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A Genealogist In The Archives: The Tennessee State Library and Archives

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Tennessee State Library and Archives

One of the things I wanted to do in 2017 was shine a light on many of our wonderful archives across the United States. While I can't talk about them all, I hope that the ones I do highlight in my blog in 2017 will inspire each and everyone of you to contact these archives and use the mountains of resources they painstakingly process and make available to the researching public.

I am starting with an archive that is dear to my heart and in my own backyard:

The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) which is located in our state's capital, Nashville, Tennessee.

If you have Tennessee ancestors, the TSLA is the place to go!

The whole state of Tennessee was originally part of the state of North Carolina until it became its own state on June 1, 1796.

The TSLA is a treasure trove for genealogists researching Tennessee and North Carolina ancestors. This state library and archives takes great pains to collect and preserve records from all 95 counties in Tennessee and has most of the counties records on microfilm and available for researching in one location. Because North Carolina played a huge part in Tennessee history, the TSLA also has a great collection of North Carolina records.

The TSLA website is a wonderful resource:

Some of the major collections that the TSLA has online are:

-Maps at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
-Tennessee Supreme Court Records Index
-Tennessee State Library and Archives Photograph Collection
-Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee

Just to name a few....

The TSLA also has a section where they list all the local county archives and their contact information. There is a clickable map and directory where you can search by county:

At the present time there are 71 active local county archives out of the 95 counties in Tennessee. The goal of the TSLA is to have an active county archive in each and every county. I am pleased to say that Houston County, Tennessee Archives is one of those very active archives.

The "History and Genealogy" page has a whole list of genealogical records for the genealogist to explore:

Clicking on ""County & Municipal" will give you a drop down menu of great resources to explore for each county in Tennessee.

But don't just use the TSLA website!

If you can travel, I would encourage you to visit the TSLA. They have a wonderful Vertical File Collection, Manuscript Collection, extensive Microfilm Collection of all 95 Tennessee county records and a fantastic reading room with historical and genealogical publications from all 95 Tennessee counties.

Old Card Catalog in the Lobby of the TSLA

If you can not travel, you can still use the resources at the TSLA! Do not let the fact that you are unable to travel deter you from contacting archives and working with them to obtain the records you are seeking.

The staff at TSLA are wonderful and they can be contacted by telephone or email:

Telephone Number: 615-741-2764


One of the reasons I am highlighting archives in 2017 is because many of them could be facing budget cuts this year and as genealogists we need to USE ARCHIVES! When I say "Archives" I mean, county archives, state archives, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, university libraries/archives and museums. Any place where historical or genealogical records are being stored, preserved and made available to the public is an archive.

If we don't use these wonderful archives, they could cut staff, cut budgets, cut hours they are open which would effect all genealogists.

So, as I always say at the end of all my blog posts.....



Get My Legacy Family Tree Quick Guide for more Tips and Advice About:

Researching in Libraries and Archives 


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