I had occasionally gently prodded the owner of the Wilson Daily Times to get their back catalog digitized so that people could use a searchable database instead losing their eyesight futilely searching for articles on microfilm.
And guess what? Yes, you are correct! He finally got it digitized through NewspaperArchive.com
But there is a catch. You can only search it at the Wilson County Public Library. It’s not a bad catch.
William and Sarah Bryant are selling land to the renowned (and maybe a little infamous) Napoleon Hagans in 1871.
Plat of Edmundson land being sold to Napoleon Hagans. Did you know I used to be a land surveyor?
Last week when Lisa Henderson was in town to give her presentation, she also brought by a collection of family deeds for me to digitize. My focus at graduate school was in the digitization of historic, archival records so anytime someone brings me musty old documents, I am very happy. These deeds are records that may not be in the state archives and if they are they are not easy to access. Very few of North Carolina’s historical records have been digitized so anyone that wants access has to plop down at the archives and sort through them. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, all of their holdings will be digitized, but I am not holding my breath because it is expensive and requires a lot of man (or woman) hours. This also calls for a state government that wants to invest in the future. So read into that what you will.
The deeds involve many of the families that Lisa talks about so eloquently on her Scuffalong blog, especially the families allied to Napoleon Hagans in and around Wayne County, NC. I believe that the earliest date of the deeds are 1847, which makes these gems genealogical gold for African Americans researching this period where very few records exist. After I am finished digitizing and creating metadata for them (hopefully soon) I will put the images up on the Wilson County Local History and Genealogy Library Flickr page for all to enjoy!
If you have photos of Wilson County’s past bring them to the Local History Room to be digitized for future generations.
Yesterday I had the good fortune of touring UNC Chapel Hill’s Digital Heritage Center. They have a great setup in a beautiful building. I was really impressed with their Scribe system that they got from the Internet Archive. It is the fastest way that I have seen to digitize a book. It sure beats a flatbed scanner. I was also there to deliver 33 high school yearbooks for their digital yearbook project and 329 pages of material for the ongoing Wilson County’s Greatest Generation digital project.
Also if anyone in Wilson County who is reading this has any yearbook, especially from any small schools and African American high schools, that they want to donate to the library or let us digitize, please let me know.
Here is a link to ten North Carolina County online historical directories. Unfortunately Wilson County isn’t among them. But that is is a digitization project that could happen in the near future.