Organizing Your Genealogy Research

Does your genealogy area look anything like the picture here? 
If so, you may want to view the recording of Olde Meck member Lynn Bancroft's talk Organizing Your Genealogy Research
This is an updated program from one she gave to Olde Meck in 2019 and was presented at the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Black History Month Conference. Lynn discussed useful hints and presented a sampling of different charts which can also improve our efficiency. Based on ideas from many genealogy experts, she described how the following tips may be helpful:
  1. Keep the big picture in mind.
  2. Designate a workspace.
  3. Take charge of paper files.
  4. Establish an organization routine.
  5. Go digital.
  6. Use Additional Charts
  7. Create a kit for on-site research.
We are sharing the recording here in the hopes it can provide some tips for all of us to better organize our research.
(1) Click Start Button below to begin. Be sure to view in Full Screen (icon at bottom right of video)
(2) Go directly to the YouTube video, click Organizing Your Genealogy Research

UNC Charlotte Instruction Archivist Shared Genealogical Resources
At our February meeting Randi Beem, Instruction Archivist at UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library spoke to us about the resources available for genealogists in their Special Collections and University Archives. The collections  include manuscripts, the university's records, rare and unique books, maps, and oral history recordings. Ms. Beem explained what resources are most interesting to genealogists as well as which are available online. She also shared interesting success stories from past researchers.
Given the closure of the Mecklenburg main library for construction, it's a great time for researchers to investigate what is available through the library at UNC Charlotte.  Contact the Special Collections section of the library at for more information or to arrange an appointment. 

Newspapers Online

Katie Grafer presented our January program about how to use historic newspapers to assist in genealogical research. In her presentation, "Extra! Extra! Getting Clues and Context From Historic Newspapers," Katie shared many tips about how to look beyond the obituaries and wedding announcements to help guide your newspaper research. She explained the other types of useful information that can be found in old publications, including public notices, social columns, and even advertisements. She gave specific examples from her own research that allowed her to ‘connect the dots’ on elusive ancestors.
The following list of websites may help you find historic newspapers:

Olde Meck Awards for 2021

At the December Holiday meeting, President Jeff Houser presented the two awards given annually by Olde Meck:
(1) The Order of 1775
The Order of 1775 is the highest honor awarded by Olde Meck and recognizes long term service and dedication both to the society and the practice of genealogy in Mecklenburg County. This year's award was presented posthumously to Lionel Demming Bass, Jr., known to members as L. D.
L. D. was an accomplished genealogist who was especially passionate about preserving Southern and Scottish history. Mr. Bass ... 
  • Served as Olde Meck President in 1993.
  • Was also a Director, Vice President, and Program Chair.
  • Was instrumental in establishing the Hopewell genealogy group.
  • Was an avid supporter of Historic Rural Hill and the Loch Norman Games, coordinating Olde Meck’s presence there for many years.
  • Wrote numerous articles for our Quarterly journal.
  • Participated in Olde Meck project in local schools, appearing in full Scottish regalia, to the delight of the students.
  • Similarly, appeared in costume at many other venues for Olde Meck, at Senior Centers, Meck Deck Day celebrations, etc. or just random Olde Meck meetings!!
L. D. passed away on October 3, 2017 in Charlotte, NC at the age of 81. 
(2) Greenlee Lilly Award 
President Houser then awarded the Greenlee Lilly Award for 2021 to Lovenia Summerville. Named in honor of the society's first president, this award is in recognition of a member who has contributed significantly to the society within the past year and is selected by the current society president.
Lovenia is a retired librarian who has been a faithful volunteer at our Family Research Center, taking charge of cataloging our collection of books, journals, etc. This year Lovenia was one of the first to return when the FRC reopened after the Covid shutdown. She has been tirelessly working to incorporate the many donated titles we have recently received into our library database. She is always willing to share her wealth of knowledge about Mecklenburg families and assists us with the many local library resources she is also familiar with.
We are extremely fortunate to have Lovenia as an essential part of our team and congratulate her on a well-deserved honor!

