E.G. Fisher Public Library currently has over 1,000 books for the local history researcher, including county histories, transcribed county records, family histories, military histories, and church records. McMinn County, in particular, is the focus of the collection; however, the collection includes material on other East Tennessee counties, general Tennessee history, and genealogical material of other southern states, particularly Virginia and North Carolina.
Family Histories/Family Files
Athens Browning Circle Records
Learning About Genealogy
Under Helpful Resources, click “5-step process.”
Useful on-line tutorial with built-in tests and answer keys. Free pedigree charts and group sheets.
To print, locate “Online Tools” and click “Free Charts.”
A link to Adobe Acrobat Reader is provided if needed.
- Family Search
Site of the LDS (Mormon) church. Use “How Do I Begin” for their 5-step process for beginning genealogy. Use “Search for Ancestors: Step-by-step Research Guidance” as a tutorial for using the LDS records on the web.
- Family Tree Maker Online
Commercial site from front-running genealogy software maker.
Offers 1900 census with every-name index.
Use the link, “Helpful Web Sites” to find How-To articles.
Use the “Site Features” link to find Classes.
Compiled Family Data
- Family Search
Search the databases of the LDS church – free of charge.
Use “Search for Ancestors” to search four different data sources: Ancestral File – compiled genealogical data from contributors.
IGI – individual bits of data (birth, marriage, death) from many sources.
Pedigree File – similar to ancestral file; only the index is on the web.
Web sites – searches sites selected by LDS, very limited.
Some entries allow user to contact original contributor.
Use the “Share Information” option to upload your data.
- Ancestry World Tree
Part of Ancestry’s commercial site, but this database is free.
Family data contributed by subscribers and users.
Note various options of ways to view data: register style is most readable.
- Rootsweb World Connect
Free database using family information contributed by thousands of genealogists.
Appears to be less comprehensive than Family Search or Ancestry World Tree, but can be used as an alternative search site.
Some lineages appear on several sites; in other cases there will be discrepancies between sites, even about the same individual.
Mailing Lists & Bulletin Boards
- Rootsweb Mailing Lists
Accessible to anyone with e-mail address. Receive messages posted by everyone on the list.
Lists are not moderated, but generally subscribers follow etiquette rules.
Use “Browse Archives” to check number of subscribers; determine popularity of lists.
- Genforum Message Boards
Accumulated messages and responses by surname, locale or subject.
Able to show an outline of all the “threads” of responses to a single message, and to trace up and down through them.
Check total number of postings to determine popularity of list.
Use “Forum Finder” to search for surname lists, lists by location or subject.
- Rootsweb Message Boards
Similar to Genforum with slightly different format.
Check both Genforum and Rootsweb, different genealogists posts to each one.
One surname may be more active on one or the other of them.
- U.S. GenWeb
Nationwide volunteer project, with a web site for every county in the US (there is also a world-wide site).
County pages vary in usefulness, many contain some local record abstracts.
Pages usually also contain references to local libraries and historical/genealogical societies.
Each page also includes query service – links to post queries or view archived queries.
- Ancestry’s Free Databases
Commercial site with free access to selected databases.
Select “List all Databases” to see what is available; most will be inaccessible without subscription.
Caution: database titles often promise more than they deliver.
- Freedmen’s Bureau
Full text of many records, including marriages of former slaves.
Reports of Klan activities and other harassment of freedmen.
Labor contracts negotiated between former slaves and landowners.
- Federal Land
Search purchasers of Federal Lands beginning in 1820.
Most lands in Alabama, Mississippi and the upper Midwest.
View and print original land patent at no cost.
- Social Security Death Index
Records for deceased members of the SS system from about 1962.
Useful for identifying strayed family members, finding death dates.
- Vital Records
Information for obtaining births, records, marriages in each state.
Describes which records are available by year, where to request.
Some states allow downloading of forms and online index searches.
- Making of America
Making of America is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum to reconstruction including the civil war correspondences found in War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
- Heritage Quest
Use “Census Research Headquarters” to find reel numbers for census by year and county.
Membership is free, cost is $3.25/reel.
