Because of my husband’s Williams family, I have spent many hours delving into Tennessee records. Here are some of my favorite websites, all free.
1. Tennessee State Library and Archives – If you are a Tennessee resident, then this is a great online resource as you have full access to items on line. Out of state residents are restricted from using many of the wonderful sounding databases, like the Civil War Era Database and 19th Century Newspapers, but do have access to others, e.g. Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee. If you don’t live in Tennessee, check the various databases as you might find a gem.
TSLA used to offer not only an index to some Tennessee death records, but also free image access. That, too, has been somewhat restricted, as they have partnered with Ancestry.com. Anyone can search the index for free at Tennessee State Library and Archives on Ancestry, but to view the images, free access is again available only to Tennessee residents here. Others must have an Ancestry subscription.
2. TN GenWeb – Some of the county sites are full of unique genealogical finds, while others have only very basic links and information. Take the time to look at any counties of interest. I’ve used Morgan County, which had significant record loss due to fire in the 1860’s, and Roane County extensively through the years.
3. Online Tennessee Death Records and Indexes – This site has free links, but also some to subscription sites.
4. Nashville Public Library – has an excellent list of links to other sites, ranging from ethnic groups to free forms to other Tennessee sources.
5. Tennessee Genealogical Society – There is free access to digitized issues of Ansearchin’, their periodical, from 1960 to 2003. Reading more recent issues requires a membership.
6. Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society – Here is a page with links to Middle Tennessee counties and their TSLA fact sheets, TN GenWeb site, and if the county has one, their county archives, county historical societies and county genealogical societies. A quick way to find lots of information on middle Tennessee.
7. Knox County Public Library McClung Digital Collection – A number of collections in this repository cover not only Knox County, but all of East Tennessee.
8. Access Genealogy – Tennessee site includes links to transcriptions of Goodspeed’s Biographies, military history links and a long list of links to free Rootsweb TN databases
9. Findagrave – Find A Grave certainly isn’t an unknown resource, but I’ve included on this list because I have found many ancestor graves in small family burial plots and abandoned cemeteries here. Tennessee is doing a good job of cataloging their cemeteries on this site.
Be sure to check your local library websites for towns of interest, or give the reference librarian there a call, to determine what genealogical holdings they might have.