Program Gave Useful Tips for Old Photos

For our August meeting, Olde Meck member and owner of Visual Story Media, Kimberly Melton, joined us to deliver a presentation entitled, “DIY Photo & Media Organization for Genealogists.”
Most of us probably have boxes of old photos and documents and a phone and computer full of too many photographs to count. It’s time to think about organizing all of that media so you can actually look at it and share it with others! It doesn’t have to be a daunting process if you break it into five easy steps:
  1. Set goals and deadlines.
  2. Select the items for your project.
  3. Sort.
  4. Save and scan your printed photos and slides.
  5. Share your hard work with family and friends.
Refer to the DIY for the Genealogists cheat-sheet to help guide the way. Members may also view a recording of the entire program behind our Member Login tab.

Ron Touchstone, Architect of Olde Meck Progress

We are very saddened to report that our Olde Meck family has lost another of its most special members. Ronald W. Touchstone passed away on Saturday, August 20, at the age of 83. A longtime member from our earliest days, Ron will be remembered as a key player in many aspects of our society. An architect by profession, he was the ‘architect’ of many advancements for Olde Meck.
  • Ron served as President, Vice President, Program Chair, and Director on our Board for many years.
  • He was the editor of our Quarterly journal, for seven years. In this role, Ron set new standards for excellence that are still followed.
  • Ron was the driving force behind the acquisition of our first library/meeting place, known as the Archives, at the Park Ministries building. Before this, our books and records were stacked in a storage unit, inaccessible to our members. The space also provided our first meeting place for both researchers and society business meetings.
  • Ron developed our first website and provided most of the content, allowing increased access to our records and visibility for our group.
Ron was committed to making Olde Meck the best it could be. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude for his dedication in seeing us through many years of successful operation. Our condolences go out to his family and all who knew him.

Felix Collier Honored Civil War Soldiers

We have learned of another loss from the Olde Meck family. Long-time member Felix Ervin Collier, Jr. passed away on June 10th at the age of 82. 
Felix E. Collier, Jr. was born January 4, 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended Central High in Charlotte and then served in the Army National Guard. He studied at Clemson University and remained an avid lifelong Clemson fan. Felix retired from the City of Charlotte, where worked as a computer analyst. 
As a self-trained historian, he spent several decades researching and cataloging the gravesites of Civil War veterans from North Carolina, especially Mecklenburg County. He compiled a large database of those gravesites, numbering about 19,000 entries. He generously offered his time to anyone searching for their Civil War veteran ancestor.  
Long before the development of the internet, and research websites like Findagrave, Felix compiled, by hand, detailed directories of cemeteries in Mecklenburg County. He had a large collection of photographs of Mecklenburg cemetery headstones.
Felix's family is donating some of his collection to the Olde Meck Family Research Center in his memory. We greatly appreciate this generous offer and send our condolences to his family.

Remembering Mary Utting, A Beloved Member

Olde Meck was very saddened to learn of the recent passing of one our most respected members. Mary Emogene Utting died at Sharon Towers on Friday, July 15, 2022, at the age of 95. Her memorial service was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church at 2:30 pm, Saturday, July 30th.
Mary was a key member of Olde Meck for many years. Her impressive contributions to us include the following:
  • Recording Secretary from 2000 through 2010.
  • Co-editor (with Ellen Poteet) of the award-winning Quarterly journal for 14 years.
  • Received the Excellence in Periodical Publishing Award from the North Carolina Genealogical Society in 2004 and 2010 for her editorial work on our journal.
  • Awarded the Claude Hunter Moore Journal Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians “for valuable contributions made toward the collection, preservation, and perpetuation of North Carolina History.” This award was received by the co-editors five times from 2007–2011.
  • Major contributor to the Elmwood Cemetery Project, including helping to organize the survey teams and editing the final copy, all of which took 10 years to complete and resulted in the publication of five books.
  • Editor of the Olde Meck Messenger, monthly newsletter, for six years.
  • Recipient of both the Greenlee Lilly Award and  the Order of 1775 award from our society.
  • She was also our unofficial parliamentarian, keeping us all aware of the society bylaws and responsibilities, and keeping our meetings in order.
  • Mary was always willing to help staff any Olde Meck events.
We owe her a great debt of gratitude for setting high standards of our group and ensuring that we upheld them. As such, she was largely responsible for our reputation for excellence.
Mary was born in Saranac Lake, New York. After graduation from high school in Saranac Lake and Cornell University where she received a BA in English, she worked for the Miami Daily News (FL), 1948–1955.
In 1955, she joined The Charlotte Observer (NC), where she spent more than 18 years, serving as Women’s Editor for 13 years. She then became the National Director of Women in Communica-tions, Inc., in Austin, Texas, 1974–1983, and finally worked as an editor at Texas A&M University, College Station, until her 1997 retirement.
In 1998, she returned to Charlotte, where she joined Olde Meck. She also was an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church and volunteered on many church committees. As a member of the Charlotte Writer’s Club, Mary served as the editor of their newsletter. She was also a member of the Mint Museum and the Cornell Alumni Association of Charlotte, for which she interviewed many applicants to the university.
A quote from Mary, upon receiving one of her editorial awards:
As a retired professional editor, I believe that Ellen and I are trying to adhere to high standards of publishing, genealogy accuracy, and excellence in what we print. I strongly believe that genealogy today requires the highest standards and documentation.

