Tennessee Archives and Libraries

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These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Tennessee.

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Tennessee[edit | edit source]

National Archives at Atlanta  · Tennessee State Library and Archives · Chattanooga Public Library Downtown · East Tennessee Historical Society · Knox County Public Library · Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center · Kingsport Public Library · Memphis Public Library and Information Center · Nashville Metropolitan Government Archives · Nashville Public Library · University of Memphis Library · University of Tennessee Knoxville Hodges Library · University of Tennessee at Martin Library · Allen County Public Library · Bristol Public Library  · Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research · Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown

Online Records of Tennessee[edit | edit source]

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.
National Archives at Atlanta (in Morrow GA)

National Repositories[edit | edit source]

National Archives at Atlanta[edit | edit source]

National Archives at Atlanta
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260 USA
Telephone: 770-968-2100
Fax: 770-968-2547
E-mail: atlanta.archives@nara.gov
Website: National Archives at Atlanta

The National Archives at Atlanta has records from over 100 federal agencies and courts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Also includes Vice Admiralty Courts of SC, evolution of federal courts, Revolutionary War, Civil War, reconstruction, World Wars I and II, and space exploration. Microfilms for censuses, diplomatic missions, military service records, bounty-land applications, passenger arrivals, naturalizations, American Indians, and African Americans.[1]

Statewide Repositories[edit | edit source]

Tenn State Library and Archives in Nashville

Tennessee State Library and Archives[edit | edit source]

Tennessee State Library and Archives
403 Seventh Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243-0312
Telephone: 615-741-2764
Fax: 1-615-532-2472
Website: Tennessee State Library and Archives

This is the best genealogical facility in in Tennessee. It includes public records, original county records, genealogies, biographies, and Confederate soldier records.[2]
Paper. The library has printed materials, and the archives have original Tennessee government records and other historical documents. Many of their records are microfilmed. Their web site includes 19th Century Newspapers, Civil War Era Database, Nashville city directories, and an inventory of Tennessee county records.
Microfilms can be borrowed on interlibrary loan using the Tennessee State Library and Archives website. The records include: • Marriages • Probate • Land and Property

Tennessee State Library and Archives Indexes let you search Tennessee records.
Volunteer Voices Collection "Volunteer Voices provides access to digitized primary sources, such as photographs, letters, diaries, oral histories, and other artifacts, documenting the history and culture of Tennessee. The collection includes materials from archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums from across the state."

Regional Repositories[edit | edit source]

Chattanooga Public Library[edit | edit source]

Chattanooga Public Library

Chattanooga Public Library Downtown
1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
Telephone: 423-757-5317
E-mail: library@lib.chattanooga.gov
Website: Genealogy Resources

Includes the Upper South's largest family folder collection which is heavy on Tennessee and North Carolina.[3] Internet genealogy databases, census, newspapers, obituary index, county records, 30,000 books, manuscripts, and genealogical periodicals.[4]

East Tennessee Historical Center

East Tenn Historical Center in Knoxville

601 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37901-1629
Telephone: 865-215-8801
Website: East Tennessee Historical Society

East Tennessee Historical Society[edit | edit source]

  • East Tennessee Historical Society has for over 175 years recorded stories, collected artifacts, and educated visitors with lectures, and publications such as First Families of Tennessee, and the new Civil War Families of Tennessee. The original 15,000 applications for First Families of Tennessee project, and surname files are accessible to the public.[5]

In the same East Tennessee Historical Center building:

Knox County Public Library[edit | edit source]

  • Knox County Public Library Calvin M. McClung Historical Collections, Website: Knox County Public Library.  The McClung Historical Collection features an index to early Tennessee and North Carolina families. This is the best family history and genealogy index for these two states. The McClung Historical Collection’s primary focus is east Tennessee; it holds one of the country’s leading research collections about the region, including Internet genealogy databases, more than 75,000 books, 3,000 genealogies, manuscripts, censuses, state and local government records, newspapers, Knoxville city directories, maps, and photos. In addition to the east Tennessee material, the collection also contains research guides and census indexes for many states in the United States, especially 11 states in the South. The Knox County Public Library also offers the free online Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection.[3] [6]
  • Knox County Archives since 1792 collects history and county government records such as marriages, divorces, deeds, probates, County-Chancery-Circuit-Criminal-Juvenile-Superior court, tax, and school records, and online databases.[7]
  • Museum of East Tennessee History showcases the history of the region and its 35 counties.

Germantown Regional Hist & Gen Center[edit | edit source]

Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138
Telephone: 901-757-8480
Website: Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center

The Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center (GRHGC) is the special collections division of Germantown Community Library. It is a repository for non-circulating books, microfilm, periodicals, photographs, and maps for genealogical and historical research for the Mid-South, Eastern and Southern states, including plenty of family folders, and county histories.[2]

Kingsport Public Library[edit | edit source]

Kingsport Public Library
400 Broad Street
Kingsport, TN 37660-4292
Telephone Reference: 423-224-2539; Archives: 423-224-2559
E-mail: Contact us form
Website: Genealogy and Local History

One of the best family folder collections in the South, especially for East Tennessee, and a good set of genealogical reference books.[2]

Memphis Public Library and Info Center[edit | edit source]

Memphis Public Library and Information Center
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
3030 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111-3527
Telephone: 901-415-2700
E-mail: hisref@memphis.lib.tn.us
Website: Genealogy

They have a huge collection of books, indexes, guides, aids, periodicals, family folders, county histories with statewide coverage.[2] The genealogical holdings of the History Department's Memphis and Shelby County Room include manuscripts, maps, biographies, histories and directories relating to Memphis, Shelby County, and the mid-south region.

