Sherrod Library, East Tennessee State University

PO Box 70665
Johnson City, TN 37614
Information Desk 439-4307
Fax (423) 439-5674

Web site:
On-line catalog available

Hours vary with the academic calendar. See the website.

Special Note: Stop by the Public Safety Office on University Parkway to obtain a free parking permit and a map.


As part of its mission to serve the curricular and research needs of students and faculty, East Tennessee State University Sherrod Library has acquire materials useful for genealogical research. Materials are integrated into the library’s collections. Some do not circulate. Consult the card catalogs to locate materials. Assistance is available at the Information Desk. Although library staff are unable to provide extensive personal service to genealogical researchers, they can aid in locating specific items in the library.

Guides to Genealogical Research

Before beginning a genealogical search, one or more of the guides to genealogical research should be consulted for advice on research techniques. A limited selection of these guides can be found in the card catalogs under the subject heading GENEALOGY.

Published Family Histories

For individual families, look in the card catalogs under the family name as, for example, SHERWOOD FAMILY. For books about a number of families, look in the card catalogs under the name of the state, county or city, such as HUMPHREYS COUNTY, TENNESSEE- -BIOGRAPHY or VIRGINIA–GENEALOGY.

County and Local Histories

County and local histories have been published for many localities in the United States and they frequently include information about prominent citizens. Tennessee History: A Bibliography (REF Z 1337 .S55) includes a lengthy list of Tennessee county and local histories. Any items that the Sherrod Library owns will be listed in the card catalogs under the author’s name and under the county or city name as, for example, WASHINGTON COUNTY TENNESSEE–HISTORY. Remember that county boundaries changed frequently during the westward expansion of the county. For a list of such changes, consult the Handybook for Genealogists available at the Information Desk.

County and Local Records

Prior to 1900, county records frequently provide the only access to several types of information such as land titles, court proceedings, and birth, marriage, and death records. Records were not kept consistently and were sometimes lost through fire or accident. You can locate such records in the card catalogs under the name of the county or under the type of record wanted, such as MARRIAGE LICENSES; MARRIAGE RECORDS; WILLS; REGISTERS OF BIRTH, ETC.; DEED; COURT RECORDS; OBITUARIES. Extensive records are available on microfilm for the counties of East Tennessee. Most records after 1900 are available in the appropriate state, county or local government offices.

Census Records

The Sherrod Library has the complete 1790 federal census on microfilm. Also available on microfilm are census records for Tennessee and a number of other states, covering the years 1800 to 1900. Every census is not available for each state. The 1890 census records were destroyed by fire in the 1920’s and are unavailable. The Soundex Index on microfilm is available for the 1880 census. Through 1840, the census lists only the head of each household. Beginning in 1850 the name of each individual along with race, sex, age and country or state of birth is given. Indexes are available for some census schedules. Locate census records in the card catalogs under the name of the county or under a subject, such as ALABAMA–CENSUS, 1830–INDEXES.

Military Records

The Sherrod Library has published and microfilm records and indexes to records of U.S. military service in several wars prior to 1900. These records appear in various forms including rosters, regimental histories and pension lists. They may be located in the card catalogs under such subject headings as, for example, PENSIONS, MILITARY–UNITED STATES; UNITED STATES–HISTORY–REVOLUTION, 1775-1783–REGISTERS, LISTS, ETC.; or UNTIED STATES–HISTORY–CIVIL WAR, 1861-1865–REGIMENTAL HISTORIES. Microfilm records from the National Archives are located in the Microforms Area on the 2nd floor.


Information from obituaries, biographical sketches and local news items can be found in newspapers. The Sherrod Library has a good selection of Tennessee newspapers, on microfilm, dating from the early 1800’s to the present. Locate the newspapers in the Serial Record or use the printed list in the Microforms Area. Because Tennessee newspapers are not indexed, an approximate date or time span will make searching easier.

Manuscript Materials

Often personal papers such as letters, diaries and memoirs contain useful information for the genealogists. Within the manuscript collection of the Archives of Appalachia, located on the 4th floor of the Library are the personal papers of a small number of individuals and families in addition to original documents of many other kinds. Indexes to manuscript materials are located at the Information Desk and in the Archives.

Other Useful Information

Self-service photocopy machines are available throughout the Library. Visitors may purchase a Sherrod Library Online Guest card at the Circulation Service desk on the first floor to get ETSU computer and ID Buc$ accounts. The charge is $.10 per exposure. Photocopies of microforms can be made by saving the image to your USB drive.