NGS 2023 Speaker Spotlight—David M. McCorkle

April 4th, 2023 by Teresa Kelley


David M. McCorkle is president and founder of NC Historical Records Online (NCHRO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to provide public online access to images of original records and other relevant information useful to researching North Carolina history and genealogy. He is the creator of NCHRO’s main project, the free website NC Land Grant Images and Data, which contains searchable records for all 200,000+ land grants issued by North Carolina along with over a million images of original records. David is a native of North Carolina with deep roots on many lines dating back to the 1700s, primarily in the Mecklenburg County area. He is president of the Durham-Orange Genealogical Society (D-OGS) and is on the board of the North Carolina Genealogical Society, the Mecklenburg Genealogical Society, and the Historic Mapping Congress. David wrote his first computer program in 1974 and has recently retired after working in the software industry for over forty years.

David is presenting two lectures at the onsite conference.

Session Number: F214
Title: Tracing Land Ownership Over Time: Forwards, Backwards, and from the Middle
Land ownership records can provide numerous clues not only about family relationships but also about the individuals themselves and the area they lived in. They can be used to help reconstruct neighborhoods at a given point in time to assist with F.A.N. club research as conceived by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

To do this, one needs to know who owned a particular parcel of land at a given period, or at least who lived there. This information primarily comes from conveyances: the transfer of ownership of a specific piece of land from one party to another using deeds, land grants, or other methods. These records theoretically should exist for every transfer, but unfortunately, they don’t. Records get lost due to natural or human-caused catastrophes, deeds never get recorded as they should, and in the case of inheritance, they may not even be required.

This lecture will discuss determining land ownership by either starting from the original owner and working forwards in time or from the current owner and working backward.  You can also start at any point in between and trace ownership in either direction.  We will start with ideal examples where all records are present, and then discuss what to do when they are not.  Creating neighborhood maps of the results will briefly be discussed.

Session Number: S316
Title: The Albemarle Sound Region of North Carolina and Virginia: Genealogical Resources and Research
All areas have their history, which impacts genealogical research in different ways. The Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina is a great example having been governed by eight different entities including the Colony of Virginia and the Lords Proprietors who ran it from England for over sixty years as a corporation. This history dates back to the very first English settlements in North America predating Jamestown by twenty years and the Mayflower settlement by thirty-three years. Many experts believe there are descendants living today from the well-known “Lost Colony” and other settlement attempts in the region, but the proof would be difficult.

The recorded settlement did not begin until the 1650s, but again, there is evidence of settlers before then. One complication is that the geography of the coastline made it difficult for ships to land, so most settlers migrated down from Virginia. Even that was difficult due to obstacles such as the Great Dismal Swap, and few records were kept.

Even with these difficulties, several resources can be used for genealogical research, both here in the US and overseas in England. Many of the original records have been abstracted and indexed, and a decent amount is available online.

This lecture will begin with an overview of the history of the Albemarle Sound region and how it was governed, followed by an examination of the resources available today for genealogical research. It will also discuss researching the indigenous peoples who were already present when the English arrived, as well as the enslaved Africans who were brought in.

Registration is now open at