Blackwelder Files Offer a Wealth of Information

Olde Meck Volunteers have completed the initial task of going through the impressive collection of genealogical materials donated by Linda Blackwelder. Linda has been a prolific researcher in the Steele Creek community of Mecklenburg County for many years. In addition to doing research for hire, she also compiled the book, Steele Creek, an Early History of the Steele Creek Community, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Over the years many Steele Creek families have shared their information with Linda, in addition to her own research. We are grateful Linda has entrusted us with her files so that even more people can benefit from her efforts.
Here is a list of the folder headings from her files. If you find something you'd like to explore further, either come by the Family Research Center or contact us at

Ferguson Errata
Mecklenburg County, NC, Will Abstracts, 1791-1868, Books A-J
If you purchased a copy of Herman W. Ferguson's Mecklenburg County, NC, Will Abstracts, 1791-1868, Books A-J, from Olde  Meck, and it did not have a loose copy of the “Errata” in the front, you may wish to print this Errata page and insert it. Ferguson made these corrections in 2010, but some copies sold after that time may not have had the page of “Errata.”

Genealogical Offerings at NC State Archives

For our June meeting, we enjoyed an informative overview of the offerings of the North Carolina State Archives, presented by Alison Thurman. Alison provided this NCSA Handout which you may download. Thanks, Alison! Contact with questions.

FRC Research Visit Results in Serendipity!

Olde Meck volunteers were recently having a productive day assisting Myra Rodgers, a researcher visiting from Texas. At some point, it came up we were looking for a new home for our microfilm reader and printer. Myra perked up, saying her local library back home would love to have it. Within the hour, the microfilm reader and printer were loaded into her daughter’s SUV and headed to Honey Grove, TX!
Myra has sent word that it made the trip safely and is up and running at the Honey Grove Library & Learning Center’s Local and Family History Room. They’ve already used it to discover that one of their unmarked rolls of film is actually a copy of the first deed book in Fannin County!  
We are pleased we were able to find a wonderful new home for something we were not using. Come on over to the FRC and see what adventures you might have! We are open Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and other days by appointment. Email to schedule your visit.

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:

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.

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

September 28
Navigating Our Nation's Federal Records
  Live Broadcasts: September 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26, 2022 Presented by: David Allen Lambert, Ann Lawthers, Rhonda R. McClure, Melanie McComb   The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., is home to a genealogical ...
October 8
Our Community, Our Heritage Festival 2022
Sponsored by the Lincoln County Public Library, this festival features a wide variety of topics by well-known regional speakers. Topics include: Historic Cemeteries Abandoned Gravesites Land Records and Mapping Tools African American Genealogy Rosenwald Schools Family Quilt Stories and Preservation ...
October 12
October Meeting - Genetic Genealogy - Using Genealogy to Solve Crimes
We hope you can join Olde Meck for our October Monthly Meeting when Amanda Reno, Genetic Genealogist, will explain how she uses DNA and genealogy to help law enforcement solve crimes.
October 15
NCGS Member Appreciation Day - Research Like A Pro
Presented by North Carolina Genealogical Society, this free, virtual event features Diana Elder, AG of Family Locket Genealogists. Diana will present a "Research Like a Pro Seminar" which includes the following four classes: Create a Research Objective & Analyze ...
October 18
Tracing Your Roots
Are you just beginning your family history journey? Learn how to get started Get tips on organizing your research Learn how to create a family tree Discover valuable information in census records, birth certificates, death certificates and more. Come ...