Thursday, March 28, 2024

2024 Wake County Genealogical Society Virtual Meetings - next - April 23, 2024

Join us for the next Virtual Meeting from WCGS!

Tuesday, April 23 @ 6:30pm - Virtual

Topic Genealogical Research at UNC-Chapel Hill's Wilson Special Collections Library 
Speaker: Jason Tomberlin, Head of Research & Instructional Services and Interim Curator of the North Carolina Collection

This virtual meeting and presentation is open to all, but registration is required.  *

Wilson Library is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries’ special collections.  Several collecting areas, including especially the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection, hold records that are of interest to individuals conducting genealogical research in North Carolina and many places across the American South.  Jason Tomberlin, will discuss categories of records, how to locate and access these materials, what you can expect to find online, and how the Wilson Library Improvement Project ( will impact access and opportunities.

*Please register by 4pm day of meeting.
*Please save your passcode and link for ease of entry at start time. 

Tuesday, May 28 @ 6:30pm - Virtual
TopicAre You Calling My Granddad a Liar? Family Lore and What To Do With It
Speaker: Jessica Conklin

Tuesday, Jun 25 @ 6:30pm - Virtual
Topic Digging for Gold in Colonial North Carolina Records
Speaker: Diane Richard, 
 MEng & MBA, Mosaic Research 

Tuesday, Jul 23  @ 6:30pm - Virtual
Topic:  Gravestone Symbolism 
Robin Simonton, Executive Director, Historic Oakwood Cemetery

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Raleigh: A Capital City Travel Guide

Now that the weather is starting to get milder, it is time to get out and explore. We need to stretch our legs and our minds. If you get an itch to explore locally, enjoy this wonderful offering from the National Park Service. 

Raleigh: A Capital City - A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
When you are ready to roam, you can open this handy travel guide right on your phone to choose your day's adventure. There is a wonderful portable travel guide features a a brief overview on the town and a list of historical sites to visit. (Note - Use the links at the footer of the page. Quite a few of the links in the header are broken. There is a wealth of information still active and accessed at the bottom of the page.)

One of these links you will want to keep handy is the one for the Early History of Raleigh (bottom of page) but is a wonderful thumbnail sketch of  Raleigh's history from the days of Joel Lane up to the growth of suburbs im the mid-20th Century. 

These other active links will help you plan the perfect outing:

African American History




Will you visit the Raleigh Power House that was built in 1910 to power coal fired steam driven turbines and has now been converted to a microbrewery/cafe?

Raleigh Electric Company Power House
1910 -1930
Or the Ritcher House?

Frank Lloyd Wright inspired,
designed in 1951 by George Matsumoto 

Or the Pullen Park Carousel?

Pullen Carousel was formerly located
At Bloomsbury Park from 1912 - 1915.
The carousel itself dates to 1900.

Or so many other cool "history in plain sight" places to visit on the list?

Take a hometown trip and enjoy your discoveries!

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Next WCGS in-person Meet Up - March 23 - City of Raleigh Museum

There are still some spots available to join our outing and lunch. Sign up here. See you Saturday!

Please join the Wake County Genealogical Society for our next quarterly meet up! Please sign up here so we can plan accordingly. We will gather for lunch after touring the museum at The Big Easy, a one-minute walk from the museum.  Please indicate in the comments section when signing up if you plan to join us for lunch.
Location:  City of Raleigh Museum,  220 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC.
Date:  Saturday, March 23, 2024
Time:  10:30am (museum tour), 12:15pm (lunch)
Parking:  Available in the Salisbury Lot, 202 S Salisbury Street. A 3 minute (0.1 mile) walk to the museum.  Street parking is also available. 

The City of Raleigh Museum curates temporary and permanent exhibits about the City’s people, places, and resources; maintains a collection of approximately 5,000 artifacts; and offers educational programming and tours.

Current exhibits include:
  • Women of Change: The Legacy of the 19th Amendment
  • The People’s Politics: Local Democracy in Raleigh
  • Raleigh’s City Flag: Lost and Found
  • Let Us March On: Raleigh's Journey Toward Civil Rights
  • Hello! We are Raleigh

Hope to see you there!  Questions?  Email -

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Raleigh Little Theater & Rose Garden, Old Fairgrounds, and Camp Polk

What could these three Raleigh icons have in common? Why the very ground they sat on! This parcel of land between Hillsborough, Horne and Brooks streets was home to all three.

The Old State Fairgrounds was established in 1873 and hosted the fair until 1925. 

At the outset of World War 1, the large flat expanse of land that was the Fairgrounds was appropriated for military housing and training as it made an excellent site for tank maneuvers.

At the end of the war the Fairground activities were in full swing again and two racetracks were built on the site. Over time, the financial burden of second racetrack resulted in the sale of the land to create the Fairmont subdivision,  but portions of that land proved too sunken and muddy for building. 

