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North Carolina Central University 
Special Collections

Founded in 1898 the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company was a flagship financial institution.  It is the oldest and largest African American owned life insurance company still in existence.  The records of The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives, documents the rise of NC Mutual Insurance in Durham.  Its papers cover every aspect of the firm’s operations.  The nearly 100,000 items found in the

archives include:

  • Corporate Office Files

  • Annual Statements

  • Reports

  • Surveys

  • Memos

  • Legal Papers

  • Financial Papers

  • Training Materials

  • Programs

  • Memorabilia

  • Historical Photographs of staff and families

  • Historical Photographs of offices and building

  • Photographs of Durham Scenes

Side Note:  Duke University and North Carolina Central University in a historic partnership currently caress for and provides public access to the extensive archives of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.   They have made over one hundred of NC Mutual’s selected digitized preserved images and a notable amount of primary source documents currently available online.


The Patriots of Color project was established to identify persons of color who served the Continental cause in the American Revolution. The project’s beginnings are rooted in the discovery of Professor Gates’ fourth great grandfather who served for four years in the 1st Virginia Regiment of Light Dragoons and received a pension for his service. The project's goal to verify service and complexion of Patriots from each of the thirteen colonies using  original records such as pension and bounty land application files, muster and pay rolls, lists of troops, court records, legislative records, etc. These documents often reveal fascinating details about the service of these soldiers as well as life for them before and after the war. At project end, data will be published in hard copy and as an online database. Funding for this project has been provided by Richard Gilder and the Gilder Lehrman Foundation, David Roux, Joseph Dooley and the SAR, the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, and the Inkwell Foundation.

Allen County Public Library

The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) is a print and online index to more than 2000 genealogy and local history periodicals published in the U.S. and Canada between 1847 and 1985. It is the largest and most widely used subject index with both genealogical and historical articles and it contains more than 1.1 million index entries and tackles subjects primarily relating to the U.S. and Canada.  PERSI is a project of the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., and available through Heritage Quest Online (access through a subscribing library).


PERSI has four sections:  

  • The Surname Section

  • The Locality Section

  • The Research Methodologies 

  • Bibliographies


Thousands and Thousands of articles are written every year about various genealogical and historical topics.  I must note that PERSI is not a reference to every historical and genealogical article ever written but it is updated annually and has the largest historical and genealogical collection of its kind.  

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Presidential Memorial Certificate is an engraved paper certificate signed by the current President that honors the memory of deceased veterans and next of kin of loved ones.  The Presidential Memorial Certificate is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The certificate is an expression of the country’s gratitude towards the family of a soldier.  One must be the next of kin of the deceased relative to receive a certificate in their name, but more than one certificate can be provided per family.  You can apply for your ancestor’s Presidential Memorial Certificate at any Veteran’s Affairs Regional Office or by US Mail or Toll Free Fax.  

No requests sent by email will be accepted.  Make sure to include in your request the Veteran’s discharge papers or death certificate to verify your soldier’s eligibility.  The VA does not return original documents so be sure to send only your spare copy.  Researchers can download VA form 40-0247 Application for Presidential Memorial Certificate, fill it out and send it in to the VA Office.  Available in Adobe PDF Format, it includes a cover sheet for researchers to use when preparing their veteran’s documents for submission.

National Archives and Records Administration

Prologue is the official quarterly publication of the National Archives.  Its available in multiple formats and it offers historical stories relating to the holdings of the National Archives.  It alerts the public to the many activities and programs at the various facilities nationwide.  You can access its articles both online and in print.  Prologue magazine brings readers stories based on the rich holdings and programs of the National Archives across the nation—from Washington, DC, to the regional archives and the Presidential libraries.  Researchers can access its articles online or in print.



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