History abounds in Jonesborough — it is Tennessee’s Oldest Town after all! We have resources for anyone interested in genealogy or Jonesborough’s unique history.  Today, Jonesborough is a flourishing community with a lively downtown, but is still anchored by history and tradition.

Connect with the Jonesborough Genealogical Society!

The Jonesborough Genealogical Society (JGS) was founded in 1990 by a small group of people interested in their family history. Today, the group has grown to more than 100 members. Their vision is to grow the Jonesborough Genealogical Society through community and membership engagement with the development of programming, relationships, and resources that allow the society to promote, study, preserve, and document the family heritages of Jonesborough, Washington County and Northeast Tennessee.

We talked to the Jonesborough Genealogical Society president, Chad Fred Bailey, and below are stories of how the society has been able to reconnect people to their family’s past. “Elaine Cantrell, a genealogist, researched my mother’s family, the Huffine family. About 11 years ago, I was told to go visit her. After planning, I went to see her. She had a book of the Huffine family she had put together. It had my mother and dad’s wedding announcement where they got married and a lot about my family. We became friends and are to this day! Genealogy is not always about the dead relatives but about the friends and stories you find along the way.”

Genealogy not only can help people connect with their family but with the surrounding region. Bailey continues, “I helped a lady find her ancestor who is buried at Maple Lawn Cemetery. She had a photo of him with the word Board of Mayor and Aldermen on it. W.P. Diehl at one time was Mayor of Jonesborough! It’s not always the names, dates and tombstones you find but you can piece together stories that also tie into the history of the area. Genealogy and history go hand in hand.”

Jonesborough Genealogical Society Events

The Jonesborough Genealogical Society hosts different events such as teacher workshops entitled Incorporating Local History and Genealogy in the Classroom and Genealogy Help Night.

The teachers workshop gives area teachers an opportunity to engage with and learn techniques to incorporate local history and genealogy issues and topics into a current classroom. This workshop takes place once a year.

The society also host its Genealogy Help Nights on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Washington County-Jonesborough Library located at 200 Sabin Drive. They welcome anyone interested in genealogy or history, whether a beginner or a pro. The society’s collection will be available for use in research as well as society members who can help navigate. Please RSVP for this event to info@jgstn.org or call 423.791.8295. The JGS has listed all events on their Facebook page.

Each year, the Jonesborough Genealogical Society hosts the Washington County Heritage Fair. The Heritage Fair is a two-part event open to the public, specifically targeting Washington County, Tennessee students through engagements that brings together local cultural and heritage organizations. The 2021 event will take place throughout Historic Jonesborough on Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents and visitors are asked to begin the day at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and Emporium for registration.

The Jonesborough Genealogical Society continues to partner with several organizations and help maintain the society’s collection at the Washington County/Jonesborough Library. For more information and to seek help in discovering more about your geology visit jgstn.org or email info@jgstn.org.

Other resources in this area include:

  • Washington County, TN Archives
  • Archives of Appalachia (Johnson City/ ETSU)
  • Charles Sherrod Library – Genealogy Collection
  • Johnson City Public Library’s Tennessee Room
  • Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia’s Washington County-Jonesborough Museum and Archives
  • Boones Creek Historical Trust Museum

Happy hunting!

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