Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com


Banner - Vital Check

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com

The great state of Tennessee has more lists of online archives than it has double-letters in its name. Might as well get right to it.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives list of its key Digital Collections is actually a list of other lists, some of which I'll detail here:

Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA) -- a very nice collection marred by a clumsy interface and a deliberate effort, all too common at some archives, to impose user-unfriendly limits on image access.  
  • Alvin C. York aka Sgt. York
  • Andrew Johnson Collection
  • Arts, Crafts & Folklife Photos
  • Bernhardt Wall Etchings
  • Chistopher D. Ammons
  • Civil War Maps
  • Civil War Military Records
  • Civil War Soldier Photographs
  • Civil War Visual Culture
  • Civilian Conservation Corps
  • Civilian Life in the Civil War
  • Dr. Harry Mustard Photo Album
  • Early 20th Century Schoolhouses
  • Fisk University Scrapbook
  • Hardy A. Mitchener, Jr. Journal
  • Historical Maps of Tennessee
  • Looking Back - The Civil War in Tennessee
  • Miers River Photo Collection
  • Nineteenth Century Agricultural Resources
  • Nineteenth Century Native American Prints
  • Quilts
  • Reconstruction and the African-American Legacy in Tennessee
  • Rose Music Collection
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Tennessee's Founding and Landmark Documents
  • Tennessee's School for the Deaf
  • Tennessee Centennial Exposition
  • Tennessee in World War I
  • Tennessee Postcard Collection
  • Tennessee School for the Deaf
  • Tennessee State Guard
  • The Beautiful Jim Key Collection
  • The Scopes 'Monkey' Trial
  • Throwaway History - The Broadside in American Culture
  • War and Reunion - The Lost Cause in Southern Memory
  • William Strickland Sketchbook, 1838

Nashville City Directories -- Complete directories, beginning in 1853

Tennessee's Landmark Documents -- Significant documents in the formation and early history of the state

Photograph Database -- An index to offline content 

Tennessee Government Web Archive -- Archived state government webpages. 

There are a number of excellent Civil War Resources:
  • Civil War Era Database -- Nearly 2,000 pamphlets and eight newspapers (1840-1865).
  • Civil War Sourcebook -- Over 7,000 articles from September 1, 1861 through September 30, 1865.
  • Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee -- Manuscripts, artifacts and photographs
  • Tennessee Civil War GIS Project -- An interactive map-based website that displays over 750 Civil War battles and skirmishes in Tennessee 
  • Chronicling America -- Civil War era newspapers from Athens, Fayetteville, Bristol, Knoxville, Clarksville, Memphis, Columbia and Nashville.
Historical Newspapers (19th Century) has the unusual feature of being accessible only to residents of Tennessee (or at least, those who provide a TN zip code and phone number...hint, hint)

