The first time some of us consider our genealogy may occur while standing alongside a grave. We wonder who came from where, becoming inquisitive regarding our own family tree. A bit like solving puzzles, putting together family history takes you across eras, puts “flesh” to names and ancestors you have never heard but would like to have known, and keeps you thirsting for more. The stories that unfold are fascinating and rewarding.
Your family history may have its origins in Tennessee. If so, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover leading genealogical resource centers right here in our big backyard. You will be off to a great start with valuable records, collections, publications, drawings and more. Dig in to find your roots, or accomplish some worthwhile research.
Open seven days a week, East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) at East Tennessee History Center has genealogical programs, such as the popular family heritage programs, First Families of Tennessee and Civil War Families of Tennessee, that record the story of Tennessee—one family at a time.
Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection is the local history and genealogy department of the Knox County Public Library. The McClung Collection is the foremost collection for East Tennessee history and genealogy research, and one of the premier research libraries in the Southeast. While the collection has a strong regional focus, visitors will find a wide selection of materials for Tennessee and other states, as well as Cherokee and African American records.
As the oldest town in Tennessee, Jonesborough was established in 1779, and was the first capital of the failed “State of Franklin,” ultimately Tennessee’s eastern portion. You can read about Jonesborough’s Early Settlers Genealogical Project.
Check into Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library’s research tips section, for guidance regarding search organization.
Facebook brings ongoing live research through Pellissippi Genealogical & Historical Society for the communication and preservation of the history and genealogies of East Tennessee.
The Historical Research Room, in Rutherford County, houses more than 10,000 books covering the eastern, southern and midwest regions of the U.S. and more than 5,000 rolls of microfilm pertaining to genealogical research, as well as county cemetery records, early wills, county census records, community histories, history of the county schools, marriage records and the Rutherford County Historical Society publications.
Serving its 40 counties, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society has published an award-winning quarterly journal entitled The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History since 1987. Also, they sponsor an annual all-day seminar with nationally known speakers and/or local speakers with a main theme.
Tennessee State Library and Archives offers records and materials in Research & Collections, among them: African American records, bibliographies, birth and death records, census records, county records, Governor’s Papers, manuscripts, military records, Native American records, newspapers, place names and maps, state records, Tennessee Acts & Petitions, Tennessee Postcards and additional resources.
Pioneer settlers—of largely Scots-Irish, German, English, French Huguenot, Cherokee, African and Welsh origin—were part of the first great westward movement. Wilma Dykeman, in First Families of Tennessee: A Register of Early Settlers and Their Present-Day Descendants, pays tribute to men and women who established the state. A listing of ancestors represents pioneer families, preachers, Indian traders, longhunters, statesmen, missionaries, land speculators, surveyors, widows, orphans, heroes, and “rascals.” The information for this book was gleaned from the work of thousands of people who researched their families, many for the first time. More than 12,000 charter members of First Families of Tennessee established direct lines of descent from pioneer ancestors who settled in Tennessee before it became a state.
Tennessee Genealogical Society was founded in 1952 and chartered by the state in 1954. The society is presently located in the historic area of Old Germantown at 7779 Poplar Pike, Germantown, Tennessee, near Memphis, with offices and lecture room in the Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center, which also houses the 14,000-volume library. Tennessee Genealogical Society makes a number of publications available to researchers.
Tennessee Historical Commission, in part, functions to encourage diverse study of Tennessee’s history for the benefit of future generations; to protect, preserve, interpret historic sites; to mark important locations, persons, and events in Tennessee history; and to assist in worthy publication projects.
If the idea of beginning with online research to explore your family’s past is appealing, you may go county by county to navigate Tennessee at TNGenWeb Project, a Tennessee genealogical and heritage project.
Midwest Tennessee Historical Society assists its members in genealogical research; holds monthly meetings in Jackson; facilitates interest in genealogical and historical records and with collection and preservation of these, depositing many in libraries and archives.
Mount Juliet West Wilson County TN Historical and Genealogy Society, established 1975, brings together persons interested in history, especially in Mount Juliet and West Wilson County, Tennessee. The society collects genealogies, histories, manuscript material such as letters, diaries, journals. The society provides for the preservation of such material.
West Tennessee Historical Society is the umbrella heritage organization for the Western Grand Division of Tennessee. Within its twenty-one counties, it supports historical programs, archives, publications, preservation, markers, museums and other historical collections. Thus, the society promotes all aspects of state and local history.
Cemeteries mark time and celebrate people. These pastoral places of comfort for families and friends teach us about death, birth, marriage and more.
You can discover new connections to your family tree with cemetery listings, obituaries, burial and military records, surname histories and more.