Knox County Public Library

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United States go to Tennessee go to Archives and Libraries go to Knox County Public Library

Knox County Public Library
McClung Historical Collection


Contact Information

E-mail:[1]  Ask a librarian form.


601 South Gay Street 3rd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

Telephone:[2]  865-215-8801


Sun:1:00 – 5:00
Mon:9:00 – 8:30
Tues:9:00 – 8:30
Wed:9:00 – 5:30
Thurs:9:00 – 5:30
Fri:9:00 – 5:30
Sat:9:00 – 5:00

Directions, map, and public transportation:

Internet sites and databases:

  • Knox County Public Library hours and locations, go to catalog, explore the collection, calendar and programs, about, local and family history, kid zone, teen central, news, and events.
  • KCPL catalog online search by keyword, author, title, subject, or series.

Collection Description

The Knox County Public Library's McClung Historical Collection on the 3rd floor of the East Tennessee History Center is the premier genealogy repository in this part of Tennessee. It has an index to early Tennessee and North Carolina families. No index in North Carolina can top this one.[3]  This library has Internet genealogy databases, more than 75,000 books, 3,000 genealogies, 15,000 First Families of Tennessee, manuscripts, censuses, state and local government records, newspapers, Knoxville city directories, maps, and photos. The same building also houses the Knox County Archives, and the East Tennessee Historical Society and Museum.[4]


  • Local and Family History Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Archives, East Tennessee Historical Society and Museum, Historical Resources A - Z, Getting Started with Genealogy, Events, and New at McClung.


Many photographs are online in the McClung Digital Collection.

Alternate Repositories

If you cannot visit or find a source at the Knox County Public Library, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

In the Same Building

  • 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 submission files for First Families of Tennessee and surname files are accessible to the public.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • Museum of East Tennessee History showcases the history of 35 regional counties.

Overlapping Collections

  • National Archives at Atlanta records of federal agencies and courts for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, censuses, ships lists, naturalizations, Indian records, and military records.[7]
  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, African Americans, vital records,censuses, county records, tax lists, local histories, school censuses, manuscripts, military records, Native Americans, newspapers, obituary lists, maps, state agency records, petitions, Tennessee postcards, city directories, prison inmates, and TN county historians.[8]

Similar Collections

  • Chattanooga Public Library Downtown, has the Upper South's largest family folder collection which is heavy on North Carolina,[9]  Internet genealogy databases, census, newspapers, obituary index, county records, 30,000 books, manuscripts, and genealogical periodicals.[10]
  • Knox County Public Library, Knoxville, has the best index to North Carolina families,[9]  Internet genealogy databases, 75,000 books, genealogies, First Families of Tennessee, manuscripts, censuses, state and local government records, newspapers, Knoxville city directories, maps, and photos.[11]

Neighboring Collections

  • Knoxville Public Library, online genealogy databases like Cyndi's List, Ellis Island, FamilySearch, and Rootsweb.
  • Knox County Library, cardholder access to databases like, HeritageQuest, and TN Sanborn maps. 
  • Knox County Clerk, probates since 1789; marriages, divorces, court records since 1792; tax records since 1806.[12]
  • Knox County Register of Deeds, land records since 1791.[13]
  • Knox County Clerk of the Circuit Court, court records since 1792; probate records since 1792.[13]
  • County Vital Records Office
  • County Archives
  • County Orphan's Court
  • County Probate Court
  • County Recorder
  • County Coroner
  • County and local historical societies
  • County and local genealogical societies
  • U.S. District Court
  • Museums and heritage societies
  • University of Tennessee Hodges Library
  • Watauga Association of Genealogists, Johnson City, meetings, services, publications, genealogists.
  • The Hermitage Museum, Nashville, Pres. Andrew Jackson's home, to learn about TN lifestyles.
  • Church archives
  • Repositories in surrounding counties: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Loudon, Sevier, Roane, and Union
  • State Vital Records Office
  • Tennessee Historical Society
  • Tennessee Genealogical Society Library
  • Repositories in other surrounding states (or provinces): Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia.
  • North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC, census, military, courts, bond, deed, estate, vital record, tax, wills.[14]
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.[15]
  • Bristol Public Library, Bristol, VA, not a big library, but important for finding families traveling the Great Valley Road into Tennessee and Kentucky.[16]
  • Clayton Library, Houston, TX, censuses, military, passenger lists, periodicals, family histories, maps, Texas and Southern U.S. records, veritcal files, British vital records index, German, Canadian records.[17]
  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and Mormon records.
  • Library of Virginia, Richmond, large genealogy collection including births and deaths 1853-1896, marriages before 1936, histories, biographies, newspapers, Bibles, and huge manuscript collection (about half online), military and Civil War records, deeds, wills and other court records.[18] [19]
  • Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown, CA, holds the Tina Brayton Collection which is equivalent to the Draper Collection but larger and with a better index, and many compiled genealogies of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia  families.[9] [20]


  1. Ask a librarian in Knox County Public Library (accessed 19 February 2014).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection in Knox County Public Library (accessed 19 February 2014).
  3. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 85. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  4. Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection in Knox County Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
  5. First Families of Tennessee in East Tennessee Historical Society (accessed 20 February 2014).
  6. Knox County Archives in East Tennessee Historical Society (accessed 20 February 2014).
  7. Checklist of Records Available for Research into Family History at NARA's Southeast Region in National Archives (accessed 13 February 2014).
  8. Research and Collections in Tennessee Archives and Libraries (accessed 23 May 2010).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Dollarhide and Bremer, 85.
  10. Local History and Genealogy Department in Chattanooga Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
  11. Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection in Knox County Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
  12. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Publ., 2002), 641.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Alice Eichholz, ed. Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 638.
  14. Types of Government Records in State Archives of North Carolina (accessed 20 February 2014).
  15. The Genealogy Center: A Tradition of Excellence in Genealogy Center - Allen County Public Library (accessed 19 February 2014).
  16. Dollarhide and Bremer, 105
  17. Collections in Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research (accessed 19 February 2014).
  18. Dollarhide and Bremer, 113.
  19. Genealogy in Virginia Department of Health (accessed 4 January 2014).
  20. The Tina Brayton Collection in Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County (accessed 3 January 2014).