This week I interviewed Jim Simons, the former director of the N.C. Division of Land Resources, about his battle with Parkinson’s disease, his participation in drug clinical trials and his work as a research advocate.
Simons, 64, retired in May so he could spend more of his good hours with his wife and family. He grew up in High Point, got a degree in geology from UNC-CH and spent the past 40 years in Raleigh working for the state, the last 10 as the state geologist.
The Division of Land Resources was recently renamed the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources after it was given dominion over oil and gas exploration. Gas, as in shale gas, as in fracking.
We spent some time talking about his position on fracking, information that didn’t really fit into what I was writing, but it seemed worth sharing.
The State Archives will be closed December 31-January 2 for the New Years holiday and January 9-11 for annual inventory. Regular hours will resume January 12 and can be found here.
Evangelist Billy Graham, who marked his 93rd birthday today, can now be heard back through the six decades of his public ministry. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has made available nearly 1,700 audio files of sermons at Graham's famous crusades, radio broadcasts, and public remarks. The archives are searchable by location, date and topic.
Last year, a joint project of UNC's North Carolina Collection, the State Archives and the Outer Banks History Center completed a project to scan and digitize more than 3,000 maps published from the late 1500s to 2000.
North Carolina Maps contains maps from each of the 100 counties, including highways, railroad maps, post office routes, fire insurance maps and geological maps. A 1936 highway map presents a view of the state without any I-40, in fact, without any interstate highways at all. The Coast and Geodetic Survey shows changes in the state's coastline over time.
Maps are searchable by location, date or subject. The online viewer allows you to zoom in on the map and move around interactively.
In September, this map collection was one of three North Carolina sites to win an Award of Merit for Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History.
The Virginia Historical Society has loaded a searchable database of more than 1,500 slave names, with links back to original documents such as wills, bills of sale, court records, deeds, and deeds of emancipation. The database is searchable by the first and last name of the slave, the owner's name, the slave's occupation and location.
The project, called Unknown No Longer, is a work in progress, and historians continue to add information pulled from the nearly eight million items in the society's unpublished manuscript collection.
Now through September 5, you can search Ancestry.com's immigration and travel records for free.
This collection includes passport applications and border crossings, so you may be able to get information not only for immigrants but for an ancestor who traveled for fun or worked overseas.
Passenger lists go back to 1820. The information in these records varies over time, but you may find details such as marital status, last residence, final destination, literacy, financial status, place of birth, physical description, or the name and address of the passenger's closest living relative in his home country.
There's also a downloadable research guide to working with passenger lists.