Local History & Genealogy
The Local History & Genealogy Department offers open access to unique collections that document and illuminate our shared history. Whether you’re interested in the history of your family, your home, your neighborhood, a local business or organization, or the wider community, we’ve got resources and services to help you!
You can explore our collections by searching the online catalog, browsing the stacks, viewing online resources, or speaking with one of our staff who are experts on local history and the resources available here.
Ancestry Library EditionThe library offers free on-site access at all branches to Ancestry Library Edition, one of the largest online collections of vital records and other genealogical sources.
Books and JournalsBooks and journals on local and regional history and genealogy, city directories, and more.
County RecordsCounty records, covering both Tennessee and many surrounding Southeastern states, include wills, deeds, marriages, cemetery inscriptions, court records, church histories, and more (print and microfilm). See our Guide to Tennessee County Records that are available in the Local History Department.
MapsLocal and regional maps including Sanborn maps, plat books, and topographical maps.
Manuscript CollectionsOriginal papers and records (such as letters, diaries, photographs, etc) created by people, families, and organizations that reflect daily life and activities in and around Chattanooga. For more information view our Guide to Manuscript Collections of the Chattanooga Public Library.
Newspapers and Clipping FilesMicrofilm copies of local newspapers, including the Chattanooga Times, Chattanooga News-Free Press, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press, from the 19th century through the present. The department also maintains a clipping file, organized by subject, which often serves as a useful starting point for many research topics. View our Clipping File Subject Index to get a sense of the topics covered.
Chattanooga History CollectionsThe Chattanooga Public Library and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are proud to co-curate the collections of the former Chattanooga History Center. The collections consist of photographs, personal papers, administrative records, books, and objects that document the rich and diverse history of Chattanooga. View finding aids and selected digital items from the Chattanooga History Collections online.
Our staff can help you find answers to questions about local and regional history, family history, and more. While we are not able to conduct in-depth research on behalf of patrons, we can help you identify relevant resources and point you in the right direction. You can contact us by email, phone, postal mail, or by visiting the department in person (no appointment necessary).
Remote Services and Reproduction Requests
We can provide scans or photocopies from our newspaper collection (such as obituaries), historical photographs, and other non-circulated reference materials. Contact us for rate and additional details.
We are happy to host small groups or classes for research visits, and can provide an orientation to the department and the resources available. Please contact us to make arrangements for group visits.
Our goal is to continue building a collection that reflects Chattanooga’s diverse and rich history. We are able to do this through donations of collections from people and organizations that document daily life, activities, and experiences in Chattanooga. Such collections could consist of books, documents, photographs, maps, records, audio-visual recordings, digital files, and other materials. Please contact us if you’re interested in donating materials.