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Grigg Genealogical Classification Scheme

The Grigg Genealogical Classification Scheme for genealogy books was created in 1963 by Dorothy C. Grigg, while she was Head of the Cataloging Branch of the State Library of North Carolina. The objectives for the scheme were:

  1. To devise a plan which would fit into the classification scheme used for the rest of the library's collections (i.e., a modification within the framework of the Dewey Decimal classification).
  2. To maintain the present arrangement of material in the genealogy section by place.
  3. To arrange county material for each state in strict alphabetical order by county name instead of in approximate alphabetical order.
  4. To arrange material secondarily within place by author's name alphabetically.
  5. To shorten the call number as much as possible and still achieve the above objectives.

This scheme is used at the State Library of North Carolina for genealogical source materials when arrangement by place (specifically where the Dewey classification number 929.3) is most desirable. Family histories, how-to books, and certain other genealogical materials are not covered by this classification plan.

Instructions and Examples

In all of the following examples, the first line of the call number is the location symbol, GR, and the second line is 929.3. The rest of the call number is created according to certain variables, which will be explored below.

1. For a book which covers more than one country

(third line) ---- A1

(fourth line) ---F312a (capital initial with Cutter number from author's surname, and lower case work mark from title of book).

E.g., Feldman. Anglo-Americans in Spanish archives:


2. For a general book which covers the U.S., or for books covering more than one state in the U.S.

(third line) ---- A11

(fourth line) ---B694i (capital initial and Cutter number from author's surname, and lower case work mark from title of book).

E.g., Bolton. Immigrants to New England:


Quite a number of genealogical reference materials cover a much more specific geographical area, however, such as a single state or even a county within that state. For those materials, letter/number codes were devised to designate states (e.g., O6 = Oregon), and letter codes were created for the counties, parishes or other divisions within a state (e.g., coo = Coos County). Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, was used as the source for the information on the states and their subdivisions. County or parish codes can be accessed via the state table.

Examples of call numbers in which these code tables would be used are below:

3. For books covering one state of the U.S.

(third line) ---- N8 (use state table)

(fourth line) ---O44a (capital Cutter number from author's surname, and lower case work mark from title of book).

E.g., Olds. An abstract of North Carolina wills:


4. For books covering a county, or part of a county (e.g., city, town, church, township, etc., within one county)

(third line) ---- N8cr (arrange by state, using the state table for names of states, and adding lower case work mark from name of county, using special code tables set up for all counties, parishes and divisions. The latter are accessible via the state table.)

(fourth line) --- M821r (Cutter by name of author, with work mark from title of book).

E.g., Moore. Records of Craven County, North Carolina:


5. For books covering two counties

If the book deals primarily with one county, take the work mark from that county. (see #4)

If not, treat it as though it covers the state as a whole. (see #3)

6. For books covering three or more counties

Treat these as though they covered the state as a whole. (see #3)

7. For books dealing with individual foreign countries

(third line) ----Z9I65 (Z9 plus the first letter and Cutter number from the country's name from the Cutter Sanborn tables).

(fourth line) ----I65c (Cutter from author's name with workmark from title).
E.g, Ireland (Eire) Irish Manuscripts Commission.

A census of Ireland, ca. 1659: