Back around 2002, I found out about a project called American Local History Network (ALHN). The project is very similar to USGenWeb, but not nearly on as big of a scale and not nearly as widely known. I started out with 2 counties (Cabarrus and Mecklenburg) and then added 6 (Ashe, Johston, Rowan, Wake, Warren, and Wilkes). Almost all of my genealogical research centers around North Carolina, so over the years, I've uncovered information for almost every county in the state. Because of this, I decided to move from the USGenNet site and create my own state page. There are now 2 North Carolina ALHN sites. Creating this site in no way means anything negative towards the other NCALHN website, I just decided to create my own as a supplement to the other. At the bottom of each HTML page, you will find links to the Home (the main page of this site), to ALHN, to different areas of the other NCALHN website. Almost all the data you will find on this site was transcribed by me, but some was submitted and some was transcribed by volunteers (I sent them the documents to transcribe and they sent me the files). And of course I will always accept new data to add to this site if you have any records you would like to transcribe and submit (contact me about file formats, etc. if you would like to help out.)
To tell you a little about myself, my name is Erin Bradford. I graduated from North Carolina State University in December 2001 with my BA in history with a concentration in Southern US history and a minor in Africana studies. I again graduated in May 2005 with an MA in Public History and a concentration in archival management. In May 2008, I graduated from North Carolina Central University with my Masters of Library Science (MLS). I was born and raised in Montana, but I've been living in Raleigh, NC since June 1998. I am the first of my direct Bradford line to be born out of North Carolina since about 1770. From about 1770, starting with David Bradford, and his wife Mary, to about 1930, my line of the Bradford family lived in Cabarrus (Poplar Tent) and Mecklenburg (Charlotte/Cornelius) Counties. After the 1930's, they moved to Mount Airy aka Mayberry, in Surry County and were there until my dad moved to IL in 1970 to be with my mom. Shortly after they married, they moved to Montana and have stayed there ever since.
I have been doing genealogical research for roughly 20 years now (I was 11 when I started) and had no clue what I was doing when I started. I am the first of my direct family to do research, so I was not able to get assistance from any of my relatives. I actually started the research backwards, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was told when I was 11 that we were descendedants of Gov. William Bradford of Mayflower fame, but no one knew how. Being a big Nancy Drew fan, I decided to be the one to find out (and the answer is no, we're not). Because I didn't know what to do, I used secondary sources to start with Gov. Bradford and trace his descendants. I got through 4 generations before I realized I must have been doing something wrong because it was taking forever! I was 16 when the internet started to become really popular (1993) and joined AOL. While on AOL, I found the genealogy rooms and started to regularly attend and it was there that I finally learned the best way to do the research: Start with yourself. Fast forward to today, I believe I've gotten as far as I can with my own family at this point unless I'm actually able to go to PA, MA, and CT and then across the "big pond" (aka, the Atlantic Ocean). What I'm doing now is focusing on gathering more primary documentation for my own family to verify what I already have (since a lot of my early research was based on secondary sources and word of mouth) and then also working on a few special projects focused on North Carolina history and genealogy.
One special project is called The North Carolina Bradford Project and with this project, I am working with other Bradfords to try and sort out and untangle all the North Carolina Bradfords. This project is currently on hold right now, but plan to start again in 2009. I have my own line of Bradfords straightened out, but as the former rootsweb list moderator for the Bradford surname list, I discovered there were LOTS of Bradfords in North Carolina that were not related, yet shared the same names and around the same time. Some folks were getting their lines confused with my line, and so I decided to work to straighten that out. In 2009, I hope to get a quarterly newsletter off the ground to keep those who have submitted their information to me in the loop of what is going on with the project.
The second project I am working on is the documentation and identification of free African Americans in antebellum North Carolina. This project was begun in 2000 with a class I took on slavery throughout the world. We had to write a paper on any aspect of slavery, so I decided to write about the manumission practices in North Carolina. While working on the project, I fell in love with it and have continued working on it since. I also maintain a blog for this project.
This nonprofit research network is affiliated with the American Local History Network, Inc. (ALHN)