Category Archives: Announcements

Update for Franklin County TNGenWeb Site

Over the past few months, our Franklin County TNGenWeb site has been in transition.  We are very grateful to the many years our former coordinator, Judy Phillips, dedicated to the site but she has resigned from the project and we now have a new coordinator.  Please join us in welcoming Susan Wilson James as our new coordinator. 

Susan has been a longtime user of the site and looks forward to continuing to add to it. Susan is also the librarian for the Franklin County Historical Society so is very familiar with local area resources. 

The site has been updated with new features added. Not only can you visit the site to keep up with relevant records and resources, but you can sign-up to receive site updates directly in your email.  The site is also optimized for mobile devices so will be easier to use on your phones and tablets. 

Franklin County TNGenWeb –

You may find it helpful to know that the site is organized as follows:

  • Records & Resourcesyour main “table of contents” for most of the site info
  • Research Aidsmailing lists, genealogy organizations, libraries, and other aids to help you in your research
  • What’s Newas new material is added, it will show up here.

Do you have relatives and/or ancestors from the county? Let Susan know and offer a submission. You never know how what you contribute can help others too. 



Become a TNGenWeb County Coordinator!

Volunteering with the USGenWeb Project has been absolutely, hands-down, one of the most rewarding genealogy endeavors yours truly has ever undertaken.  

When I started doing genealogy, I was able to make great advances in my research because of the USGenWeb and the work that had been done by project volunteers. Seeking a way to give back, I looked at what sites were available in Tennessee (where I live) and jumped right in! I became the county coordinator of Blount County in 2007 even though I had NO familiarity with the county. But, what I did have was a can-do attitude and a dedication to the mission – to provide free resources and help for those researching their Tennessee roots.

volunteerstatemindIn that vein, we are on the hunt for individuals willing to also jump right in and help the project — we have several counties available for adoption and would benefit from the love and attention of a few good people.

Do you need to have knowledge of the county?  Of course it is always great if you do, but we can work with you if you’re willing to take the time to invest in learning more about the county. 

Do you need to have HTML skills? Nope! We can help teach that to you! And in fact, some of our adoptable sites are powered by a content management system which makes the process of making web pages just a little less scary. We have a great group of coordinators and we welcome any questions you may have as you start to learn how to add content to your county website.

What you DO need is a disposition oriented to helping others, and being willing to learn new things.  

The amount of time required each month varies by person — it all depends on how obsessed you become with the site.  We do ask that you add new material to your site on an ongoing basis and answer questions that may come to you from researchers and family history enthusiasts that may come to you via email. You are not expected to do research for anyone, but at the minimum, provide guidance on where they can go and/or resources they may wish to consider for their research. 

The sites currently available for adoption are:

Check ’em out and see what you think.  Once you become a coordinator, the “look and feel” of the site can be updated if you have different preferences.

If you are interested in joining our fantastic team,  please visit our Adopt A County page and get in touch with us – we look forward to hearing from you!


Calling All Volunteers


TN barnwood sign from SignNiche

Tennessee – the Volunteer State.  A perfect nickname indeed for our Tennessee home – especially when it comes to our efforts here at the TNGenWeb Project.  The information we have available throughout all of our county sites would not be possible without the help of our wonderful researchers and family historians who VOLUNTEER their time and efforts.  As you all locate tidbits of information for your own family research, we are in debt to all of you who so graciously share with us.

Over the next few months, we anticipate having more opportunities available to help the project if you can spare some free time.  We are particularly interested in help with indexing and transcribing various types of material. As we better organize the coordination of our volunteers, we invite you so sign up for our new TNGenWeb Volunteer Mailing List.  When you sign up for the list, you will receive periodic emails for projects on which we could use some help.  Whether you can volunteer 1 hour or many hours, we would very much welcome your partnership!

Thanks and we look forward to your help. Join our TNGenWeb Volunteer Mailing List today by clicking the button below! 







