2016 NCGS Awards Winners
(front row L-R: Victoria P. Young, NCGS President, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr., and Robert C. Carpenter)
(back row L-R: Ed Pattishall and Laurel Sanders)
The Awards Committee presented its 2016 NCGS Awards during the annual meeting at its Fall Workshop held on 29 October 2016 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. The following individuals were recognized for outstanding published efforts and personal contributions to the North Carolina genealogical community.
The Award for Excellence in Publishing for a book, or set of books, of abstracts or transcriptions of an original North Carolina record (and published within eighteen months preceding the 15 August 2016 closing date) is presented to Robert C. Carpenter for Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War.
If Carpenter had published just a transcription of the 1863 Gaston County tax list on which this book is based, it would have been an important work on its own. This recently discovered tax list is rich in details: acreage, land values, and location; household possessions; horses and farm animals, even dogs; luxury items, cotton, and tobacco; and most significantly, given names, ages, and monetary values of slaves. The details of the tax list inspired Carpenter to flesh out the story of Gaston County in the midst of the turmoil of the Civil War and to understand its impact not just on leaders and the wealthy but also on the “poor farmer, wife, child, Unionist, slave, and soldier.” To this end, he sought out previously unpublished letters, diaries, and accounts not in public repositories. Combining the unpublished accounts with resources from research repositories resulted in over ninety percent of the sources being contemporary and the making, in his words, of “a comprehensive Civil War story not previously told.” Meticulously documented, the book is very well laid out with ample subheadings to increase readability and is well-indexed. This well-written expansion of the 1863 Gaston tax list creatively builds the social and economic history of this community through its own words during this tumultuous time. Gaston County genealogists, white and black, will find it valuable for the tax details, and all students of Civil War history will want to read it for its portrait of lives on the battlefield and home front.
The Award for Excellence in a Publication Relevant to North Carolina Genealogy (and published within eighteen months preceding the 15 August 2016 closing date) is given to Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. for Hertford County North Carolina’s Free People of Color and Their Descendants.
This very interesting, well-written story of a population so often misunderstood and overlooked and certainly underrepresented is further remarkable in that these free people of color live in a county which has suffered a great loss of its records. Prior to the Civil War Hertford County had one of the largest populations of free people of color in the state. In putting together the lineage of his own ancestors, Milteer quickly learned that he would need to research the entire community. This use of one of the most valuable strategies in genealogical research would ultimately lead to the publication of this book. This volume well illustrates that when there is a loss of records in a burned county, the researcher must dig deeper to discover alternate sources. Citing sources throughout the work, the author researched tirelessly in state and national archives; special collections at the University of North Carolina, Duke, and East Carolina University; and newspapers to build his study of the lives and accomplishments of these people from the colonial period into the twentieth century. Images of documents and many photographs enhance the stories of these families. A clear layout, comfortable print size for reading, and thorough index add to the ease of use. Valuable in helping the reader understand the challenges and successes of these families, this volume also gives descendants an appreciation of the social, economic, and political contributions their ancestors made in helping “shape their community.”
The Award for Outstanding Contribution to NCGS by a Member for an individual whose work with NCGS has been outstanding is presented to Laurel Sanders.
Laurel’s first involvement in the society was as a volunteer at the NCGS booth in Richmond at the 2012 National Genealogical Society conference. She came on the board shortly thereafter as programs co-chair with Ann Hilke. In the fall of 2014 she took on the Program Committee chairmanship and was appointed a director. Laurel’s leadership skills combined with her tireless and conscientious efforts to organize and present quality timely programs have resulted in tremendously successful workshops. The two-day event, Ancestry Day, in 2015 brought in nearly 900 attendees, and registration for the August 2016 DNA workshop with Blaine Bettinger hit 175. This year Laurel graciously took on the lead role in working with an outside company to redesign the NCGS website, an enormous task. She will serve as a volunteer co-chair for the upcoming NGS conference in Raleigh in May 2017.
The Award for Outstanding Contribution to North Carolina Genealogy for an individual whose longtime genealogical contributions have greatly enhanced the study of family history in North Carolina is given to John Anderson Brayton.
Over the past twenty plus years John Brayton has published a seemingly inexhaustible number of scholarly genealogical works based on original records of early northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. He has compiled indispensable abstracts of early Currituck, Pasquotank, Carteret, Beaufort, North Carolina, and Southampton County, Virginia, deeds as well as Lower Norfolk Virginia records and wills and deeds. He has painstakingly and accurately transcribed provincial North Carolina wills covering 1663-1729/30 in three volumes, Currituck County wills, and Isle of Wight County, Virginia, court orders, deeds, and wills. In addition he has compiled eleven volumes (five of which are transcriptions of county records) of the series Colonial Families of Surry and of Isle of Wight Counties, Virginia and one volume to date of the English Ancestry of Colonial Immigrants series as well as several works of ancestries and a number of scholarly journal articles. John is also Genealogist for the Order of First Families of North Carolina, in which capacity he has produced two volumes of that society’s Registry and two volumes to date of Ancestor Biographies. Volume 3 of the latter should be ready for distribution by next spring. Each of John’s publications is well laid-out and thoroughly indexed and features a thoughtful introduction describing style, scope, format and the like and in which his humor shines through. It is not just the quantity of John Brayton’s work that is outstanding but also the quality of his research. In all that he does, he promotes his commitment to “rigorous” standards of genealogical scholarship. His meticulous documentation and precision in abstracting and transcribing should serve as a model for others compiling genealogical publications.
Certificates of Appreciation
The NCGS Board also expressed its thanks to two individuals who have served in official capacities in the society and are leaving their positions. Certificates of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance and Exceptional Commitment were awarded to Ed Pattishall who has served as Director and Publications Chair and to Pam Pearson as Journal Book Review Editor.
The Awards Committee wishes to acknowledge other nominees for the 2016 Awards
Edgecombe County Genealogical Society for Edgecombe County, North Carolina Cemeteries, Volume 4, editor: Janice Dew, for a publication relevant to North Carolina genealogy.
Richard Ellington, editor, for D-OGS Newsletter, for a newsletter published by a local North Carolina genealogical society.
Sharon Rea Gable for Ziegler Funeral Home Records 1867-1949 (Extant) Elizabeth City North Carolina, for a book or set of books of abstracts or transcriptions of an original North Carolina record.
Lois Johnson Meekins, for outstanding contribution to North Carolina genealogy.
Betsy Dodd Pittman and Margaret Collins Richards for Tax Lists and Related Documents: Old Burke County, North Carolina1760-1839 & 1864 A Three Volume Set Annotated, for a book or set of books of abstracts or transcriptions of an original North Carolina record.
Sam West for Spirits Turpentine: News from and about Robeson County, NC Appearing under This Heading in the Morning Star, Wilmington, NC 1870-1900, for a book or set of books of abstracts or transcriptions of an original North Carolina record.
Margo Lee Williams for From Hill Town to Strieby: Education and the American Missionary Association in the Uwharrie “Back Country” of Randolph County, North Carolina, for a publication relevant to North Carolina genealogy.