Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia

Explore Atlanta’s genealogical and historical riches and you’ll never go hungry for resources again.

As the phoenix of the South, Atlanta rose from the ashes of the Civil War to become one of the region’s largest, most dynamic cities and the “capital of the New South.” Despite its modern attitudes and appearance, though, the city harbors a long and complicated past. Atlanta now serves as a major repository of the South’s history on paper and microfilm.

The mother lode of southeastern US genealogical records awaits you at the National Archives and Records Administration Southeast Region (1557 St. Joseph Ave., 404-763-7474, <>). Located between downtown and the Hartsfield Atlanta Airport, this facility specializes in federal records from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, dating to 1716. Regional holdings include indexes of passenger arrival lists for eastern and Gulf Coast ports and naturalization records from federal courts throughout the Southeast. Also look for military service records and indexes (including World War I draft registration cards) and pension and bounty land warrant applications. For general US research, you’ll find federal census records and indexes from 1790 to 1920.

Before you go, check out the Guide to Archival Holdings at NARA’s Southeast Region (Atlanta) at <>. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Tuesdays, the microfilm research room is open until 8 p.m. To get there by public transportation, take theMetropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train to the East Point or Lakewood station and catch bus 20 for a five-minute ride to the facility. (For help navigating MARTA, see the Web site <> or call 404-848-5000.) Once you’re there, you’ll need to apply for a researcher identification card (similar to a library card) in order to use the archival holdings. Nearby hotels include Hampton Inn and Suites Atlanta (3450 Bobby Brown Parkway, 404-767-9300) and Holiday Inn Airport North (1380 Virginia Ave., 404-762-8411). If you’re looking for something to eat, your choices around here are mostly chain restaurants and cafés.

The place for Georgia-specific research is the Georgia Department of Archives and History (330 Capitol Ave. SE, 404-656-2350, <>). At the Ben W. Fortson Archives and Records Building, you can tap state and local records, as well as private manuscripts and photographs, dating to 1732. The archives’ Surveyor General Collection includes Georgia’s 1.5 million land grants and plats from 1775 to 1909, plus more than 10,000 county and state maps. In the non-government section, you’ll find family letters and papers, business records and account books, records of organizations and churches, and photographs.

Take a look at Documenting Family History in Georgia at <> before your visit to the state archives. The research and microfilm libraries are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The original documents reading area closes at 4:30 p.m. during the week and at 3 p.m. on Saturday. If you take MARTA, the state archives is three blocks south of the Georgia State University station. Upon arrival, apply for a research card, which must be worn at all times while in the building.

Also downtown is the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library’s local and family history department (1 Margaret Mitchell Square, 404-730-4636, <>). Located on the main library’s fifth floor, this department has books on the history of Atlanta, Georgia and the neighboring region, plus genealogy sources for Georgia as well as some sources for North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and other states. Highlights include Atlanta city directories from 1867, Atlanta telephone directories from 1946 and criss-cross directories from 1946; microfilmed archives of The Atlanta Georgian and neighborhood community papers; a biographical index card file of prominent Georgians of the past; and Georgia vital records indexes.

The genealogy department is open Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. Take MARTA to Peachtree Center station. The library is at the corner of Forsyth Street and Carnegie Way. Pick up the genealogy “pathfinder” guides for beginners, African- and Native American research and missing persons at the service desk.

If you want to stay near the state archives and downtown public library, there are plenty of hotels in the vicinity: Atlanta Hilton and Towers (255 Courtland St., 800-HILTONS), Best Western American Hotel (160 Spring St., 800-621-7885), Days Inn Downtown (300 Spring St., 800-325-2525) and Ramada Hotel Downtown (175 Piedmont Ave., 800-228-2828). Restaurants, too, abound: Mumbo Jumbo Cafe — continental but spicy (89 Park Place NE; 404-523-0330); Loaf and Kettle — sandwich shop (57 Forsyth St. NW, 404-525-8624); and Pacific Rim Bistro — Asian cuisine (303 Peachtree Center Ave. NE, 404-893-0018).

