Societies can help, whether or not your ancestor joined a society. Genealogical, historical, lineage, veterans, fraternal, family name, and ethnic societies often collect, transcribe, and publish records useful to family historians. Local genealogical societies often help family history researchers contact local record searchers, or they copy records that mention ancestors.
Societies may guide you to useful sources, suggest avenues of research, put you in touch with other genealogists who are interested in the same families, or perform research for you. The resources of the society may help in determining immigrant origins.
Current lists of societies, archives, and libraries are on several Internet sites listed under the “Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards” in Tennessee Archives and Libraries. Some of these organizations have their own Internet sites. You can also find Tennessee society addresses by using directories cited in the United States Societies wiki article.
Tennessee societies include:
- Lineage societies (the DAR, Colonial Dames, and the Sons of the American Revolution, for example) require members to prove they are descended from a certain group of people, such as colonists or soldiers. The applications for membership in these societies are usually preserved and occasionally published. National lineage societies such as the DAR and Sons of the American Revolution have a large Tennessee membership. These are described in the United States Societies wiki article.
- Genealogical and historical societies often maintain a genealogical file for historical families of the area or for ancestors of society members.
Most genealogical societies focus on local and regional records, while others concentrate on the records and migrations of ethnic groups or minorities.
Some genealogical and historical societies publish transcripts of original records. Most publish quarterly periodicals, a few of which are listed in the Tennessee Periodicals wiki article.
Some genealogical and historical societies hold conferences with lectures on genealogical research methods, available sources, and other local, regional, or national topics of interest to the genealogist. Transcripts, audio tapes, syllabuses, or class outlines of these conferences are often made available to the public through the sponsoring society.
- Family associations and surname societies have been organized to gather descendants of specific individuals or families and to conduct further ancestor research. Some seek out information on persons with a specific surname. See United States Societies for a directory and more information about these societies.
- Clubs, or occupational or fraternal organizations may have existed where your ancestor lived.
Those societies may have kept records of members or applications which may be of genealogical or biographical value. Though many of the old records have been lost, some have been donated to local, regional, or state archives and libraries.
Major societies in Tennessee include:
The Tennessee Society, NSDAR (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution). The Tennessee DAR has 106 chapters divided into five districts: Appalachian, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Cumberland, and Sequoyah.
(Note that the following two lineage societies have similar names but are separate organizations.)
Tennessee Society, Sons of the American Revolution
48 Redthorn Cove
Cordova, TN 38018-7244
Tennessee State Society Sons of the Revolution
P.O. Box 2401
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-2401
Tennessee Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
P.O. Box 782
Lebanon, TN 37088
Tennessee Historical Society
Ground Floor. War Memorial Building
Nashville, TN 37243-0084
Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 330948
Nashville, TN 37203-7507
Mid-west Tennessee Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 3343
Jackson, TN 38303-3343
Tennessee Genealogical Society
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138
West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
For Tennessee genealogical and historical societies that have records and services to help you with your research, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries and Tennessee Periodicals. Many counties also have local historical and genealogical societies.
You can find local society addresses by using directories cited in United States Societies.
The following research guide, prepared by a Certified Genealogist, includes a guide for Tennessee societies:
- Bamman, Gale Williams. "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (Jun. 1993): 102. FHL US/CAN Book 973 B2ng v. 81 (1993).
For society records, see the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
TENNESSEE - SOCIETIES
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - SOCIETIES
- A list of Tennessee Genealogical and Historical Societies is available through GeneaSearch.
- D'Addezio.com provides a "Directory of Historical Societies in the United States, Canada and Australia," including Tennessee state and county lists and links.