GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

November, 2013:

Explore Western North Carolina

Share Button

Find out about new additions to the collections of the Government and Heritage Library:


Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina: A Guide to Music Sites, Artists, and Traditions of the Mountains and Foothills, by Fred Fussell, with Steve Kruger. The author presents a guidebook to the legendary music and dance traditions of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains organized by region and county. Learn about the rich musical worlds of bluegrass, old-time, gospel,  string band and the traditional dances of clogging, flatfooting among others. Included is a CD with 26 song tracks by profiled musicians spanning nine decades, now available for the first time.





Hiking and Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need, Including GPS, Detailed Maps, & More, by Leonard Adkins. This comprehensive guidebook provides detailed descriptions of every official trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the Appalachian Trail and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Detailed information- trail length, difficulty, wheelchair accessibility, history, lodging, campgrounds, dining, tunnel heights (for RVs), elevation changes (bicyclists), wildflower bloom calendars, and sightseeing information on nearby towns – makes it easy to plan an entire trip.




Lake Lure, by Jim Proctor. Brimming with vintage photographs, the history of Lake Lure, “Gem of the Carolinas,” is revealed, from its founding in 1902 through the life and times of this idyllic destination visited by famous figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and F. Scott Fitzgerald.



Library materials will be available for check out at the Government and Heritage Library by North Carolina State Agency employees or may be borrowed through an interlibrary loan request at your local public library. To view other new library acquisitions, click here.

State Doc Pick of the Week : Making muscadine table wine

Share Button

courtesy of

With North Carolina’s history of moonshiners and car chases, the brewing of alcohol at home is in the state’s blood. When living in North Carolina, you’d be hard pressed to find either a local restaurant that doesn’t serve a locally brewed beer, or someone who doesn’t brew right in their own home. And beer is not the only alcoholic beverage that flourishes in the state. North Carolina is home to more than 400 vineyards and 100 wineries, and is home to the nation’s oldest cultivated grapevine. The “Mother Vine”  on Roanoke Island is more than 400 years old and  was first discovered by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584.

This document, produced by the Department of Agriculture, provides instructions on how to make table wine in your very own home from the state fruit of North Carolina-  the muscadine grape. Table wine contains 14% or less alcohol, and is meant to refresh the palate and compliment a meal without ruining your appetite. There are two sets of instructions in this publication- first there are detailed instructions for the serious amateur who wishes to produce the finest wine possible at home with the lowest chance of failure; and second, there are simple instructions for those who require minimum equipment and attention to detail.  You can either make red or white wine, and you can use these instructions for other types of grapes grown in North Carolina.

This publication can be downloaded, printed, saved, and viewed by clicking here.

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things…

Share Button

by T. Mike Childs

You may or may not know about the searchable Proficio-based database utilized by the Department of Cultural Resources: ( It’s a huge collection documenting all of the artifacts at the various different cultural heritage organizations within the DCR. Many entries have one or more photographs of the artifact, or the artifact is a photograph itself.  Here’s what’s included:

Box of Ritual Items, Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.In my never-ending quest to locate images to illustrate NCpedia articles as part of my job, I have used hundreds, yes hundreds of images stored in this database. Many, many thanks are due to those responsible for keeping up this great, unsung resource! (especially John Campbell who tolerated my too many emails correcting typos!) As Julie Andrews sang in the classic musical The Sound of Music, here are “a few of my favorite things” from the database. One is mysterious, one is serious, one is a frightening reminder of our troubled past.

The first is a “Box of Ritual Items” (accession #: H.1955.46.1) used by the North Carolina Grange, aka, The Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, an organization that gave farmers a political voice after the Civil War. Inside a special box are a miniature shovel, plow, axe, hoe, sickle, five pointed star and a machete-looking thing. What was the purpose of these items, so carefully stored in their box with custom-made spot for each item? What was the ritual?! It makes it seem the Grange had a secret-society-type aspect, similar to other organizations like the Freemasons and Odd Fellows.

Red Shirt uniform, circa 1898-1900. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.There are lots of garments in the DCR collection, some military uniforms, some that belonged to the famous, but this anonymous article of clothing played a big role in turn-of-the-last-century North Carolina politics. It’s a red shirt (accession #: H.19XX.330.32) that illustrates the NCPedia article on, guess what, the Red Shirts, an arm of the Democratic party that acted as intimidating goon squads in the 1898 and 1900 elections to ensure that Democrats and white supremacy prevailed. When I realized I could use a picture of the actual uniform worn by the Red Shirts, that’s when I really started to appreciate the depth and breadth of the DCR database.

Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.Etchings, engravings, prints, paintings, photos, in books, in pamphlets, in frames, this is where you look for an image of something, right? How about on fine china? No? Well, this not-so-simple pitcher (accession #: H.1933.12.51) preserves an interesting part of North Carolina history: Shell Castle.  For about 20 years (1790-1810), Shell Castle was the main port of North Carolina, and featured one of the state’s first lighthouses. Wealthy merchant John Wallace, who liked folks to call him “governor,” co-owned the place, and had this pitcher custom made for him in England, and shipped over. Now that’s got to have cost a pretty penny back in the day. It’s the only illustration I know of showing what Shell Castle looked like. History is quirky, and we have one man’s wealth, vanity, and fortunate lack of clumsy, butter-fingered servants to thank for this view of Shell Castle.

Check out the DCR database sometime. I recommend using the Advanced Search page, since you can set the number of results displayed from the default of 10 up to 50.

Family History Fair Wrap Up

Share Button

Family-History-2013-WEB-TeaserA great big thank you goes out to all who attended the 2nd Annual Family History Fair presented by the Government and Heritage Library, State Archives of North Carolina and the Friends of the Archives.

Thank you to our speakers, exhibitors ,and attendees as well! It was a wonderful success!  A special thank you goes to the support of the Friends of the Archives.

Remember as you can always use the Government and Heritage Library and the State Archives of North Carolina’s resources to research your family history. For more information please go here:

Government and Heritage Library:                                                                     

Email:   Phone: 919.807.7450

State Archives of North Carolina:                                                                                     

Email:  Phone: 919.807.7310

Photographs from the 2nd Saturdays Family History Fair

All photographs by Mathew Waehner, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

State Archivist Sarah Koonts

State Archivist Sarah Koonts welcomes everyone to the 2nd Annual Family History Fair, October 26, 2013.

Archivist Debbi Blake gave a presentation entitled, “Before the Vital Records Law: What’s a Family Historian to Do?” describing alternatives to the recording of births, deaths, and marriages. North Carolina’s vital records law wasn’t enacted until 1913 and there was no systematic, statewide method for creating and preserving these data.  In her presentation, Blake talks about alternative ways to find the data similar to that now recorded in vital records.

Archivist Debbi Blake gave a presentation entitled, “Before the Vital Records Law: What’s a Family Historian to Do?”  In her presentation, Blake talked about alternative ways to find the data similar to that now recorded in vital records.

Professional genealogist, Diane L. Richard, principal of MosaicRPM explores the enigmatic world of genes and the double helix in her presentation, “Who’s Your (Great-Grand) Daddy?: The basics of DNA testing for Genealogy.”

Professional genealogist, Diane L. Richard, principal of MosaicRPM discussed the enigmatic world of genes and the double helix in her presentation, “Who’s Your (Great-Grand) Daddy?: The basics of DNA testing for Genealogy.”


This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.