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City Directories: Tracing the Pettiford Family

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In December 2016, I talked about the basic information in city directories and how they can be helpful for research. In this post, I want to show you how I can use city directories in conjunction with other records to trace a family. The family in question is the Alvin B. Pettiford family of Raleigh.

From census information, we can see that Alvin lived in Raleigh since the 1870 census when he was 7 years old. The census shows that Alvin, as well as his father, Roscoe, were tinners. When Alvin was old enough to appear in the city directory, it shows that he was a tinner working for a Roscoe L Pettiford. Roscoe L. Pettiford, Jr. was also a tinner and Alvin’s brother. All three men are in the City Directories.


Oh boy, did I learn a lot from tracing a family in the Raleigh city directories! I gathered a lot more information than expected, discovered some things along the way, and found other records as a result ofinformation found.


I chose to trace the Pettiford family as I already was familiar with them before 1865. In fact, I spent about 10 years focused just on that family during the antebellum period. They were what was called “free persons of color” meaning they were free African Americans during the time of Slavery. A branch of the family lived in Raleigh and the Raleigh city directories began in 1875. You can find them online at as well as at the Government and Heritage Library. I traced the family beginning in 1875 all the way through 1930 – 3 generations.


Digital Collections: State Publications

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The State Library of North Carolina has the responsibility of collecting state publications from all state agencies in North Carolina. Some of those publications have found their way online in the State Publications digital collection. Some of the documents were born digital, meaning they were always online, but many in this collection were scanned by our Government & Heritage Library staff. Let’s take a look at some of the types of records you may find in this collection.


State Docs Pick of the Week : SportsNC Scoreboard

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SportsNC Scoreboard LogoSportsNC Scoreboard is a quarterly publication produced by SportsNC, a section of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

SportsNC is North Carolina’s effort to promote the state’s sporting facilities and events. SportsNC Scoreboard serves to promote awareness of sporting events and updates in North Carolina. This quarterly newsletter contains information on upcoming sporting events in North Carolina and provides news and updates regarding sporting facilities and the successes of past sporting events in North Carolina.

While this newsletter mostly serves to promote North Carolina sporting events and facilities, it is also very informative for people who may be interested in attending sporting events and could be a great resource to discover an event that you may not have otherwise known about.

You can view, download, print, and save these quarterly newsletters here.

State Doc Pick of the Week : NC4Vets Resource Guide

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2016 NC4Vets Resource Guide Title PageThe North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs released the 2016 NC4Vets Resource Guide. It is published in conjunction with the NC Department of Health and Human Services as well as the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

In this resource guide you can find information curated for military veterans in North Carolina. Some of the resource topics include employment, healthcare, education, VA benefits, personal services, women’s services, active military, and more.

This resource guide is not only for veterans, but, it is also for active military and their families too. It’s purpose is to assist and educate people on state and federal veteran benefits. This guide covers a very broad range of resources available for veterans in North Carolina.

If you are interested further, you can find out more about NC4Vets at their website.

You can view, download, print, and save this resource guide here.

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.