01/05/13 295 W, 1 I - + 3 - 5 Session Laws of North Carolina

Ready for another research aid? Try this one, from the State Library of North Carolina, from their Online Collections shown on that page, from their Digital Collections site, from their North Carolina State Government Publications Collection. With me so far?

Let's look at the Session Laws, which are available from 1817 to 2009. These are texts of the laws passed in the state. They were originally bound in book volumes. They've been digitally scanned and indexed. 

Why in the world would you want to search the state's session laws, you ask? Good question, my friend.

Well, let's say you've found a historical reference to an old fire company. Some crazyguy's web site—he wears Hawaiian shirts even in the winter!—says something like "Rescue Steam Fire Engine Company receives charter from General Assembly. February 24, 1870." And you'd curious what that legislation looked like.

Visit the aforementioned Session Laws site and open the 1869-1870 Private laws. (The laws are divided during some years into Private/Public and Local/Public.) After a few seconds of churning, a bound version of the laws is displayed. And the thing is searchable! Enter "rescue" and click Search. The matched word is first located on Page 14, and shows the "An act to incorporate the Rescue Steam Fire Engine Company, number one, city of Raleigh" on "Page 59." Find the page and enjoy the text. (If the interface has a learning curve, go slow. Or get your ten year-old son/daughter to help you.) Take screen captures, or save the page(s) as PDF, or even the entire book (!) as a PDF document.

How cool is that?! Here's the Rescue Company charter, by the way. Click to slightly enlarge:

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