Elvie Lee Beatty Jr
“The One Arm Bandit”
by Tommy Beatty
Olde Meck Writers Group
My father, Elvie Lee Beatty Jr was born November 24, 1923 and died July 10, 1995 the fourth of seven children. By the time of his sixth birthday, the country was cast into the Great Depression that led to WWII, times that challenged everyone to survive. It's likely that he observed his father doing everything he could to house and feed the family.
By the time he was thirteen, Elvie was delivering newspapers for the Charlotte News and by sixteen was a bicycle messenger for Western Union, both while attending school.
“Mommy, what happened to Daddy's arm?” I asked. “He was delivering telegrams for Western Union and was hit by a taxicab and his arm had to be cut off” Mom responded to a little boy's curiosity.
This would become the defining event in his life, forcing him to re-learn everything and eventually deciding that it was up to him to succeed or fail.
My first images of his will to succeed were of Dad working on his car but to me that wasn't unusual. Didn't everyone's dad work on their cars. About that time, Dad had started working at a service station back when the attendant pumped the customer’s gas, washed their cars and performed most of the maintenance work.
When I was a little older, he built and drove a race car at the local dragstrip. I wasn't allowed to go except for the one time, when a friend and I rode our bicycles through the woods to get to the road that would take us to a hill that overlooked the dragstrip. We managed to watch him race one time before we had to leave to get home before dark. It was only a short time until Dad sold the car, probably at Mom's urging.
Then he decided to do something that most folks in his position would never have attempted, he started playing golf, eventually becoming a nine-handicap golfer winning frequent amateur tournaments in the Carolina Golf Association. It never crossed my mind that a one-armed man shouldn't have been able to play golf. Years later, we occasionally played but I never won.
When I was sixteen, Dad decided it was time to return to drag racing, teaching me to build and maintain cars and drive the race car. It wasn't long until Dad turned over the driving duties to me, making me think his renewed interest was at least in part to spend time with me. After I got married, Dad picked up the driving duties for the race car, “The One Arm Bandit”.
Dad continued working on cars, playing golf and racing until the mid-1980s when he tore a tendon in his one good arm requiring it to be repaired.
It wasn't until I started working on my family tree that I learned what had driven Dad to expect perfection of himself and me, after all if “it's worth doing, it's worth doing right”. The accident that could have prompted self-pity had forced him to adopt a sense of confidence. He could do anything. It wasn't until his health declined that he gave up and eventually stopped fighting to live.
In case you're wondering, he played golf right-handed, swinging the club backhanded. The race car was a manual shift four speed but he still managed to steer and shift the gears frequently driving it to 120 MPH in an eight mile. Imagine how this was done.

Family Research Center
--- Now Open for Visitors ---
The FRC is open. Anyone wanting to do research must schedule an appointment so we can make sure we have a staff member available to help. Email to schedule an appointment.
FRC Hours by Appointment Only
Tuesday  10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Thursday  10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Saturday  11:00 am - 4:00 pm​
We hold our Monthly Membership meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of each month via ZOOM. If you are a member but haven't received a notice of these meetings, email so we can be sure you are on our blast email list.

Navigating Mecklenburg County Deeds

Video Tutorial
Deed records can provide a wealth of information to fill out our ancestors' stories but can oftentimes be difficult to access. We are excited to announce an addition to our website which will make the process of finding valuable Mecklenburg land records easier than in the past.
As part of her internship for a course in her Masters of Library Science program at East Carolina University, Ann Martin, now an Olde Meck member, has recently completed a helpful video tutorial to walk users through the process of accessing the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds website. If you have Mecklenburg ancestors and have ever wanted to view old deeds and land transactions, this video will facilitate your journey.
Ann describes the basics of deeds, what they consist of, and how they can help with family research. She then provides easy to follow navigation through the Register of Deeds website using a specific example.
(1) Click Start Button below to begin. Be sure to view in Full Screen (icon at bottom right of video)
(2) If you want to go directly to YouTube, click Navigating Mecklenburg County Deeds
We hope you will find Ann’s video tutorial useful and search for the deeds of your ancestors. Please feel free to give us feedback on this new feature.

Storyteller Has Writing Projects You Can Join

Thanks to storyteller Randell Jones for sharing his entertaining video of Famous and Infamous Women of North Carolina with us in July. Randell has many other fascinating tales, available both in printed and video form. He is also compiling stories from anyone else who wants to share and publish their own stories.
To hear more of Randell's stories and learn about his other writing projects, visit

Picture Formatting Suggestions

Below are links to YouTube videos created by Louise Nottingham, leader of the Olde Meck Writers' Group. They are designed to help you format photos and images of documents that you may want to include in a Microsoft Word family file:
  1. Corrections Tool
  2. Grouping Tool
  3. Placements Explained
  4. Screenshot Clippings

May 24
Sacramento, CA is the site of the NGS 2022 Family History Conference to be held 24–28 May 2022. Attendees will have an opportunity to choose from more than 150 lectures by the nation’s premier genealogical speakers. The conference will ...
June 8
June Meeting - NC State Archivist
Allison Thuman from the North Carolina State archives in Raleigh will join Olde Meck to share some unique resources for genealogists which are held in their extensive collection.
July 13
Native Americans of North Carolina
Aminah Ghaffar will speak about Native Americans in North Carolina, including the blood quantum system and how Jim Crow laws impact people of Afro-indigenous descent. She will also explain Tribal Nation enrollment.