When I begin a deep dive on individuals in North Carolina, “Digital North Carolina” is the place that I go. It is one of the best websites that I know of for North Carolina information. The site contains North Carolina specific yearbooks, newspapers, city directories, images and other digital records.
George W. Hobbs (1805-1858) – York Rite Mason
George W. Hobbs is an ancestor that I’ve had difficulty finding his vital data. I’ve long wondered what his death date is. I have been unable to find George in the 1860 Census, although I have found his children dispersed around the country. I do see him enumerated in the 1850 Census, so I’ve long believed that he died sometime between 1850 and 1860. I was wondering if Digital North Carolina could help me pinpoint George’s death.
I searched for George Hobbs and received 477 results in Digital Content and another 75 hits in Newspapers. The system provides the 20 most relevant but I wanted to focus a bit more on my George. Although it is counter-intuitive, if you select “View Entire Result Set.” At the top of the new page is an option for Advanced Search (you don’t see the Advanced Search before then). From the Advanced search page I entered to search for the exact phrase “George Hobbs” and received 12 results; a much more manageable number. Most of the results were Masonic documents.
|Symbol of Royal Arch Masons
There were several “Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient York Masons.” Through them, I was able to follow much of George Hobbs’s Masonic Life. I saw him first as a member Orr Lodge, No 104 in Washington, in 1840 and saw him as a member there for several years. Then I found him as a member of the Ancient York Masons, Conoho Lodge, No. 131, in Hamilton. His participation continues with the Conoho Lodge through June 1858. Beginning in 1959 Conoho Lodge failed to submit their annual “return” to the Grand Lodge. I noted they failed to return their information in 1859 and 1860. There were no returns during the Civil War. In 1867, the Conoho Lodge was suspended by the Grand Lodge.
No, the Digital North Carolina records found didn’t answer my question fully about when George Hobbs died, however, it did provide valuable information. I know he was alive when the Conoho Lodge submitted it membership information in June, 1858, which places his death between June 1858 and May 1860. George doesn’t show up in the 1860 Mortality Schedule, so that suggests he died between June 1858 and June 1859.
More importantly, the Digital North Carolina records provided a much clearer of his interests. He was a Mason while he lived in Washington, Beauford County, North Carolina. He maintained his Masonic activities after he moved to Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina. I also saw learned he had been a Senior Warden and was a member of the York Rite.
Digital North Carolina is on my list of “must-visit” sites whenever I am researching North Carolina ancestors; I hope you add it to your list too.
Digital North Carolina Yearbooks, Newspapers, Images, Memorabilia, City Directories and more.