A good stop for both state and regional research is the Atlanta History Center (130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, 404-814-4040, <>). Its general collections include a special library dedicated to the American Revolution, cemetery and census records, insurance maps and city directories. The manuscript collections include private papers, institutional records and business documents. The history center’s visual collection portrays the South through photographic prints, negatives, miscellaneous graphics, maps and architectural drawings, as well as film, audio and video.

The Atlanta History Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To get there, take MARTA to the Lenox station. Transfer to bus 23 to Peachtree and West Paces Ferry Road. Walk three blocks west on West Paces Ferry Road and you’ll reach the pedestrian entrance in front. Be sure to register before you begin researching. Places to stay in this area include Embassy Suites (3285 Peachtree Road, 800-362-2779), Wyndham Garden Hotel (3340 Peachtree Road, 800-822-4200) and Hampton Inn Buckhead (3398 Piedmont Road, 800-HAMPTON). Buckhead is Atlanta’s restaurant district, so you’ll have plenty of eateries to choose from. A few suggestions: Horseradish Grill — Southern (4320 Powers Ferry Road, 404-255-7277), Seeger’s — contemporary (111 W. Paces Ferry Road, 404-846-9779) and Eclipse di Luna — Mediterranean (764 Miami Circle, 404-846-0449).

For a break from microfilm and copy machines, explore some of Atlanta’s rich heritage. The battles and soldiers of the Civil War are still remembered at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield (900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, 770-427-4686, <>) and the Kennesaw Civil War Museum (2829 Cherokee St., 800-742-6897, <>). And what’s a visit to Atlanta without a little Gone with the Wind} Visit the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum (990 Peachtree St., 404-249-7015, <>) in midtown Atlanta to celebrate the famous book’s author. To learn about the city’s more recent history, stop by the Martin Luther King, jr. National Historic Site (450 Auburn Ave. NE, 404-331-6922, <>) where you can walk in the footsteps of the slain Civil Rights leader.

– Susan Wenner

Georgia Roots Gateway

<>: Links to genealogy in the Piedmont region and southern Georgia.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Lumpkin

Fair of 1850 at Westville

OCT. 10-Nov. 10

Learn about pre-industrial Southern life at this living history museum.

(888) 733-1850 <>

• Rome

Heritage Holidays

OCT. 16-20

Five-day celebration features historical tours and family fun.

(800) 444-1834 <>



Kentucky Genealogical Society

Box 153 Frankfort, KY 40602 <>

Kentucky Historical Society

100 W. Broadway Frankfort, KY 40601 <>: Publishes Kentucky Ancestors, a genealogical quarterly.


Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research by Roseann Reinemuth Hogan (Ancestry, $24.95)

Kentucky Marriage Records from the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

(Genealogical Publishing Co., $55)


Civil War in Kentucky

<>: Links to more than 100 Kentucky locations and their roles in the Civil War, with descriptions, photos and maps.

Eastern Kentucky Genealogy and History Connections

<>: Resources for genealogy in Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan and Pike counties.

Kentucky Genealogy Queries

<>: Post and read queries indexed by county.

Kentucky GenWeb Project

<>: Kentucky research sources and county links.

Kentucky History

<>: Kentucky history from the University of Louisville.

Kentucky History and Genealogy

<>: Historical maps, biographies, census books.

Kentucky Mailing Lists

<>: State and county mailing lists.

Kentucky Resources at Roots Web

<>: Online documents, Kentucky personal Web pages, search engines.

Kentucky Vital Records Index

<>: Searchable Kentucky death index covering 1911 to 1992, and divorce and marriage indexes for 1973 to 1993.

Southeastern Kentucky Roots

<>: Database containing more than 31,000 people and 3,300 surnames.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Harrodsburg

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill


Peruse Shaker crafts and artisan demonstrations and tour historic buildings.

(800) 734-5611 <>

• Elizabethtown (and nearby along I-65)

Historic Walking Tour


This living history town, north of Lincoln’s Boyhood Home and the Lincoln Museum on I-65, features a walking tour led by “General Custer” and “Carrie Nation.”

(800) 437-0092 <>



Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society

Box 82060 Baton Rouge, LA 70884 <>: Publishes the Louisiana Genealogical Register and Bible records.