Clarksville Area Genealogy Discussion Group

Do you have research interests in and around the Montgomery County area? If so, you may be interested in knowing that there is a new genealogy discussion group forming.  The group will meet starting September 16th near the front entrance of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library.  They will  meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month. 

If interested, contact Hazel Singson or Brenda Harper at [email protected].

The Fun We Had at our TNGenWeb Meetup

It is amazing the energy that can come from a group of like-minded individuals getting together. I am proud to say that I experienced this first-hand yesterday at a meetup I organized for our TNGenWeb team. We gathered at the Tennessee State Library and Archives for a day of conversation and learning. I’ve been the State Coordinator for the project for a little over 3 years now and have very much enjoyed getting to know, via email, the fabulous team I collaborate with throughout the state – the more than 85 volunteers that work tirelessly to provide you with free resources for your family history research.  Earlier this summer, I thought it would be great if we could get together in person and a wonderful day we had!

Present yesterday were myself, Mike Boniol, Jim Daniel and his wife Jo, Ron Evans, Jim Long, Billie McNamara, and Betty Peacock. These coordinators represent multiple counties across the state.  We were also fortunate to have  new volunteer, Debbie Waddell, join us! Debbie does not maintain a county, but is eager to see how she can work with TNGenWeb to volunteer with some of our efforts.  So, what did we do? 

General Meeting – We started the day by sharing  our backgrounds with each other. Some of us have been in the project since the very beginning in 1996 (Billie & Mike), while others came on board later. Jim, our Hardeman County coordinator, was the coordinator there who has been with us the shortest time, but he’s definitely jumped right in! All of us have some very interesting projects in progress related to history and genealogy in our areas and it was interesting to hear about them – from work with local county archives departments, genealogy societies, and personal projects.  We also shared our goals and plans for further enhancing our county sites.


example TNGenWeb website use by platform

I then shared some information about the use of our TNGenWeb website and trends  am seeing in how our visitors use the site, including details about our social media engagement. Using Google Analytics, I took a look at our site use Friday night before the meeting and was surprised to see that 63% of our visitors were using phones or tablets. While I am quite aware that mobile use is increasing overall, this was still higher than I would have thought! Knowing these use details, we definitely want to be sure we are doing our best to make our sites work for you on those devices.  Our Facebook group is busy and active and we currently have more than 2,200 members.  Via the email newsletters we are able to set up on our WordPress sites, more than 1,400 people have signed up to get our new posts and information sent directly to their email inbox. Spectacular!

TSLA Overview – Then, Charles Nelson, Director of Legislative Services at TSLA, gave us an overview. Charles started off by sharing that the staff at TSLgordonandcharlesA use the TNGenWeb site often to help answer patron questions  – even as recently as last week.  He noted that over the years TSLA has seen an increase in the number of people who come in wanting to know about their family history and they do their absolute best to ensure everyone who comes through their doors has nothing but the most pleasant of experiences.  We also learned about some of the databases TSLA offers and all that is available on the TSLA website.  If you haven’t taken the time to really explore it, you definitely should.  The Research Collections page is an especially important starting point.  With their new Digital Workgroup, TSLA is also planning projects to increase their offerings online at at the Tennessee Virtual Archive. The TSLA Friends organization plays a large role in helping promote and fund various initiatives and we heard about some of the upcoming programming to be offered. You can see a list of those at the TSLA Friends website.  I personally had not been a member of TSLA friends, but I am now! 

Since Gordon Belt joined the TSLA staff as the Director of Public Services a few years ago, they have developed a strong social media presence – via blogging & Facebook and I’m always glad to see more organizations truly embracing those platforms for engaging with their users.   Gordon shared his background with us and how he came to join TSLA.  Even though he’d been a frequent TSLA user prior to becoming employed there, he shared that as he was interviewing he was still discovering personal treasures in the library collection, such as this postcard in the TeVa of the Center Hill Motel & Restaurant, an establishment grandfather ran and operated for many years.  Gordon then took us for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour – Many visitors to TSLA may not truly appreciate the great collection they offer. Most of us typically only see the 3rd floor which includes the reading rooms and the microfilm collections. However, the library has 8 floors and offera a myriad of services patrons and libraries around the state.  