- Census Microfilm Rental Program
Your local library can borrow census microfilm through this service for patron use, or patrons can join as individuals.
Fee is $7.50 per roll for first roll, with discounts on additional rolls.
- Census Forms
Forms for all census years, show all columns
Very helpful when transcribing data – and free!
- Soundex Converter
Rootsweb site for determining Soundex code.
Use in conjunction with Heritage Quests reel listings for Soundex.
- Census Online
Follow “Links to Online Data” and search by state/county.
Very few full transcriptions are on the web; many partials or special census records.
- Statistical Census Data
Powerful search engine for census data including population, religion, manufacturing and agriculture, slavery, ethnic groups.
Not for individual name searching; but to learn about ancestors’ locale.
Search by census year for state summaries, then break down by counties.
Match two or more variables for comparisons; use graphing function.
- Clues in Census Records
Quick reminder page for important changes in data collected by each census.
Useful link to NARA’s naturalization page.
Libraries & Archives
- LDS Library
From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in Salt Lake.
Under Family History Library, link to extensive catalog of books and microfilm.
Note that these records include both original documents(microfilmed county records, for example) and published works.
Microfilm (but not print materials) may be borrowed through their Family History Library System. Addresses and hours provided.
- Library of Congress
Massive catalog can be searched on line, beginning at their genealogy page.
Limitation: a large database, so a high number of irrelevant hits is common.
- LSG: Genealogy Libraries on the Web
Not a comprehensive list, but a good way to find a genealogy library in a place you are not familiar with.
Tennessee History & Genealogy
- Tennessee State Library and Archives
Click on History & Genealogy.
This site won an award for it’s content. Search vital records, Tennessee newspapers, county or census records. Special features include searchable military records, a manuscript guide, TN place names and maps, historical photos and images, and many services are available through the mail.
- McMinn County Historical Society and Archives
Major content includes Publications for Sale, Family Files, and Research Books.
Additional links are provided.
- Osiyo : McMinn County Tennessee Links
Many local information sites.
- Other State Libraries Links to all State Library web sites
Many state libraries have large genealogical collections.
Virtually all have on-line catalogs at these web sites. Some will have other genealogical aids.
- Other State Archives Links to all State Archives web sites
Many of these sites contain indexes to state records, information about how to request copies of records, and other genealogical aids.
- National Archives
Go to The Research Room, then History and Genealogy for great overviews and research tips on a variety of subjects.
In the Research Room follow link to search the ARC catalog. ARC can be searched for surnames, but main use is for subjects.
When searching ARC, always view the Series record for details.
- My Tennessee GenealogyNew!
Search via county for many resources.
People Searching & Maps
Search for individuals, or to find everyone of a surname in a place.
Must know the state, or search each one individually.
Sites are very similar but different data is retrieved from each.
- Yahoo Maps
Both sites will provide maps of cities, streets, addresses.
Use with old city directories to identify ancestor’s home or business location.
Zoom in-and-out feature can be difficult to get used to.
Can provide driving directions, but remember it is a computer and has never actually driven anywhere!
- United States Geological Survey – Geographic Names Information System
Detailed maps of the entire United States.
Includes geographical features such as creeks, mountains, etc.
Includes all incorporated and unincorporated towns.
Includes many named man-made features such as schools, cemeteries.
Powerful search engine can search by all of these features; links to map.
The resources listed above were reviewed and selected by Chuck Sherrill, Director of Brentwood Library, Brentwood, Tenn., for his workshop entitled, “Genealogy for 2003 and Beyond: A Solinet Workshop”.
- McMinn County Historical Society https://www.facebook.com/McMinn-County-Historical-Society-385446454864729/
- Tennessee Genealogical Society https://tngs.org/
- East Tennessee Genealogical Society https://www.easttnhistory.org/
- Federation of Genealogical Societies
- General Society of Mayflower Descendants
- Jamestowne Society
- National Genealogical Society
- National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Home Page
- National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
- New England Historic Genealogical Society
- Sons of Confederate Veterans
- Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
- United Daughters of the Confederacy
- Documenting the American South
Updated August 2021