TNGenWeb Project, Inc. 2014-08-04T05:29:35Z Taneya <![CDATA[The Fun We Had at our TNGenWeb Meetup]]> 2014-08-03T22:49:06Z 2014-08-03T22:33:34Z 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


Taneya <![CDATA[Tennessee Bodes Well in Recent NEH Awards]]> 2014-07-23T03:58:04Z 2014-07-23T03:58:04Z neh


To all of you Tennessee history enthusiasts, you’ll be so pleased to hear the news of the funding received throughout the state from the National Endowment for Humanities. 

Yesterday, NEH announced the recipients of their recent funding cycle. Awards were made for 177 projects around the country and totaled $34 million dollars. 

In Tennessee, projects awarded include:

  • Chattanooga History Center — award provided to fund the implementation of a permanent, multimedia exhibit to tell the story of the history of Chattanooga, TN.  I would love to go see this when it’s completed!
  • TN Digital Newspaper Program – oh yes! Another 100,000 pages of historical newspapers from around the state will be added to the Chronicling America website (hosted by the Library of Congress).  You can check the current list available here, but be sure to follow the program website for updates! (Disclaimer: yours truly is a member of the Advisory Board for this initiative)
  • Blount County — the Blount County government will receive funds to better preserve their archival records.  Their records date back to the late 1700s and includes a wealth of information on the history and culture of eastern Tennessee. I am personally also glad to hear this news as I coordinate the Blount County TNGenWeb site. 

Congratulations to the award recipients. This is great news for the state and we are all looking forward to the great work that will happen as a result. 

You can learn more about all the funded projects by reading the news release on the NEH website

Taneya <![CDATA[Morgan County – New Site Redesign]]> 2014-06-23T03:19:34Z 2014-06-23T03:19:34Z Do you have people you are researching in Morgan County? If so, we hope you’ll visit the Morgan County TNGenWeb page for the resources you need.  Especially since the site now has a new and updated look!

Your Morgan County Coordinator is Julie Cromwell and she’s been busy the last several weeks actively updating the site to make it easier to add new material, and to make it easier for you to keep up with the latest updates. 


Once on the site, browse the navigation menu across the top to look at “Records & Data,”  different “Research Aids,”  check out the extensive “Photo Album,” find resources for “Queries and Mailing Lists,” and see “What’s New.”  

You can sign up for the site’s RSS feed to see updates in your favorite feed reader, or you can also sign up to get site updates going directly to your email.  Just look on the right side for the “Get Updates by Email” section. 

We hope you like the new & refreshed site.  And, remember, if you have material to share – we’d love to know. Just contact Julie using the “Contact” link on the site. 


Taneya <![CDATA[Goodbye Nancy, You Will Be Missed]]> 2014-06-17T00:22:58Z 2014-06-17T00:06:22Z 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.

Taneya <![CDATA[Wayne County History & Crafts Fair 2014]]> 2014-06-09T02:30:44Z 2014-06-09T02:30:44Z The Wayne County Historical Society is pleased to share the news of their upcoming History and Crafts Fair.  The event will be held Saturday, July 12th at Wayne County High School in Waynesboro, TN.

Below are screenshots of the event brochure.  You can download the brochure here.  




Taneya <![CDATA[Preservation of African American Cemeteries Conference]]> 2014-05-14T15:51:34Z 2014-05-14T15:51:34Z This weekend, May 16-17th, is the 8th annual meeting for the Preservation of African American Cemeteries, Inc. (PAAC).   This group, based out of Little Rock, Arkansas, is dedicated to the preserving, restoring, and documenting of African American cemeteries.  They promote and provide services in research, documentation, stone cleaning, education, maintenance, restoration and more – all related to cemeteries where individuals of African-descent are interred.


This year’s meeting will be held on the campus of Rhodes College  in Memphis.  During the two-day weekend, a variety of speakers will give presentations ranging from legislative efforts to archaeological preservation in Tennessee.  Additionally, our very own TNGenWeb member, Jerry Butler, will present about the TNGenWeb Cemetery Database. We are so pleased that Jerry will have the opportunity to share what the TNGenWeb is doing to aid in efforts to provide and share transcriptions of cemeteries across the state.

If you’re not familiar with PAAC, now is a good time to visit their website at learn more about them!

Taneya <![CDATA[We’re Good for Genealogy and More!]]> 2014-03-16T21:10:31Z 2014-03-16T21:09:35Z One of the great things I enjoy about being part of the USGenWeb Project is the many conversations I get to have with researchers around the country.  It is amazing to see to the extent of how the information all of our volunteers and county coordinators provide, is used for individual research.  From time to time, we like to share how others find value in our work. But guess what? Not only can the information be used for personal family history and research, but also more.   

On the TNGenWeb site is a Special Project section dedicated to information about the Revolutionary War, including information about the 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain. This information is a good source for those who may have had family members involved.  But what is interesting is that Peggy McLain has used some of the information and as contextual backdrop for her new book, Shadow Dogs

shadowdogsShadow Dogs is a historical novel. In the book, she tells the fictionalized story of John LeQuire and his father John LeQuire, her fourth and fifth great-grandfathers respectively. Young John, the central character, participates in the Battle of King’s Mountain, and for these experiences, Peggy drew from the information online with the TNGenWeb regarding the Battle. How cool!