The City of Raleigh bought these compromised sites to create a park and the rose garden. The theater was built in the mid-1930s. 

As a frequent visitor to the Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden, I was very surprised to learn this important and varied history of the ground we tread as we "stop to smell the roses."  Let me direct your attention to the history page at the Raleigh Little Theater website. Now, you can appreciate this little corner of  Wake County in all its iterations - military, agricultural, fun, festive, horticultural and theatrical!

Tanks drill at Camp Polk in the future
location of the rose beds

Map showing the double race tracks, circa 1920
Courtesy Wake County Register of Deeds

Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden in full glory

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Monday, March 18, 2024

Upchurch and Allied Families Association Newsletter - March 2024

For those of you following UAFA, here is the latest news. 

Click on the link below to open the latest Footprints, the Upchurch and Allied Families newsletter. 

March 2024

**There is a Save-the-Date message in UAFA NEWS & INFORMATION for UAFAs Open House June 22, 2024.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Free Beginner DNA methodology videos from Diahan Southard at RootsTech 2024

This is a great set of webinars in you are just sticking your toe in the DNA pool or if you need a refresher on the basic methodology. All classes are free. The fifth class requires a registration but also links you to Diahan's other great video and blog content.  

Diahan Southard has been involved in Genetics and Genetic Genealogy for over 20 years. She started at Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, the pioneer genetic genealogy database. In the ensuing years, she has earned her place as one of the most popular teachers of genetic genealogy in the field today.

Enjoy this short video series created to get you started in the easy, no-pressure style that Diahan has become known for.


You Can DO the DNA #1Get Started (or Restarted)


You Can DO the DNA #2–Get Your Best Ethnicity Estimate


You Can DO the DNA #3-Light Your DNA Match List on Fire


You Can DO the DNA #4–See What DNA Success Looks Like: Real Case Studies


Last one is Free at Diahann’s website, but requires a registration -  

You Can DO the DNA #5- DNA is Easy Until it Isn't: A Slightly Complicated Case Study


Bonus freebie – the most important concept to master early in your DNA journey.

What is a Centimorgan? | Centimorgans Explained

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Women who shaped Wake County and more

In honor of Women's History Month, check out these notable women of Wake that have been featured in the WCGS blog. Let's all ponder and appreciate these women with ties to Wake county that have left their mark, made lasting contributions, and left the world a better place. 

Take a moment to acknowlege the women making history in your own family tree.

Margaret Wake Tryon - Mother of  Wake County

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Wake Genealogy Watch - Spring Edition 2024, v7.3 - Live Now at our website

The Spring 2024 Issue (Vol. 7, Issue 3) 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, Spring 2024.


Features in this issue include:

  • Read details of the recent unveiling ceremony for a new Historic Marker in Holly Springs.
  • We are seeking a webmaster volunteer. Read the details and volunteer information here.
  • Find RootsTech 2024 highlights including links to selected presentations, and the whole on demand schedule.
  • Research tip – Finding Prisoners and other special populations in post-1900 Census Records
  • Have fun exploring selected topics from the Wake Treasures Journal contents, now available to all. Featured collections are linked in this issue.
  • Explore the Biofile image collection online at Allied Families. This vast collection comprises years of research on the Upchurch and their allied families in Wake County and their migrations elsewhere.
  • Read about an AI image creation experiment using Bing Image Creator and other tools.
  • Improve your photo preservation skills with this on demand video workshop from the Missouri State Archives.
  • Learn about a very large donation of over 750 genealogy books that will benefit everyone with folks who migrated through Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

 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

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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Wake Wednesday - New Historical Marker Honors Christopher Woodward's Mill and Store in Holly Springs

A historical marker was installed in Holly Springs in late January. The marker commemorates Revolutionary War Patriot Christopher Woodward’s mill and store; and also nearby Rev War era Camp Middle Creek where Lt. Col. Hardy Sanders mustered troops to protect the North Carolina legislature during the Revolutionary War.  The marker was placed at Virginia Creek Drive near the corner of Sunset Lake Road, at the entrance to Creekside at Sunset Lake.  

Woodward operated a mill near this location as early as 1781. A frequent gathering place, the business milled lumber, ground corn and wheat, and ginned cotton. Tax records from 1819 indicate the Woodward family ran a retail store on the site, the first in this area.

Photo - Frances Collum Morgan

Frances Collum Morgan is a direct descendant of Christopher Woodward and a diligent researcher of all things Holly Springs. She spent many years gathering documentation of Woodward's mill, store and the nearby mustering ground used in the Revolutionary War. Frances was in attendance at the ceremony and provided this recap:

"I was very pleased with the marker. It was a small gathering. Mayor Sean Mayefskie spoke first outlining the historical significance of the Woodward land, followed by Angie Staheli who read my remarks for me. Others attending included council members Annie Drees and Danielle Hewetson, town clerk Linda McKinney, president of the HOA for Creekside at Sunset Lake Thomas McGinty who allowed the marker to be erected at the entrance to their community, a few of the nearby homeowners, at least two representatives for the DAR (I can't remember their names), and my friends Zack and Abbie Lanham who gave up their day to see to it that I could attend too."