Louisiana State Archives

3851 Essen Lane Baton Rouge, LA 70809 <>


“Way Down Yonder: Research on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama” lecture by Emory C. Webre (, $8.50)


Acadian-Cajun Genealogy and History

<>: Maps, a timeline, data from Acadian censuses from 1671 to 1752, passenger lists for ships that brought the Acadians to Louisiana and detailed descriptions of every kind of record available for Acadian and Cajun research.

Confederate Pension Applications Index Database

<>: The Louisiana State Archives’ searchable index contains more than 49,000 names from 18,000 applications.

Digging Up Roots in the Mud Files

<>: The online version of this 1998 seminar outlines sources for research in Orleans parish civil court records.

Genealogy Links

<>: Excellent compilation of Louisiana records.

A Guide to African American Genealogical Research in New Orleans and Louisiana

<>: This page’s excellent research tips cover records specific to African-American research, such as emancipation, slave and Freedman’s Bureau records.

Index to New Orleans Indentures, 1809-1843

<>: Alphabetical list of names from five indenture books kept by the New Orleans mayor. Each entry tells the volume and number of the original record, which the city library has on microfilm.

Index to New Orleans Marriages in the Daily Picayune, 1837-1857

<>: Look through marriages listed alphabetically; the New Orleans Public Library will photocopy the newspaper article for $2.

Louisiana GenWeb Project

<>: Archives project, lookups and links to county resources.

Louisiana Mailing Lists

<>: Network with other Louisiana researchers with state or county mailing lists.

Louisiana Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Online documents, Louisiana personal Web pages, search engines.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Kaplan

Bastille Day


The oldest (1906) US celebration of Bastille Day features French cuisine and festivities.

(337) 643-6677

• Natchitoches

Pilgrimage of Historic Homes and Plantations

OCT. 11-12

Tour French, Spanish and Creole houses and plantations in the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory.

(800) 259-1714 <>



Mississippi Department of Archives and History Library

100 S. State St. Jackson, MS 39201 <>

Mississippi Historical Society

Box 571 Jackson, MS 39205 <>: Read archived articles from its Mississippi History Now e-zine.


Tracing Your Mississippi Ancestors

by Anne S. Lipscomb (University Press of Mississippi, $14.95)


Mississippi Civil War Information

<>: Links to units, personal accounts and battles — including maps — fought in Mississippi.

Mississippi GenWeb Project

<>: County maps, archived data and queries.

Mississippi Genealogy Books

<>: Titles and authors of books for family history in Mississippi.

Mississippi Mailing Lists

<>: Subscribe to free mailing lists for Mississippi state and county research.

Mississippi Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Mississippi personal Web pages, online transcriptions and search engines.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Biloxi

Jefferson Davis’ Birthday Celebration


Celebrate your Dixie roots at this period celebration with character actors and cake at Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home and presidential library.

(800) 570-3818 <>

North Carolina


North Carolina Division of Archives and History

4610 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699 <>: Click on State Archives then Genealogical Research for details about the archives’ holdings.

North Carolina Genealogical Society

Box 22 Greenville, NC 27835 <>: The online North Carolina genealogical timeline shows when counties were formed and records were destroyed by fire and other disasters.


Carolina Scots: An Historical and Genealogical Study of Over 100 Years of Emigration by Douglas F. Kelly (1739 Publications, $29.95; table of contents and excerpts at <>)

“Genealogical Research in North Carolina’s Military Bounty Land Records”

lecture by Albert Bruce Pruitt (, $8.50)

North Carolina Genealogical Research by George K. Schweitzer (Genealogical Sources Unlimited, $11.95 from <>)


Genealogical Research in North Carolina

<>: Tips on getting started, table tracing county development and a list of reference books from the state library.

North Carolina GenWeb Project

<>: Links to North Carolina military project, map illustrating county formation, North Carolina Q&A and county and state resources.

North Carolina Genealogy Books

<>: Published compilations of vital records, histories, military records and will abstracts.

North Carolina Mailing Lists

<>: County and state mailing lists.

North Carolina Resources

<>: Links to transcribed census and cemetery records.

North Carolina Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Personal Web sites and search engines.

