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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Preface to Volume 4 of the Index to the Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Weeks, Stephen Beauregard, 1865-1918
August 03, 1914
Volume 30

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In concluding this volume it seems proper to remind the reader once more that in the accompanying Index the conscious and deliberate effort has been made to have every proper adjective and every proper name, regardless of its relative importance, indexed every time it occurs; that every fact, every separate item which is distinct enough to have a form and substance of its own, has been indexed under every appropriate heading, and that each heading has been made as full as if no other heading was to be used. Notwithstanding this care, it will still be well for the student to check up the references under one heading by those under others and to examine, not only the material found under headings that may be counted more or less as synonyms, but also to examine references to materials under headings related, but not synonyms, for it would be impossible for an indexer to keep every synonym constantly in mind and use them always without variation. It is hoped that by this method the simplest investigator, provided he knows how to find words in a dictionary, may easily get all that this Index has on his chosen subject, whether it be, for instance, Customs, Duties, Imports, Taxes; or, Quit rents, Rents, Taxes.

It may be well to add also that, taking this work seriatim in indexing, relationships between parts have been seen which would not appear on the surface to the casual reader. The pages where such relationships—hidden references, as it were—appear have been given in the Index as well as those on which the original subject appears under its own name. By examining together all the references given, the reader may also see the connection.

I have grouped all references to well known personal names under the usual and correct form of that name, regardless of the vagaries of spelling that may characterize the contemporary writer. When the individual mentioned happens to be one who has not won for himself an assured niche in the temple of our State history I have been constrained to put the name down as it appears, or to put it under the most used form, with variant forms in parenthesis. I have also hoped to simplify the finding of names by inserting many cross references to variant forms, but the careful student when tracing family history will, independent of any suggestion from me, run down all names which may be considered variants of the one on which he is working. Only in this way can he be sure that he has all references

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to a particular individual. And the capacity of these pioneers--strong, vigorous nation builders, but unlearned in books—to misspell personal names is marvellous. In this Index the same names vary in spelling—

Like autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallambrosa

Another matter has caused no little trouble. That is the difficulty in differentiating references between two or more persons of the same name, living in the same section and at the same time. It is an old and familiar specter to genealogists, and can be solved only by a long and careful study of the surroundings. This I have had no opportunity to give. So far as my judgment permits, I have grouped the references to one man under his name, but it must not be assumed that all references assigned to any particular John Smith are his beyond question, and I may be pardoned if among the 125 John Smiths entered in this Index I have not assigned to each all of his own and only his own quota of references. The grouping given is simply the judgment of the Compiler from his general knowledge of the subject, aided by the time at which the subject is on the stage, with any other help that he was able to command for the moment. An absolutely correct grouping could be had only by the most minute and particular and painstaking comparison of the facts furnished by the records, supplemented by exhaustless sources of outside information. this task of verification I gladly leave to the research worker. It is his by right, not mine, and the careful student will, in any case, make this examination and comparison for himself, regardless of what I may have done.

I have printed at the end of the Index a short list of Addenda et Corrigenda, covering of course only such errors as have been called to my attention. In preparing this I sent a personal letter to some twenty-five of the leading students of the State's history, all of whom have used the Index and so have had opportunity to test its accuracy, with the request that they send me a list of such errors as they had found in the course of their investigations. Three answers were received. One correspondent assumed that there were, necessarily, some errors; another pointed out minor mistakes in interpretation; the third sent some half dozen corrections. If the character and extent of the replies from students can be taken as a guide, then there need be no fear of the general accuracy of the whole. In a work of

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this size, extending to perhaps more than 400,000 entries, errors are to be expected, although the utmost care has been taken to avoid them. The two accidents that happened to the manuscript—once through the treachery of Indian assistants and once through somebody's carelessness—were remedied only at an infinite expenditure of time and care, but were so successfully remedied that I believe the Index as printed is more accurate and complete than before the occurrence of the accidents. My own use of the Index in manuscript, which has been quite extensive, and the reports I have had on it from scholars, lead me to believe that the total of errors and omissions will not exceed 1 per cent.


In addition to the names of those persons mentioned in volume 26 as assisting me in the work, my thanks are also due to Misses Sallie, Pattie, and Rosalie Turner, who read proof; to Mr. Julian A. Turner, Jr., who spent faithful months in repairing the damage done to the manuscript by water after it had left the Compiler's hands; to my wife, Mrs. Sallie Mangum Leach Weeks, and to my son R. Jackson Weeks, Ensign U. S. N., who relieved me of the tedium of indexing long lists of personal names, and to my son W. P. Mangum Weeks, who assisted in proof-reading, my grateful thanks are due. Nor should I fail to mention in this connection Mr. B. W. Nash, who in the early days of the printing was alone found capable of deciphering my handwriting—said to have acquired celebrity among wandering typesetters from Washington to Florida; nor Mr. E. M. Uzzell, the printer of the fourth volume, and his capable assistants who by their accuracy and care have saved me from the blush of shame which often comes when volumes two and three are compared with volume four. To these gentlemen who have worked with me for more than seven years over the difficult task of printing, and to Mr. George B. Justice, Assistant Commissioner of Labor and Printing, who, understanding the difficulties involved, has helped forward the work in every possible way and, appreciating the value of accuracy, has insisted always on correctness in the details of typographical form, my heartfelt thanks are due.


And now the Compiler has ceased writing cards, has ceased alphabetizing and editing, has said his last word to long suffering printers; he and they have read the last lines of proof; the last forms are being run off and the Compiler, after more than eighteen years of exacting

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labor and unremitting attention to atrophying details, is about to lay aside his pen and rest forever from the making of this Index—a task difficult, laborious, exhausting, and thankless, but far from uninteresting; a task carried on amid the distractions of other employments, accomplished in sickness and death, in pleasure and pain, in good report and ill report, in peace and success, in struggle and defeat, within sight of the Nation's Capitol, on top of New Mexican mountains, under the spell of the awe–compelling silence of Arizonan deserts, and amid the beautiful rural scenery of Piedmont North Carolina—with the conclusion of his work he may be pardoned, perhaps, if he pauses for a moment and invites his readers to join him in an expression of gratitude to the fathers for their efforts—their many and long continued efforts—which have finally culminated in this noble series of Records which the State of North Carolina now contributes as her share towards the early history of the American Nation.

Stephen B. Weeks

Washington, D. C.,
February 3, 1896, and
August 3, 1914.