More photos of the marker and event can be viewed on our Facebook page. The photos there are provided by Angie Ottosen Staheli, who attended with Frances and read her prepared statement. 

Wakecogen is grateful to Frances Collum Morgan for her tireless research and efforts to preserve Holly Springs history. She is well versed in all things Holly Springs and is my go to person when I have a question about that part of Wake County. She has always shared graciously with us. At this moment I have at least three sets of her research notes on various topics including this one that she has shared with WCGS. In the coming months, these notes will be made available for all to read thanks to Frances' generosity and her passion for preserving Holly Springs history. Updates will be provided as the files come online. 

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

Monday, March 4, 2024

RootTech 2024 Roundup

Artificial Intelligence made the biggest splash this year at RootsTech 2024. Check out the offerings and you will find AI applied to so many tasks in all areas of the genealogy world. The announcement that created the biggest shock waves came from FamilySearch. They have taken AI transcription technology and applied it - experimentally, so far - to their UNindexed  record sets. Their AI has the capability to transcribe handwriting, even old handwriting. I did a couple quick searches yesterday and it turned up results numbering in the hundreds to look through. This is an exciting new way to reseach my most stubbon elusive ancestors. Just FYI, you will find some shall we say "ODD" words included in  your transcriptions. The machine can only string together what it thinks it sees and sometimes that will surprise you. Poor sweet machine doesn't know that four letter words are four letter words... If that is what it sees, well, then you will see it too. Best to laugh and leave any sensitivities at the door.

Here is a link to the tool from FamilySearch and a blog post from Judy Russell She does a fine job of quickly walking us through the steps to return some new documents to review. 

FamilySearch Lab Tool - 

Judy Russell's post - 

Ancestry seems to be putting most of their energy these days into building and promoting their Family Story format and Facebook-like interface,  to engage younger generations into becoming curious about their family history via quick, small bite exposures using the redesigned home page and the My Ancestry Feed that they introduced last year. They also talked up their new ProTools (extra fee) introduce recently. This set of tools for working with and maintaing your family tree is basically the same maintenance tools that you would find on any good desktop family tree product - Advanced Filters, Tree Checker (duplicates, missing info), Charts and Reports, and enhanced Map Views. Details the Pro Tools are here

Ancestry is bringing their set of DNA Match tools closer to current industry standards by offering some upgrades in the early part of this year. The new tool offerings include a view how your share matches match each other and their sharing amounts (a tool My Heritage users have found useful for several years). This will be a great help to all of us. Other changes include a redesigned user experience for working with notes and color dots (and more dots and special dot icons), easier search features, and other enhancements. The Shared Match comparisons will be part of a paid upgrade. It is not clear at this point what will be part of the standard subscription and what will be fee based.  You can view Ancestry's DNA tools upgrade overview video here and Crista Cowan's feature presentation below.
What’s New at Ancestry® in 2024 - Crista Cowan 

Of course there are hours of  presentation content for all topics within the genealogy world generated at RootsTech each year. I found this video on finding records at FamilySearch most valuable this year. I have a lot of deep diving I need to do and this will certainly help. This webinar was packed with helpful tips. The video link is below. 
Where did you find that? Effective searches on - Debbie Gurtler

Another webinar that I really liked focused on writing. This webinar actuallly inspired me to sit down and start writing about my elusive ancestor the same day so I could see where there were holes were in his story. If you want to be inspired too, watch -

This was a fun research process demo. I have seen and used the Search Party method before and it is a nice way to get unstuck. 
Brick Wall Ancestors Need a Search Party - Janet Hovorka, Diahan Southard, Crista Cowan

Diahan Southard taught a four part series called You Can Do the DNA - This is a great series to watch whether you are just getting started working with your DNA Matches or are several years into the process. You never know what will spark a discovery and she has many good tips.
You Can Do the DNA - one,  twothreefour

On the DNA front there was also an nice panel discussion from the field's leading figures and a free commorative book that you can download. See the panel discussion here. 

Free digital copy of the book - So Far - Genetic Genealogy: The First 25 Years

Of course this just barely scratches the surface of the offerings at RootsTech. All the content generated over the last four days is available to view free in their content library. You can view this years content here and craft your own viewing party. Enjoy. 

RootsTech2024 Class Schedule - note that you will need to open the schedule for each day and theat there are several filters that you can use. 

The 3rd party vendor product announcements are usually as good as the presentations each year. If  you want to see the latest and greatest new tools coming our way, you will find them here. 

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