“An unassuming hero, orphaned at the age of twelve, John is caught up in a web of lies and deceit..” is part of the back of the book description.  Sounds quite intriguing! If this sounds like the kind of story you’d be interested in, you may want to check it out. 


Thanks Peggy for your support of the TNGenWeb!

Taneya <![CDATA[TNGenWeb Cemetery Database Update]]> 2014-03-10T00:56:16Z 2014-03-09T22:20:52Z Have you visited our TNGenWeb Cemetery Database lately? If so, you may have noticed that the site has been redesigned and has a few new features included.

The TNGenWeb Cemetery Database, coordinated by Jerry Butler, is a great collection of burial records from across the state.  As of this writing, the database includes more than 350,000 records from 15,000 cemeteries.   


In the database, you can

  • search for individuals across the state
  • restrict your search to specific counties
  • search on a first name, middle name, and/or surname
  • search cemeteries by name and/or by GPS coordinates – can even generate a map of your results

There is a page for each county that allows you to see, at-a-glance, which cemeteries have records available. In some instances, you’ll find these records also on our individual county sites; in other instances, the records will only be available here.  Additionally, each county has a link to a great map of cemeteries in the county and links back to each county website. 

If you’ve not used the database before, this is a good time to explore! If it’s been awhile, do some new searching – you just may find some information that was not there last time you checked!


Taneya <![CDATA[County Spotlight: Haywood County]]> 2014-02-13T14:50:09Z 2014-02-13T14:50:09Z Today for our weekly County Spotlight series we are visiting Haywood County.

Coordinator:  Your coordinator for Haywood County is Jim Ackerman, who has been with the TNGenWeb Project since late 2007.   Jim actively updates the Haywood County website – if you have family from this area, you’d do well to make sure you spend some time to keep up with all that Jim posts.  The What’s New page on the Haywood site is particularly helpful as you can, at-a-glance, see what has been added since the last time you visited.

Records Highlight:  As a user of the Haywood County site, there are three record collections that you will quickly come to find to be great sources of information.  

  • Cemetery Burials –  Jim has a great collection of burial records on the site from cemeteries all across the county.  The Cemeteries page has links to many, many cemeteries and combined there are more than 20,000 burial records.  20,000!!!  
  • Marriages – check out the collection of marriage records from 1859-1908. 
  • Obituary Index –  many obits indexed alphabetically by last name, at least 3,000 of them. Most come from the Brownsville States-Graphic newspaper.

Trivia:  Nutbush, TN.  Sound familiar? Haywood County is the home of Anna Mae Bullock (aka Tina Turner).  The West TN Delta Heritage Center even hosts an annual Tina Turner Heritage Days event!  In doing a little research on Tina’s family tree, I was able to quickly find on the Haywood County site the marriage information for her paternal grandparents, Alex and Roxanna (Whitelaw) Bullock. They married January 17, 1878.   


young Anna Mae Bullock in the 1940 census with parents Richard and Zelma

Many thanks to Jim for doing such a great job with the Haywood County website, and thanks to those that have donated information.  Let’s keep up the good work — remember, donate your family history information and others may benefit!

Taneya <![CDATA[County Spotlight: Dekalb County]]> 2014-01-25T21:19:21Z 2014-01-25T21:19:21Z Today for our weekly County Spotlight series we are visiting Dekalb County.

Coordinator:  David Johnson is the coordinator for Dekalb County, first joining the project in October 2008.  After former coordinator, Athol Foster, retired the county, David took interest since his mother’s family is rooted in Dekalb County and the surrounding areas.  David had been researching his family’s genealogy and benefited from much of work he found on the USGenWeb sites. He found special value in queries that were posted as a way to connect with others researching his family lines.  Additionally, David had been sharing genealogy records he collected with others freely online via websites he personally created, so the goals of the TNGenWeb Project were very much aligned with his approach to genealogy. More recently, David also became our coordinator for Grundy County. 

smithville clockRecords Highlight: Without pinpointing any one particular record collection, David shared that he is quite proud in general that there has been much interest shown by Dekalb County researchers in their willingness to donate material to the site and offer corrections when errors are found.  The site has a collection of more than 2,000 obituaries donated by Earl France, as well as a good collection of abstracts from the Liberty Herald Newspaper 1886-1900 that were donated by Athol. Over time, thousands of pages of information have been added – mostly donations from others.  How fabulous!

Ideal Record Contribution: Bible records are of particular interest as these types of records are not easily available to the public in archives until the owner donates them.

Upcoming Projects:  Currently, there is a photo and biography project for Mount Holly Cemetery that is ongoing and in the future, David plans to add records of wills and estate settlements.  Possibly, even court minutes will be added. 

If you have research interests in Dekalb County then you will definitely want to stay tuned to the great work that David is doing! 

Photo credit: Smithville clock – by Brent Moore