Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Neuse River

Did you know the Neuse River is about 2 million years old and named for the Neusiok Indian tribe? It is known as "the River of Peace."

"At an estimated 2 million years, the Neuse is one of the oldest rivers in the US. Archaeological evidence indicates the first humans settled around the Neuse as early as 14,000 years ago."

Named by English explorer Arthur Barlowe in 1584 for the Neusiok Indians, the river was called  Gow-ta-no, or ‘‘pine in waterby the Tuscarora Indians who thrived along its banks. 


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

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Juneteenth Reader - From Galveston to Raleigh

Juneteenth commemorates the proclamation delivered on June 19, 1865 by Union Army General Gordon Granger in Galveston. The proclamation ordered the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas. Enjoy this collection of articles that give context to the Juneteenth holiday. Happy Freedom Day.

General Order, No. 3


This clipping appeared in the Galveston Tri-Weekly News on June 20, 1865.

The new Juneteenth federal holiday traces its roots to Galveston, Texas - NPR

Read or listen to John Burnett's NPR report on the history of Juneteenth,  its origins, and evolution of the holiday. Interviews with locals describe what it was like to grow up with this history and how in impacted their own family members in intimate ways.

The Juneteenth Legacy Project

The Juneteenth Legacy Project's mission is "to recontextualize Juneteenth as a pivotal moment in the arc of U.S. history while properly telling the story of its genesis, and historical and contemporary relevance." Visit their website for the complete story of Juneteenth including the little known narrative of the presence of several regiments of U.S. Colored Troops present at Galveston Island at the time.


What did Juneteenth mean for the thousands freed from slavery in Raleigh? 

Read or watch the video of Heather Leah's WRAL report of early emancipation days in Raleigh. 

"It's hard to imagine a time when downtown Raleigh was instead full of sprawling fields, plantation houses - and hundreds of enslaved individuals....

When emancipation finally came to Raleigh, thousands of suddenly freed men and women flooded from those plantations and into the surrounding city. Most had no money, no homes, no formal education. There were no churches, schools or medical facilities to serve the once-enslaved population. How did a generation of freed families build a life for themselves from nothing?

"African-Americans, after slavery, decided to get together and build, brick-by-brick, a community and a sense of ownership that allowed them to thrive," says Grady Bussey, center director for the John Chavis Memorial Park."

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Wake Wednesday - The Blue, The Gray & Reconstruction

The NC Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction History Center is a repository of accounts from the war, emancipation and reconstruction that allows us access to accounts of this pivotal period without even leaving home. 


Here are three of the sixteen accounts currently contained within the Wake County collection at the center. 

The Blue - an account of Sherman's march through Wake County.

The Gray - "The Capture and Imprisonment of Luther Mills, 1865," a first hand account of a Confederate soldier's capture and captivity at Johnson Island Prison.  (Note: Allow the page to scroll down to the photos of the account to start reading.)

Reconstruction - The State Convention of the Colored People of North Carolina at Raleigh, September 29, 1865

If you are studying your Civil War era ancestors, the NC Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is a source rich with historical context. Be sure you check out accounts from all NC counties.

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

Sunday, June 9, 2024

June Meetup - NC Museum of History - "Juneteenth: In Song and Word" - June 21 6pm

WCGS Quarterly Meet Up:  June 21 at 6:30pm at the NC Museum of History - Juneteenth: In Song and Word

Join WCGS at our next meetup. We will meet at the NC Museum of History for their presentation to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth with an evening of poetry and music. Our group should gather at 6pm.  The presentation starts at 6:30pm

General admission tickets are free but limited, please register early. Seats are not assigned. 

Register here.  

Juneteenth: In Song and Word

**WCGS will meet in the lobby at 6:00pm to enter the auditorium together so we can sit together. NC Museum of History, 5 East Edenton StreetRaleighNC 27601.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

HPOWEB 2.0 - a fantastic resource for your NC family history research

You have heard me talk before about seeking out historical and architectural surveys to supplement and round out your research. These documents include surveys for homes, businesses, churches, cemeteries and other significant structures that may warrent historic preservation, protection and/or listing on the National Historic Register. Whether the focus structure qualifies for historic recognition or not, the document always includes:

  • a biography of the people involved 
  • many quality resources that are useful for historical context

Read more about the surveys here in the Wake Genealogy Watch Winter 2024 issueWake Genealogy Watch Winter 2024 issue, starting on page 10.

