Photography tools

Genealogy: Search Tools Help Find North Carolina Family Lines, Locate Ancestor’s Property | Valley life

If you have family lines associated with North Carolina, you might want to check out membership in the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Founded in 1974, its objectives are to increase interest in genealogy, to familiarize members with research materials and resources, to raise research standards, to promote the collection and preservation of historical records, to provide ongoing training and function as a platform for members to exchange information.

Membership is $40 per year for an individual and $45 for a family. Their website is Members receive a subscription to the monthly NCCS News and the quarterly NCCS Journal, full online access to back issues of the Journal, free online webinars with unlimited viewing thereafter (there are currently 38 archived presentations in library), audio lectures, members-only website content and bookstore discounts.

For members and non-members, “Tools of the Trade,” a series of 21 articles by Terry Moore, CG, covering research in North Carolina, is also available for free download.


At some point, most people begin to wonder if their ancestor’s home, farm or business is still standing and where the land was. There are several tools that can help researchers find these places of the past.

City and county directories: These are available intermittently for even smaller cities and towns and the rural areas around them. Look for them in national and local libraries, archives and historical societies, as well as online. has many on its site.

Google Earth: After finding an address, use Google Earth to see if the building is still standing. To download or use it online, go to Once it takes you to the aerial view of the address, be sure to go to “street view” to see the building up close. There is no Street View for rural and rural areas on Google Earth; However, you can still use the aerial view to locate your ancestor’s land. This can be done by using EarthPoint (which I talked about last week) to enter the coordinates of the land and then visualizing them on Google Earth. The result is a delineated aerial view of the exact size and location of the terrain.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: If you can’t find the house or building because it was destroyed, you can still see a footprint of the old building by going to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Indiana maps are available at The maps cover all cities in the United States that had a population of 2,000 or more.

Flat maps: For farms and rural areas, look for county flat maps. These show the location, area and ownership of land in each township within a county. The Indiana State Library has an extensive collection of these maps, many of which are online.


Photographs: Be sure to look through family photos for photos taken in front of a home or business, or on a farm. Also check out photo collections (such as the Martin Photo Collection covering topics in Vigo County) which may have images that include property from your ancestors.


The Wabash Valley Genealogy Society will have its November presentation, “The Great War: Researching Your World War I Ancestors,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday via Zoom presentation. This will be presented by Michael L. Strauss. The program is free for WVGS members only. All members will receive a link to the webinar that will allow them to view it. To join the WVGS, visit