Resource for Colonial Research
18 April 2021
It's been a loooong time since I have added anything to the blog. Part of that is because I haven't been able to figute our how to add new posts or edit old ones. To get right to it, the is a great resource online to help with colonial research, whether your ancestors were free people of color or white. It's my go-to resource for anything before 1790. What is it? Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
About the Colonial and State Records
The CSR, as I call it, is two series combined into one 26-volume series with a 2-volume index that was created later. The series covers from 1622-1790. The first 10 volumes were created by William Saunders and covers up to 1776. Walter Clark continued the series through 1790 and Stephen B. Weeks created the index. It was written and transcribed over a long period of time. Publishing began in 1886 and ended in 1909. A second series was published later.
essentially, it contains 24 volumes of verbatim transcripts of records and correspondence. Many of the documents no longer exist, or live in England; because of that, it's often considered a primary record itself. Some very interesting finds include lists of miliia during colonial times, North Carolina's Continental Line (often referred to as the NC Line), two volumes of laws dating 1670-1790, the North Carolina Constitution of 1776, and the series ends with the 1790 census.
The entire series was digitized by UNC-Chapel Hill several years ago, and it may be new to some, but I think quite a few already use this. Because you never know what you will find, I always refer back to this for colonial research. One tip I have is searching onliune, there are actual, two indexes - the index from the printed version of the CSR and also a full-text searchable index. For the most part, I find searching the print version absolutely find with nothing new in the OCR index (OCR meaning that words were found unindexes likely using OCR when it was scanned). When using the print index (it says
Search the CSR Index), type in a name and search, it will show a list of possible entries. Ex: typing George Pettiford and there are no results, but if you type just Pettiford, you will see a few entries for Geo. If you search the OCR index (says ) for George Pettiford, it returns about 4-5 documents, they all have the word George and the word Pettiford, but not necessarily George Pettiford