Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Genealogy Travel: A North Carolina Treasure

310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC

Do you have North Carolina roots? If you do a trip to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
would be beneficial. It is a beautiful library with many resources for genealogists. Take the elevator to the third floor, turn left and step into the spacious Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room. Be sure you have set aside lots of time to explore the many materials inside. Their booklet boasts, “The Robinson – Spangler Carolina Room holds the largest local history & genealogy collection in a public library in North Carolina.”

I wanted to uncover more about these surnames, all linked to my father’s Brown roots.

Ashley, Brown, Dillon, Kelly & Lawrence

Before my recent visit I checked out their website to investigate their holdings. There is a long list including:
·         Biographical & Surname Files
·         Books & Archival Materials
·         Federal Census & County Records
·         Local Government Documents
·         Historic Photographic Collection
·         Maps
·         Manuscripts
·         Newspapers & Periodicals

The list of resources looked very promising so during my recent visit to my son & his wife, my son & I spent an afternoon in the Carolina Room. We were greeted with a smile from the librarian and I asked her about the Surname Files. I had checked the list of surnames online and discovered they had files for Brown, Brumfield, Dillon & Lawrence. The librarian gave me a tour of the room, showing me the location of the books and microfilm resources and then went off to get the Surname Files for us.

My son & I settled ourselves at one of the large tables in the sunny room & got started to look through those files, one surname at a time. Unfortunately, none of the materials inside those folders matched what we now know about those branches. I hesitate to say they are not ‘our people’ because, when we learn more we may discover that they are. Next, we went to the shelves of printed family histories, looking for the same surnames. Once again we were disappointed.

Our next step was to search the shelves for information on the North Carolina counties where our families had lived. This is where we started finding our people!

I had prepared a quick ‘cheat sheet’ for the people we were looking for & their locations. This came in handy because there was no place to plug in my laptop & my battery does not have a long life. It was also helpful for my son who doesn’t deal with genealogy often. It looked like this:

BROWN         Hardy, c 1771 – c 1799        Jones Co., NC
                   Edward, 1730 – 1797            Jones Co., NC
DILLON         Richard, 1745 – 1833           no specific county
                   Theophilious, b 1796          Bertie Co., NC
                   Willis D., b 1787                Bertie Co., NC
KELLY           William S., m 1776            no specific county
LAWRENCE    Humphrey, c 1726 – 1772    Bertie Co., NC
                   Peter, c 1780 – 1852           Bertie & Edgecombe Cos., NC

We started pulling books for Bertie, Edgecombe & Jones counties. We pulled anything that covered the years our people lived in those locations. Soon we had piles of books on our table & we were telling each other that we had found information on our families! My son went out & added more money to our parking meter twice. Zae H. Gwynn’s book on Jones County had two dozen references to our Brown ancestors.

Almasy, Sandra L. Bertie County, North Carolina Wills 1761 - 1780. Joliet, Illinois: Kensington Glen Publishing, 1990.
· Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 - 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1965. We used Volumes IV, V & VI.
· Dunstan, Edythe Smith. The Bertie Index for Courthouse Records of North Carolina, 1720 - 1875. 1966.
· Gammon, David B. Abstracts of Wills; Bertie County, North Carolina; 1722 - 1774. Raleigh, North Carolina: 1990. His books covered 1774 – 1797 &1781 – 1797.
· Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963.
· Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1781 thru 1787. Book V, Durham, North Carolina: 1982. We used Books I – VI, covering the years 1724 – 1792.
· Holcombe, Brent Howard. Bute County, North Carolina Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1767 - 1779. Columbia, SC: 1988.
· Watson, Joseph W. Kinfolks of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, 1788 - 1855. Rocky Mount, North Carolina: 1969.

We only left the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library when closing time was rapidly approaching and we needed to start our drive before the traffic got too heavy. It is definitely a place I will return to when I can!

1 comment:

  1. Don't you hate it when a resource seems so promising yet isn't helpful? You begin to think you're crazy. I'm glad you finally hit on some good information that kept you note-taking furiously until closing time. That always feels good!


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