Western North Carolina Genealogy Resource Center

<>: Excellent source of western North Carolina county information.


• Linville

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering O’ Scottish Clans

JULY 11-14

One of the country’s largest Scottish events.

(828) 733-1333 <>


Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

AUG. 1-3

This folk and dance fest dates to 1928 and celebrates southern Appalachian culture.

(888) 247-9811 <>

South Carolina


South Carolina Genealogical Society

Box 492 Columbia, SC 29202 <>: Publishes the quarterly Carolina Herald and Newsletter.

South Carolina Historical Society

100 Meeting St. Charleston, SC 29401 <>: Online archives of Revolutionary War documents, plus exhibits of African-Americans in 1920, plantation photos and an 1839 state map.


A Guide to South Carolina Genealogical Research and Records by Brent H. Holcomb (Brent H. Holcomb, $15)

Research in South Carolina

by GeLee Corley Hendrix (National Genealogical Society, $6.50)


Index to South Carolina Civil War Soldiers

<>: Each page of this alphabetical index lists soldiers’ names, units and companies.

The Revolutionary War in South Carolina

<>: Links to maps, battles and biographies of Revolutionary-era South Carolinians.

Selected South Carolina Archives

<>: Outlines the location, contact information and operating hours of several South Carolina archives and summarizes the repositories’ holdings.

Ship Passenger Lists

<>: Passenger list transcriptions for Charleston (1768) and the Carolinas (1774).

South Carolina Genealogy

<>: Timeline of settlement and boundary changes, maps, vintage postcards, African-American and Gypsy research and links to county resources.

South Carolina Genealogy Books

<>: Compilations of vital records, tombstone transcriptions, deed and will abstracts and religious records.

South Carolina Marriage Records

<>: Indexes of marriages beginning in 1641, many from the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research.

South Carolina Mailing Lists

<>: Network with other researchers using state and county mailing lists.

South Carolina Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Search engines, personal Web pages and user-submitted resources.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Charleston

Plantation Days


Period crafts and demonstrations at Middleton Place, an 18th-century plantation.

(800) 782-3608 <>



Tennessee Genealogical Society

9114 Davies Plantation Road Brunswick, TN 38014 <>

The Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road Nashville, TN 37243 <>

East Tennessee Historical Society

600 Market St., Box 1629 Knoxville, TN 37901 (865) 215-8824 <>


Research in Tennessee by Gale Williams Bamman (National Genealogical Society, $6.50)

“5 T’s of Tennessee Research” lecture by Barbara Renick (, $8.50)


Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records

<>: Transcriptions of African-American marriage certificates, 1861 to 1869, indexed by groom’s surname.

Index to Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1912

<>: Nearly 98,000 deaths are arranged alphabetically. An index for 1914 to 1925 lists deaths by county. (No statewide death records exist for 1913.)

Tennessee Genealogy Books

<>: Volumes of wills, funeral and cemetery records, marriages, Bible records and biographies.

Tennessee Genealogy and History Web Site

<>: This site’s best resources are a primer on Tennessee land laws, a map of pre-1800 roads and online biographies and journals.

Tennessee GenWeb Project

<>: Tennessee genealogists are busy putting records online by county: census, newspaper abstracts, marriages, county histories, Bible records and more.

Tennessee Mailing Lists

<>: Network with other researchers using state and county mailing lists.

Tennessee Marriages

<>: County-by-county marriage databases contributed to USGenWeb.

Tennessee Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Search for your ancestor in multiple Roots-Web databases and personal Web pages.

Tennessee State Library and Archives

<>: How to find Tennessee records, including vital, military and census.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Clarksville

Historic Collinsville

MAY 11-OCT. 14

This living history museum features restored log houses from 1830 to 1870 and tour guides in period costumes.

(931) 648-9141 <>

• Oak Ridge

Fabulous Forties Celebration

MAY 17-19

Relive the birth of the atomic era and remember your ancestors in the “greatest generation” at the A.K. Bissell Park and Civic Center.

(865) 482-7821 <>; <>



Virginia Genealogical Society

5001 W. Broad St., Suite 115 Richmond, VA 23230 <>: Publications include estate records, land patent and newspaper abstracts, marriage records and death notices.