In our tour Gordon shared many aspects of what goes on at TSLA.  We learned about processes involved in preserving the collection, visited the area where microfilm records are made – both masters and duplicates, learned about the vertical file collections, saw the Governors’ Papers collections, the services TSLA provides for the blind and handicapped, saw the tapes that capture the recordings of the Tennessee General Assembly, got an overview of the reading/microfilm rooms and more!


Gordon talks about preservation

group learns about legislative recordings


old school / new school contrast! Billie’s idea 🙂

After the tour we had lunch, talked about ideas for further collaboration, and talked about the use of the content management system WordPress for our county sites, and some researched on their own. Importantly, some of the ideas we discussed are to further aid in our mission to be the best provider of free information for your genealogical research and we look forward to acting on them to better serve you.  

We would like to sincerely thank the TSLA team for hosting us yesterday and making our day a most pleasant experience!  We may definitely do this again next year!

Taneya & Gordon


Goodbye Nancy, You Will Be Missed

ColeNancyTo all our TNGenWeb Project researchers & volunteers – we are saddened to share the news that Nancy Adams Cole, one of our former state coordinators, passed away June 13th, 2014.  Nancy gave her all to the TNGenWeb Project, helping many of our coordinators and many of you researching your own family histories.

We’ve posted a tribute page for her – please do read it to learn more about Nancy’s contributions over these past many years.

Biography Updates Can Come Directly To You

In August, we were pleased to announce the availability of our Who’s Who in Tennessee portal for hundreds of biographies of Tennessee individuals. Most recently, we’ve made it easier for you to subscribe and get biographies from the counties you are interested coming directly to you!

We have a newSubscribe by Countypage for a list of subscription options.  You can choose to sign up for the RSS feed, or choose to have an email sent to you each day biographies for your counties are added. Just click the icon for your choice.  You can sign up for as many counties as you’d like. 


We would love to have you staying up-to-date as we continually add new biographies.  We have many more before we finish this specific book and then we have plans for even further expansion.  Come check us out!

Have Ancestors from Washington County?

Then perhaps you can contribute to the Early Settlers of Washington County project currently being organized by the Jonesborough Genealogical Society? The Society is compiling records of individuals that lived in the county prior to 1799.  This is your opportunity to share your history and research about the early settlers. 

In addition to this project, the society is also offering certificates for ancestors that settled prior to 1840. 

More information on the flyer below and the Jonesborough Genealogical Society website at

Early Settlers Project of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society (Tennessee) by tngenweb

If you are reading this in a feed reader, or via email, and cannot see the embedded document, you can find it online here

TNGenWeb Featured in Major Genealogy Magazine


We are so pleased to share the news that the TNGenWeb has been featured in the cover article of a major genealogical magazine!  Our special project, Who’s Who in Tennessee, is featured in the latest issue of FGS Forum, the publication of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).  The article in the magazine comes from an interview I did with Thomas MacEntee for his Hack Genealogy site.

In the article, I talk about the development and implementation of the Who’s Who project and how I’ve leveraged WordPress to build the database of more than 1,700 biographical profiles (current count) of Tennessee-affiliated people and it’s emphasis to organize profiles by county.  We have a great group of transcribers who are busy typing away to add the information to the website and we have been so pleased with how the site is developing.  And, I’m so honored that we were chosen as the cover story for the magazine! The magazine illustrator did a beautiful job with the graphics too. I like the use of the Tennessee State Flag in the background behind the individual pictures.

FGS is a great organization that aids hundreds genealogical societies and organizations, so perhaps this project can serve as a model for any group interested in creative ways to guild online database collections.  If you’ve not yet had a chance to explore the Who’s Who site, please visit it at  Many thanks to FGS for sharing our project!