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Irene & Russell Black

Iredell County Genealogical Society members Irene Clanton Black and Russell Clarence Black of Statesville recently were honored by the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution with the Historic Preservation Committee’s Historic Preservation Recognition Award.

Longtime members of the Iredell County Genealogical Society, Mr. and Mrs. Black have transcribed, compiled, and published over forty volumes of genealogical and court house records from primary source documents in Iredell County over the past twenty years. Their works are included in library collections throughout the United States and they generously donated copies of all their works to the Iredell County Public Library.

Mrs. Black’s work began when she and Russell purchased microfilm copies of “The Landmark” a Statesville, North Carolina newspaper, and began compiling death notices from the paper from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She later expanded the project to include other newspapers from Statesville and the neighboring city of Mooresville. Mrs. Black then transcribed and published additional volumes from the early newspapers containing genealogical and historical items of interest including birthdays, celebrations, family reunions, obituaries, and church events.

Iredell County Genealogical Society

Russell Black has transcribed and published over twenty volumes of deed abstracts and the abstracts of the minutes of the court of pleas and quarter sessions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The deed abstracts begin in 1788 after the county is formed from Rowan County, and contain early deed information including land grants. The court of pleas and quarter sessions run from 1788 to 1868 and contain valuable information on wills and deeds being proved, guardians appointed for orphans, jury selection, slaves being given their freedom, civil suits for debt, slander, etc.

In April of 1997 Russell and Irene began a two-year project to record the tombstone inscriptions from Iredell County cemeteries. They traveled to more than 120 municipal, church and family cemeteries carrying out a project that took over 2,000 hours and 4,000 to 5,000 miles of travel. The two published their research in a seven volume series of cemetery books containing over 60,000 names. The series earned the couple “The Award for Excellence in Publishing for a set or series of abstracts or transcription of original North Carolina primary source materials” by the North Carolina Genealogical Society. On its website the Society noted that “The Blacks did an outstanding job on the manner of their presentation and abstractions in their volume(s).”

Other publications by Mrs. Black include “Hebron Baptist Church, Cemetery Inscriptions & Obituaries 1909-1996,” a family history, “Ancestors & Descendants of Andrew Leander Tharpe 1843-1927,” “Sarah Jane Whitaker 1847-1929,” and “Family Bibles and Family Records from the Files of the Genealogical Society of Iredell County, N.C. & Other Sources.” Mrs. Black has served as the editor for “Iredell County Tracks,” the journal of the Iredell County Genealogical Society. She has volunteered at the Society’s office for over 20 years. Her most recent publications are “Historical Sketches of Iredell County, Prepared by Dr. Philip Fletcher Laugenour (1852-1916): Published by the ‘Statesville Sentinel’ Newspaper, April 16, 1914 through September 28, 1916” and “Family Bible and Family Records from the files of the Genealogical Society of Iredell County and other sources.”

Russell Black has just published, “Death Notice Abstracts from the Statesville Daily Newspaper, (North Carolina) 1932-1935, Volume VII,” and “Iredell County, N.C. Deed Abstracts Books 8, 9, and 10: 1883-1886.” The Blacks have donated copies of all their publications to the Iredell County Public Library and the Iredell County Genealogical Society.

For information contact the Blacks at rusbla@roadrunner.com or the Iredell County Genealogical Society at clabla@roadrunner.com.