Virginia Historical Society

428 North Blvd. Richmond, VA 23220 <>


Atlas of County Boundary Changes in Virginia, 1634-1895 by Michael F. Doran (Iberian Publishing Co., $24.95 from <> or 800-394-8634)

Virginia Genealogical Research

by George K. Schweitzer (Genealogical Sources Unlimited, $11.95 from <>)

Virginia Genealogy: Sources and Resources

by Carol McGinnis (Genealogical Publishing Co., $35)


Genealogical and Family Research

<>: The Library of Virginia’s genealogy page offers an online catalog and archival research guide.

Iberian Publishing Company

<>: Publisher specializing in Virginia record compilations.

Library of Virginia Digital Library Program

<>: Search more than 2.2 million original documents, photos and maps in 80-plus databases, including court records, Bibles and vital records, military history, newspapers, land records, maps and business records.

A List of the Parishes in Virginia, June the 30th, 1680

<>: Parishes and their ministers by county.

Virginia Civil War Home Page

<>: Assortment of Confederate and Union resources, along with information on hospitals, Libby Prison, secession and elections.

Virginia Genealogy

<>: Join the surname registry, follow county boundary changes, view historical maps and photos, and link to county pages.

Virginia Genealogy Books

<>: Hundreds of books containing marriages, deaths, wills, tombstone transcriptions, census records and other data.

Virginia Mailing Lists

<>: Network with other researchers using state and county mailing lists.

Virginia Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Search for your ancestor in multiple databases and personal Web pages.

Virginia Quit Rent Rolls, 1704

<>: Search for an exact or Soundexed name; results give acreage and county.

1835 Virginia Pension List

<>: Alphabetical entries for 4,000-plus pensioners that list age, rank, county of residence, type of service, date and amount of the pension and how much was paid out.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.


• Manassas

Heritage Festival


The Prince William County Genealogical Society sponsors a weekend of African-American, Native American and 18th-century heritage, re-enactments, antique appraisals, Smithsonian seminars and more at the Ben Lomond Manor House and Antique Rose Garden. (888) 927-9247 <>

• Appomattox

An Evening Stroll through Old Appomattox


Join a living history interpreter on a walking tour of the area where the Civil War came to a close.

(540) 992-1866 <>

• Newport News

Children’s Civil War Camps and Miss Sallie’s Academy


Send your boys and girls ages 8-12 back in time at Endview Plantation.

(757)887-1862 <>

West Virginia


West Virginia Genealogical Society

Box 249 Elkview, WV 25071 <>: Publishes the quarterly Ledger of Genealogy and maintains a research library.


Timesaving Aid to Virginia-West Virginia Ancestors, volumes 1-4 by Patrick G. Wardell (Iberian Publishing Co., $36)

West Virginia Genealogy: Sources and Resources by Carol McGinnis (Genealogical Publishing Co., $20)


Early Virginia/WVA Genealogy

<>: Collection of early Monroe County, WV, settlers’ family trees, also available as a GEDCOM file.

Vital Records Information

<>: Where to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees.

West Virginia in the Civil War

<>: Links to regimental histories, battlefields, historic sites and re-enactment groups.

West Virginia GenWeb Project

<>: Use the table to find out when your ancestor’s county was formed, its parent counties and the county seat. And check out the site’s West Virginia Coal Mines project, which includes history, photos and miners’ memorials and obits.

West Virginia Genealogy Books

<>: Titles and descriptions of West Virginia books.

West Virginia Genealogy Helplist

<>: County-by-county list of volunteers and the sources in which they’ll look up information for you.

West Virginia Mailing Lists

<>: Network with other researchers using state and county mailing lists.

West Virginia Resources at RootsWeb

<>: Search for your ancestor in RootsWeb databases and personal Web pages.


• Winfield

Mary Draper Ingles Living History Trail and Rendezvous

SEPT. 28-29

This festival follows a pioneer woman’s 1755 journey to escape Shawnee captors, preceded by a weeklong encampment of Shawnee and buckskinners in 18th-century regalia.

From the Winter 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine 

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