Doing Genealogy at the Archives
Genealogical material has been a mainstay of the collections at the Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear since its inception. Beginning with the work of Ida Brooks Kellam — who scoured deed books, wills, cemetery records, newspapers, and other resources to create a collection of thousands of cards indexing these resources by name, as well as compiling folders of material on hundreds of local families — the Society has long been a key source for genealogists interested in the families of the Lower Cape Fear.
Today, the starting point for any genealogist is our genealogical vertical file, with 8 file drawers of folders on over 1,000 local families. Building on Ida Kellam's research, these files have been maintained over the years as additional newspaper clippings, family correspondence, research notes, and more have been added. This collection is supplemented by a collection of 36 boxes of genealogical notes on many local families compiled by previous researchers. A list of family names covered by these and other collections is available online.
For families or individuals on which files are not available, we also maintain a collection of vital statistics published by the Old New Hanover Genealogical Society and others. These invaluable volumes include indexed census records, cemetery records, tax records, and more, for both New Hanover and the surrounding counties.
Other resources of interest to genealogists include city directories, which often give the occupations of the inhabitants of an address, and the deed research of Elizabeth McKoy, who painstakingly transcribed and indexed tens of thousands of colonial and early 19th century deeds, copying plats by hand over many years.