permission, you may contact the author at


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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Register for RootsTech 2024 - February 29 - March 2,2024. In Person or Online

RootsTech is the premier event to celebrate your heritage and other meaningful connections through a deeper understanding of family history and genealogy.
Come join us and discover your story at RootsTech 2024!

Registration is now open for both In Person  and  Online Acess. You can register for both at this RootsTech webpage link. This link is your all access pass to join in on the fun and education. 

Online attendance is free with registration. In-person options are a 1day pass for $69 and a 3day pass for $99. 

View the Class Preview List

View the Exhibitors List

RootsTech is the place to be for innovation in methodology, tools, and specialty skills including traditional research and Genetic Genealogy! Grab your spot. 

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Friends of Oberlin Village meeting - Monday, Sept 25 at 6pm

From FOV email dated 9/20/23:

Our next Friends of Oberlin Village meeting is Monday, September 25, 2023, and will be hybrid (subject to change) beginning at 6 p.m.

 Some items on the agenda this month: 

·  Board of Directors Strategic Planning Update

·  Committee Reports

Attending Virtually?  If you are interested in attending virtually and would like to receive the Zoom link to attend, please RSVP here preferably by 5 pm this Saturday, June 24, 2023.  *Should you have any technical difficulties, please send your request here

Attending In-Person?  For those interested in attending in person, the meeting will be held at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church located at 1023 Oberlin Road, please RSVP here *Should you have any technical difficulties, please send your request here

All attendees are asked to register in advance by clicking on the above email address to receive updates on the meeting status and location (virtual and in-person)

If you register for virtual attendance and have not received the Zoom link by Sunday afternoon, please let me know at friendsofoberlin@gmail.comRequests for the link, after 12 noon on Monday, may not be able to be answered. 

The June draft meeting minutes will be circulated to those attending this month's meeting and submit an RSVP


Please share any life events (celebrations, sympathies or concerns, etc.) with LaToya at

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Wake Wednesday - Family History within the boundaries of Umstead Park

Library of Congress, taken by Carl Mydans, a photographer with the Farm Security Administration

While browsing Facebook one day I happened upon a post in a Raleigh group about the Wake County families that settled on and worked the land that would become Umstead Park. There were some delighful photos taken in 1936 by a photographer for the Farm Security Administration. The post and comments are a goldmine of family history tidbits and names of the families associated with the land. If you are on Facebook, I encourage you to take a look at the post in the public group called ''You know you grew up in Raleigh when...". It is worth requesting membership just to read this post. Link to post.  **Bonus points if you bother to drop by the FB post for the hundreds of comments. There are tons of Wake C0unty local history and surnames mentioned in it.

Surnames - King, Page, Young, Dillard, Page, Sorrell, McGee.

For a more in depth look at the story of the families that were displaced from the Umstead Park land when the federal government bought up the land to be converted by the Civilian Conservation Corps, visit Abandoned mills, homes, graves hidden in woods at Umstead Park date back to 1800s, a Hidden History feature on WRAL from Heather Leah. Heather has covered the area in depth including the farms, mills, gravesites and even some explosives magazines hidden on the land. There are also several family photos and reunion photos. Do check this out if you had family in this area. 

Also Associated - Ebenezer Church and Surnames - Jones, Blake, Warren, Brown.

"Anywhere you see tulips or a large oak tree, that's where someone's front yard used to be..." - Reggie King

Additional information on the families of Umstead Park appear in this book:  Stories in Stone: Memories from a Bygone Farming Community in North Carolina by Tom Weber

Wake Cemetery Census, c. 1978

Since the post was originally compiled, several of the cemeteries on the Umstead land have been included in the Wake County Cemetery Survey image project.  (Linked to project (bold) and additional information where available.)

Sid Brown grave site- location only, but referenced in this Walter Magazine article -

Umstead State Park aka King Family Cemetery - location only in survey, but referenced in above Facebook post and on Find a Grave.

Warren/Haley - 30 marked graves with map and name list in the survey. More recent surveys on Find a Grave and Cemetery Census reflect only 17 graves.

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - Homepage | WCGS Events | Join WCGS | Publications | Wake Cemetery Survey Images | Society Surnames | Digital Resources | History Resources | More Links and Resources | Contact

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Wake County has lost a legend - Irene Olive Kittinger 1925 - 2023

It is my sad task to report the passing of Irene Olive Kittinger. She was so vibrant and committed to Wake County history. She was the driving force behind the original Wake County Cemetery Census; an active participant in the Cary Historical Society; and a founding member of The Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel in Cary. In addition, she was a charter and Organizing member of the Asbury Station Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She won many awards and accolades for her roles as historian and preservationist.

You may read the full obituary here -

She has left such a legacy for all of us. Wake researchers owe her so much. We at the Wake County Genealogy Society are honored to preserve a portion of her legacy and keep it in the forefront of Wake County research.

Irene Olive Kittinger
July 8, 1925 - September 14, 2023

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Wake Wednesday - Old City Auditorium and Municipal Building

Do you remember the old City Auditorium  and Municipal Building that stood at the corner of Davie and Fayetteville Streets until 1960?

Enjoy this vintage postcard view. More information on the Auditorium and the vintage postcard depicting it can be found a Goodnight Raleigh. Click through. It is an interesting read.

The remnants of this building are repurposed into the ground level of the Sir Walter Apartments. If you use the Google maps Street View as shown below, you can definitely see the bones of the Old Auditorium supporting the building and lending a little Beaux Arts turn of the century charm. 

Location shown on the top down Google map

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Wake Wednesday - Wake County Yearbooks for Filling in the Gaps

Shared by WCGS member and webmaster - Cynthia Gage

Cynthia found this collection when she was searching for something else. I am so glad she shared it with me. Who can resist old yearbooks? 

The collection includes Wake County high school and junior high books from a time span of 1909 to 2009. Cynthia also mentions that she found some reunion booklets, university catalogs and Elizabeth Murray Reid's Wake History Book through this link. The collection is digitized and offered online by Olivia Raney Local History Library.

What fun to be able to find your parent or grandparents in these pages. Maybe you will find your own photo or that of a cherished friend. Bonus gold is lurking in the ads that were included. Looking for a small family business? You may find evidence of it this way. 

Enjoy these delightful images from the 1913 Raleigh High School Rattler

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - Homepage | WCGS Events | Join WCGS | Publications | Wake Cemetery Survey Images | Society Surnames | Digital Resources | History Resources | More Links and Resources | Contact