2013 NCGS Award Winners

The 2013 NCGS Awards were presented at the NCGS annual meeting during the Fall Workshop on 9 November 2013 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Three individuals and one society were recognized for outstanding published efforts and personal contributions to the North Carolina genealogical community.


“The award for excellence in periodical publishing for a newsletter published by a local North Carolina genealogical society” went to Lines & Pathways of Edgecombe, published by the Edgecombe County Genealogical Society and edited by Zora Drake-Richman. Accepting the award were Ms. Drake-Richman and Betty Cobb Batchelor. This polished, well laid out quarterly keeps its members up to date through calendars of events, membership information, publications lists, an ancestor exchange feature, and guidelines for submitting articles. A cross between a newsletter and a journal, it treats its readers to interesting, documented, member-submitted articles ranging from family research to historical subjects to abstracts of original records and local newspapers.


“The award for excellence in publishing for a book, or set of books, of abstracts or transcriptions of original North Carolina primary source material“ went to E. B. Munson, editor, for Confederate Incognito: The Civil War Reports of “Long Grabs,” a.k.a. Murdoch John McSween, 26th and 35th North Carolina Infantry. Munson not only collected the 80-plus letters of “Long Grabs,” the unofficial Civil War correspondent to the Fayetteville Observer, but also researched a wide variety of published and unpublished sources to add for historical context. In the process he uncovered  the identity of Murdoch John McSween and discovered further resources and more information about the man. McSween was well educated and a keen observer with a sense of humor. As “Long Grabs” he presented his readers with reports of battles, but also described, without sugarcoating, camp scenes and conditions, civilian hardships, sketches of political and military individuals, and scenes of places in eastern North Carolina where he happened to be. From these letters genealogists will gain insight into the circumstances endured during the war by ancestors both in the military and on the home front.


“The award for excellence in publishing for a book of secondary source material relevant to North Carolina” was presented to the Edgecombe County Genealogical Society for Edgecombe County, North Carolina Cemeteries – Greenwood  Cemetery, Volume III, edited by Janice Dew. Ms. Dew and Frankie Powell accepted the award. The updated survey of this large Tarboro cemetery, which includes a number of old family graveyards moved here from other locations, was praised as an excellent resource for genealogists and for its organization of tombstones by row numbers which should serve as a model for all cemetery books. The book features an overall map of the cemetery and maps of each section showing lot numbers. A very useful personal name index indicates page number as well as specific cemetery section, and is supplemented by other references such as geographical, military, and Masonic affiliation.


 “The award for outstanding contribution to NCGS by a member for an individual whose work with the NCGS has been outstanding” was given to Jordan Jones. Jordan joined the NCGS board as a Director in 2010 and has served on the publications committee and as Website Chair. In his role as Webmaster, he created a new website which announced its refurbished look and new features in March 2009. He spent well over the expected number of hours on the website and completed several valuable projects within the site, such as making prior issues of the NCGS Journal  available and searchable online as a member benefit. Although he resigned as webmaster November 2012, he continued to work uncompensated to get the society’s website functioning by providing feedback to his successors and helping them to stabilize the upgraded site. As a member of the Webinar Ad Hoc Committee, Jordan took part in the planning stages to develop the Research Webinar Series as a new website feature. He was very active in getting the Loose Estates project off the ground and participated in initial discussions with FamilySearch and the State Archivist. He devoted many hours to prepping the published Lois Neal newspaper abstracts in order to create a CD-ROM product and also to restructuring the first version of the NCGS Journal on CD to prepare it for revision and content updates and produce a more searchable product.


“The award for outstanding contribution to North Carolina genealogy for an individual whose outstanding genealogical contributions have greatly enhanced the study of family history in North Carolina” was presented to Larry Cates. Through his passion for North Carolina genealogy Larry has become an expert on records, resources, and research methodology. He shares that expertise with those searching for North Carolina ancestors in many ways. As Librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library, he helps others, as stated in his nomination, “discover the joy and satisfaction of family history research” and provides detailed guidance to researchers on varying levels of experience. He is moderator of a thriving book club which focuses on fiction and nonfiction books relating to North Carolina heritage topics. He further imparts his knowledge on various subjects of genealogical and North Carolina historical interest as a regular staff lecturer and in frequent speaking engagements throughout the Piedmont. Cates is former editor of The Genealogical Journal of Randolph County (which under his editorship won the 2008 NCGS “Award for Excellence in Periodical Publishing”) and of NCGS News. Since 2012 he has competently served as editor of the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. Through the Journal he has reached genealogists across the United States through professional, well written articles which include those which he himself has authored, such as the outstanding piece on bastardy law, his legislative petitions series, and abstracts of eighteenth century criminal and civil action court papers.


The NCGS Board also expressed its thanks to two individuals who have served in several capacities in the society and are leaving their positions. 
Certificates of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance and Commitment were awarded to Cindy Born-Mylo for her work as Director and Membership Committee Chairperson, and to Ann Christnacht Hilke as Past President.