Tennessee Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott, Ph.D. FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Tennessee sil.png
the Tennessee Family History Research series.
History of Tennessee
Tennessee Vital Records
Census Records for Tennessee
Background Sources for Tennessee
Tennessee Maps
Tennessee Land Records
Tennessee Probate Records
Tennessee Court Records
Tennessee Tax Records
Tennessee Cemetery Records
Tennessee Church Records
Tennessee Military Records
Tennessee Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Tennessee Archives, Libraries, and Societies
African Americans of Tennessee
Native Americans of Tennessee
Tennessee County Resources
Map of Tennessee


Major periodicals for Tennessee that publish or published source material from most categories include these:

  • East Tennessee Roots. Published by Tennessee Valley Publications, Paula Gammell, ed., 1345 Oak Ridge Turnpike #318, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
  • Family Findings (1969-present). A publication of the Midwest Tennessee Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 3343, Jackson, TN 38303.
  • Pellissippian (1980-present). A publication of the Pellissippian Genealogical and Historical Society, 118 S. Hicks, Clinton, TN 33716.
  • The River Counties Quarterly (1972-present). Published by Jill Garrett, 610 Terrace, Columbia, TN 38401.
  • Tennessee Ancestors (1985-present). This publication replaced Echoes (1955'84) for the East Tennessee Historical Society (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies).
  • The Tennessee Historical Quarterly (1942-present). Published by the Tennessee Historical Society.


The TSLA has a large collection of newspapers and an incomplete card index to marriage and death notices published in Nashville newspapers. The Draper Manuscript Collection, housed at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, includes early Tennessee newspapers (see Wisconsin Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections). Published compilations of data extracted from Tennessee newspapers include Sherida K. Eddlemon, comp., Genealogical Abstracts from Tennessee Newspapers, 1791'1808 (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1988); and Pollyanna Creekmore, Tennessee Newspaper Extracts and Abstracts: Marriage, Death, and Other Items of Genealogical/Historical Interest. 2 vols., distributed by East Tennessee Roots, 1345 Oak Ridge Turnpike, #318, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, which includes records from 1816 through 1839.

A guide to Tennessee newspaper collections is:

  • Tennessee Newspapers: A Cumulative List of Microfilmed Tennessee Newspapers in the Tennessee State Library, 1978 Progress Report. Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1978.


The largest collections of manuscripts pertaining to Tennessee are in the TSLA. Published guides to these collections are available, including Guide to the Microfilmed Manuscript Holdings of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 3d ed. (Nashville: Tennessee State Library, 1983). Acklen's two-volume work (see Cemetery Records) includes references to manuscripts.

In addition to the card indexes cited under land and military records, an interesting index at the state archives is for Tennessee century farms (histories compiled of families whose farms have remained in use by the family for over 100 years).

During the 1930s the WPA collected a series of verbatim transcripts of the records of some Tennessee counties. This includes a considerable number of early county records. The only complete set of abstracts is in the TSLA. Nearly 1,500 volumes are available on ninety-three reels of microfilm.