Wake County Genealogical Society, North Carolina
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Resources for African American Research

With the election of Saundra as WCGS’s first Diversity Officer, we want to highlight some of the resources available on our site for supporting African-American research - one of which was assembled by Saundra!  Many of these resources (and more) can be found within the Research Resources section of our website. Under the Articles and Handouts page, there is a section dedicated to items relevant to African-American research.  These are PDF files which provide resource lists and/or links to repositories.  Here you can find Saundra’s handout “Tracing Your Roots” and two articles from our Wake Genealogy Watch newsletter covering enslaved person research and links to Juneteenth videos from Family Search.
When looking on the Wake Research Links page, you can sort by the “African-American” category to narrow the links to dedicated topics.  Here you will find searchable links to college catalogs from Latta University, Shaw University, and the Leonard Medical School of Shaw.  These catalogs cover various years from 1876 to 1920 and list the students, faculty, and for some catalogs the alumni.  But don’t just limit your search to items under the AF-AM Category.  If your ancestor was from Raleigh, be sure to check the links to Raleigh City Directories (broken series 1881 to 1921).   Looking under “Baptist Records,” a search for African American returned 64 hits across the state including the Wake County cities of Wake Forest, Holly Springs, Apex and Wendell.  Many of these records are from the nineteenth century and include membership rolls.  Did you ancestor own land in Wake County?  Then check our direct link to the Wake County Register of Deeds.  Our county is one of the few which has all the deeds online.
Our Wake Cemetery Project is another great resource for African-American research.  You can perform a category search within the various townships to easily locate AF-AM cemeteries.  This resource will provide the location of the cemetery and in many cases transcriptions of the headstones.  Here you will find listings for small family cemeteries which are not included on Find-A-Grave.  And even for instances where the cemetery is listed on Find-A-Grave, you may find our resource has a more complete listing either because Find-A-Grave is incomplete or because headstones were missing by the time the information was gathered for Find-A-Grave.  Our project also lists the purported locations for Slave cemeteries though gravestones are lacking.
Our journal Wake Treasures provides another resource for finding your African-American ancestors.  Check our Subject Index file for the topics of “Slaves”, “Free Negros”, “Slave Narratives”, and “Free Persons of Color” to find records which we have abstracted or transcribed for publication in the Journal.  This index covers the first 25 years of our journal, but more recently we have also transcribed the 1897 Raleigh School Census – “Colored”.  It can be found in Vol 29 Issue 1 through Vol 30 Issue 2.  Our Wake Genealogy Watch newsletter also contains articles of interest to African-American researchers, not just topic-specific but also for general articles on improving your genealogy skills.  A newsletter index is under development.
Our lists and links to support research in Wake County continues to grow. If you have an appropriate suggestion, please let our webmaster know, and be sure to check back with us often!

Wake Treasures Goes Public!

It is well-known how technology has changed the way information is disseminated.  The growth of on-line platforms are providing new ways of sharing and reaching a broader audience.  WCGS has seen these changes and over the years has expanded its outreach through our WCGS Facebook and WCGS Blog social-media pages.  We also modernized our website several years ago and then converted our newsletter distribution to an on-line digital format where issues can be stored and made available at the click of a mouse!  In the past hard-copy publications provided the standard format for keeping information available, but these are only useful when they can be conveniently accessed.  Thus, the next step for WCGS involved making changes to our Wake Treasures Journal.  This summer the Society voted to change our method for disseminating information usually found in the journal to other formats including our social media sites, our newsletter, and our website.  In the spirit of increasing our support to the genealogical community, the Board also voted to make all past issues of Wake Treasures available to both members and non-members alike!
Wake Treasures is the multi-award winning journal of the Wake County Genealogical Society.  Over the years the number of issues per year has varied from two to four.  From the Wake Treasures page you can download in pdf format, any or all of the Wake Treasures issues which have been published starting with the first issue in 1991 which includes an 1809 tax list from the Buffelow district and Wake Bastardy Bond files starting in 1772!  The December 2022 publication is the final issue of the Journal and it includes the 1896 Raleigh Tax List and the WW1 deaths from Wake County.   To help your search, there is a Subject Index available for the first 25 volumes of the Journal.  We hope you are successful in finding your Wake ancestors in the record transcriptions and abstractions available in these genealogical-rich issues.

Wake Genealogy Watch - Winter Edition

The Winter 2024 Issue (Vol. 7 Issue 2) 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, Winter 2024.
Features in this issue include:
  • A big change to our Wake Treasures Journal sharing policy that is sure to please members and new visitors alike!
  • An in-depth article about creating a family history in scrapbook style from Christopher Hunt Robertson. Chirstopher has shared several of his engaging ancestor scrapbooks with us in the past.
  • A feature article on the Shiloh Community near Morrisville. Shiloh started as a freedmen’s village in the 1830’s. One of our WCGS members has strong family ties to this community.
  • Focus on a little known and often overlooked resource – Historic and Architectural Resources of Wake County, North Carolina (ca. 1770 – 1941).
  • NCGS award recognition for one of our members.
  • Information on the upcoming Wilson Library Improvement Project and how it will affect researchers.
  • We note the passing of a tireless local history volunteer- Irene Olive Kittinger (1925 – 2023)
  • Raleigh Senior TechEd News.
  • Details of our Winter 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 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 newsletter@wakecogen.org.

WCGS on Lulu!

Did you know WCGS has publications of transcribed records which are available for purchase on Lulu? Visit the Wake County Genealogical Society Bookstore here.


March 26
Walk Where Your Ancestors Walked: Virtual Heritage Travel
Presenter:  Lisa Lisson Wondering what your ancestor's life was like? Heritage travel allows you to explore and connect more deeply with your family history. Can't ...

April 23
Genealogical Research at UNC-Chapel Hill's Wilson Special Collections Library
Presenter:  Jason Tomberlin Wilson Library is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries’ special collections.  Several collecting areas, including especially the ...

May 28
Are You Calling my Granddad a Liar? Family Lore and What to Do With It
Presenter:  Jessica Conklin   Oral family history can be spot-on accurate, or rife with misconceptions. Combining genealogy and pop psychology, we'll discuss some real examples ...

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