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! 

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