Nashville Metro Government Archives[edit | edit source]

Nashville Metropolitan Government Archives
3801 Green Hills Village Dr.
Nashville, TN 37215
Telephone: 615-862-5880
Website: Metropolitan Government Archives

Houses the original Davidson County and Nashville City records to about 1966. Website includes links to web resources maintained by the Friends of the Metro Archives.

Nashville Public Library[edit | edit source]

Nashville Public Library
615 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37219
Telephone: 615-862-5800
Website: Nashville Public Library

The Nashville Room of the Nashville Public Library maintains the genealogical collection.  In addtion, the library website includes indexes to Nashville marriages 1864-1905, Tennessean obituary index 1964-present, Nashville City Cemetery index and Nashville photographs 1940-1976. Look for links to web resources maintained by the Friends of the Metro Archives.  Vertical files of newspaper clippings and family histories,  manuscripts concerning Nashville and Davidson County families, historic photographs and Nashville City Directories are available to to library patrons.

University of Memphis Library[edit | edit source]

University of Memphis Library
Special Collections Department
126 Ned R. WcWherter Library
Memphis, TN 38152-3250
Telephone: 901-678-8242
Fax: 901-678-8218
Website: University of Memphis Libraries

University of Tennessee Knoxville Hodges Library[edit | edit source]

University of Tennessee Knoxville Hodges Library
John C. Hodges Library, Special Collections
1401 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-1000
Telephone: 423-974-4480
Website: Univ of Tenn Knoxville University Libraries

They have manuscripts, biographies, family histories, local and county histories, federal records, church records, ethnic and American Indians (especially Cherokees), river traffic information, and outstanding historical reference books.[2] The library’s catalog is online and the Tennessee Newspaper Project is available through the catalog.

University of Tennessee at Martin Library[edit | edit source]

University of Tennessee at Martin Library
Paul Meek Library, Special Collections
West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
554 University St
Martin, TN 38237
Telephone: 731-881-7464
E-mail: speccoll@utm.edu
Website: West Tennessee Heritage Study Center

The WTHSC focuses on the genealogy, social history, cultures, and family history of Tennessee and its counties. Their collection includes all of Tennessee but is more in-depth for northwest Tennessee. They also collect newspapers, regional county records, and have federal censuses for Tennessee 1780–1930. Their WTHSC Index is an important resource.[8]

Outside of Tennessee Repositories[edit | edit source]

Allen County Public Library[edit | edit source]

Allen County Public Library

Allen Co Public Library IN

900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Telephone: 260-421-1225
E-mail: genealogy@acpl.info
Website: Genealogy Center ACPL

This is the second-largest genealogy collection in the United States[9] and the largest genealogy collection in a public library. Its holdings include more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items on microfilm and microfiche.[10] It has a premier genealogical periodical collection, local histories, genealogies, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic sources, and Canadians. They have a great eastern seaboard and Tennessee collection.[11]

Bristol Public Library[edit | edit source]

Bristol Public Library in Virginia

Bristol Public Library
701 Goode Street
Bristol, VA 24201-4199
Telephone: 540-645-8780
Fax: 276-669-5593
E-mail: bplref@yahoo.com
Website: Bristol Public Library in Virginia

They have a relatively small family folder collection. Nevertheless, it is an important resource for settlers coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and northern Virginia  along the Great Valley Road into Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.[12]

Clayton Library Cntr for Geneal Research[edit | edit source]

Clayton Library in Houston TX

Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
5300 Caroline
Houston, TX 77004
Telephone: 713-284-1999
Website: Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

One of America's best genealogical collections. Especially strong for Texas, adjoining states, and Tennessee.[2]

Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown
224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Telephone: 831-427-7707 ext. 5794
E-mail: E-mail reference service form
Website: Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown

Holds the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County's library, including the Tina Brayton Collection which is equivalent to the Draper Manuscript Collection  but larger and with a better index, and many compiled genealogies of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia families.[13] [14]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

  • Ellen Garrison, ed., Archives in Appalachia: A Directory. (Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1985). WorldCat 12712710; FHL Book 975 A3a. This work covers the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The record is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the name of the repository. Each entry lists the archive, its address, telephone number, inclusive dates of the collection, the records of the collection, what subjects are covered by the collection, and the size of the collection.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 127-28. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dollarhide and Bremer, 105.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dollarhide and Bremer, 85.
  4. Local History and Genealogy Department in Chattanooga Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
  5. First Families of Tennessee in East Tennessee Historical Society (accessed 8 April 2021).
  6. Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection in Knox County Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
  7. Knox County Archives in East Tennessee Historical Society (accessed 20 February 2014).
  8. West Tennessee Heritage Study Center in University of Tennessee Martin (accessed 5 November 2015).
  9. Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
  10. Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
  11. Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
  12. Dollarhide and Bremer, 105.
  13. Dollarhide and Bremer, 113.
  14. The Tina Brayton Collection in Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County (accessed 3 January 2014).