The list of Research and Collections at the archives is too long to go into full detail here, but here are the main headings:
  • African American Records
  • Bibliographies
  • Birth and Death Records
  • Census Records
  • County Records
  • Early Legislative Records, Acts & Petitions
  • Governor's Papers
  • Manuscripts
  • Military Records
  • Native American Records
  • Newspapers
  • Place Names and Maps
  • State Records
  • Supreme Court
  • Tennessee Postcards
  • Additional Resources
and here's the breakdown of the individual collections (told you there are a lot of lists!)
  • Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names
  • African American Collections of Note TSLA
  • Alphabetical  Listings
  • Bibliography  of Tennessee Local History Sources
  • Bibliography of  Tennessee Bibliographies
  • Burial Records of Federal Soldiers by W.R. Cornelius and Company
  • City Directories at  the Tennessee State Library & Archives
  • Civil War
  • Core List of  Tennessee Books
  • Courts Where Tennessee  Court Cases Were Tried
  • Davidson County  Death Records 1900-1913
  • Death Notices in Nashville Newspapers  1855-1907
  • Earliest County  Records
  • Early County Records  Available on Interlibrary Loan
  • Early Legislative Records
  • Early Tennessee Tax  Lists at TSLA 
  • Finding Birth and Death  Records in Tennessee
  • Funeral Home Records  at TSLA:  Books and Manuscripts
  • Genealogical  "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties 
  • Guide to African American Genealogy-Related Documents Prior to 1865 in the Collections of TSLA
  • Guide to Church Records at TSLA:  Manuscripts & Books
  • Guide to Manuscript Materials in the Tennessee State Library and Archives
  • Guide to Manuscript Materials on Microfilm 
  • Guide to Maps in  the Tennessee State Library & Archives
  • Historical Maps of  Tennessee
  • History of Tennessee (from 
  • Index to  Letters of the Tennessee Governors
  • Index to Biographical  Sketches in The History of Tennessee by Goodspeed
  • Index to Brief Biographical Sketches of 30,000 Tennesseans
  • Index to Tennessee  Death Records 1908-1912
  • Indexes to Selected  Record Groups 
  • Inmates of the  Tennessee State Penitentiary, 1831-1850
  • Inmates of the  Tennessee State Penitentiary, 1851-1870
  • Inventories of  County Records on Microfilm
  • Korean War
  • List of  Governors' Papers
  • Listings by  Department/Agency
  • Lost Records: Courthouse  Fires and Disasters in Tennessee
  • Making the Best  Use of Tennessee Census Index Books, 1820-1840
  • Making the Best  Use of Tennessee Census Index Books, 1850-1880
  • Members of the Tennessee General Assembly 1794-2010
  • Microfilmed Military Sources
  • Nashville Obituaries  & Death Notices for 1913
  • Native American  Research (Cherokee) at the Tennessee State Library & Archives
  • Newspapers on  Microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
  • Past Governors of Tennessee  (from 
  • Scanned Copies of Nashville City Directories
  • School Census Records  at TSLA
  • Search Supreme Court Cases
  • Selected Bibliography of African American Genealogical 
  • Selected Bibliography of African American Genealogical Resources in TSLA
  • Spanish American War
  • Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records (1914 - 1933)
  • Statewide Tennessee Census  Records  at TSLA
  • Telephone Books at the  Tennessee State Library and Archives
  • Tennessee's Constitutional Officers
  • Tennessee  Archives Directory
  • Tennessee  Newspaper Obituary Indexes in Public Libraries
  • Tennessee Authors of Adult Fiction, Poetry and Drama 1970s - Present
  • Tennessee Blue Book
  • Tennessee Census Availability at TSLA and Online
  • Tennessee Constitution
  • Tennessee County  Historians
  • Tennessee Legislative Petitions  1799 - 1850
  • Tennessee newspapers in the Chronicling America digital collection 
  • Tennessee Place  Names and Post Offices
  • Tennessee Postcard Collection 
  • Tennessee Symbols and Honors  (from 
  • This Honorable Body: African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee
  • TSLA Resource Guide 09. African American Genealogial Resources @ TSLA
  • Using Tennessee  Census Records 1880-1940
  • Vietnam War
  • War of 1812
  • World War I
There's a lot of material in those collections for family history researchers, such as the Davidson County Death Records 1900-1913 and the Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912.

Over on the Exhibits page, you'll find brief, informative write-ups and some interesting archived materials on a variety of topics (another list coming...):
  • The Saloon and Anarchy: Prohibition in Tennessee 
  • Tennessee Outdoors: Parks, Conservation, and Wildlife 
  • The Volunteer State Goes to War: A Salute to Tennessee Veterans 
  • Tennessee Disasters
  • Tennessee Myths and Legends
  • Abraham Lincoln: Beyond the Penny
  • Family Business: How You Find It & How You Keep It
  • “Remember the Ladies!”: Women Struggle for an Equal Voice
  • Stirring Up the Past: Revolutions in Tennessee Cooking 
  • Got Mules? A Celebration of Mules in Tennessee History
  • A Monkey on Tennessee’s Back: The Scopes Trial in Dayton
  • The Happiest Days of My Life: Searching for Utopia in Tennessee
  • This Honorable Body: African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee
  • Kenneth Rose Music Collection
  • John T. Majors: A Tennessee Football Legend As Player and Coach
  • Wish You Were Here: Retreat to Tennessee’s Historic Resorts
  • History of Jews in Tennessee
  • Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny The Great Filibuster: William Walker

The Photograph and Image Search tool almost makes up for some of the other user-unfriendly content at the archives. This is an easy to use image search that offers up good quality images in the results. 

Lastly, the East Tennessee State University -- Archives of Appalachia is an extensive list of links to other TN archives with mostly offline content.

More historical archives and research materials can be found at these excellent resources:

 Historical Newspaper Archives          Ancestry.com       

 Genealogy Tools                                US Historical Newspapers        

 European Historical Newspapers        International Historical Newspapers

Court Record Searches                        Public Records Searches