The North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office GIS Web Service was created as an aid to planning and research. Site locations and boundaries are drawn from georeferenced scans of National Register and historic property survey maps supplemented with aerial photography, county tax parcel layers and other sources. Data layers are updated daily from the current HPO geodata base. 

The map you see here lit up like a Christmas tree shows the greater portions of Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatam counties with color coded hyperlinks to the various historical and architectural surveys done for the area. These marked locations can be viewed over other useful maps in the background such as streets, USGS topos, aerial imagery or light/dark gray canvases. 

HPOWEB 2.0 Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatam counties.
Click through to view a live version.

Here is a portion of the map near Sherron Harris Reservoir showing Holleman's Crossroads. There are at least four locations to research here. Each of these locations would appear in one or more reports. For this example we are looking at WA1027 Collins Grove Baptist Church. 

Clicking the green dot will produce a focus box full of information as seen below. Note that this box has a right hand scroll. Look an all the info as it varies for each property. This one includes street address and GPS location along with year surveyed.


We can often google the Id number and name with "Wake Historical Survey" to get results. EX: [wa1027 collins grove baptist church historical survey]. It is also worth searching with the words Wake Historical Architectural Survey. EX: ["Collins grove" church historic architectural survey]. In this case the second search produced the best results. It found the one mention in the first search along several others. Here are some results the searches returned.

1) New Hill Historic District Survey - WA1101 appears in both searches. WA1027 is referenced within. Use your browser "find" function to zoom right to the reference. 

3) National Park Service - Historic and Architectural Resources of Wake County, North Carolina (ca. 1770-1941). WA10027 is included here in a section on religous influences in Wake County from 1865-1885 and produces perhaps the best find of all. The summary of this study states that Collins Grove Baptist Church WA1027 was put on the study list for the National Historic Register. 
"Collins Grove Baptist Church in the Buckhorn area of southwestern Wake was organized in 1870 with 59 members who met for about a year in a dwelling which also served as a school. The congregation some years later built a frame, simple Gothic Revival-style sanctuary which is still in use (WA 1027). By 1880 the church's membership had almost doubled, staying at about 100 through the late nineteenth and 110 early twentieth centuries."
4) a duplicate of the previous report was included in Wake County records.

"Sorrell’s Grove Baptist Church was founded around the turn of the twentieth century and was received as a member of the Raleigh Baptist Association in 1901 (Raleigh Baptist Association [RBA] 1901). The church was an offshoot of nearby Cedar Fork Baptist Church (DH2224; The Durham Sun 1955). In its early years, the small congregation shared the services of a pastor with Collins Grove (WA1027; SL 1991) and Bethlehem Baptist Churches (RBA 1908)."

In addition to reading the mentions within the documents, always check the sources. You will discover many materials that hold potential for your own research. 

Enjoy browsing the HPOWEB map. Remember, this works for the whole state of  NC, not just Wake County! 

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - Homepage | WCGS Events | Join WCGS | Publications | Wake Cemetery Survey Images |Digital Resources | History Resources | More Links and Resources | Wake Cemetery Survey c. 1978 online | Contact

Monday, June 3, 2024

Wake Genealogy Watch - Summer Edition 2024, v7.4 - Live Now at our website

The Summer 2024 Issue (Vol. 7 Issue 4) 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, Summer 2024.

  Features in this issue include:

  • Our updated slate of officers for the WCGS Board of Directors

  • Past president Carla Stancil reflects on the progress and challenges faced by our society during her tenure.

  • Ed Morris, retired executive director of the Wake Forest Historical Museum, shares his vast knowledge of Major General Calvin Jones, M.D. of Wake Forest. You will be amazed at his many accomplishments and contributions to Wake County.

  • Cynthia Gage made some very special discoveries about her ancestors using the resources at places of higher learning. She shares her tips with us.

  • A clean up and preservation guide to help you know what to do and who to contact for help saving your aging family cemeteries in need of care.

  • A new resource to help you get started researching the Wake Cemetery Survey Image records. Come check out our quick tips for successful searches.

  • Details of our Summer 2024 Events Calendar.

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 page link to view this and all past newsletter content. 

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

Visit the WCGS Blog for more events, late breaking news, tutorials, updates, and other special posts.