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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.
Understanding history and the use of maps and gazetteers are essential for tracing early Tennessee families. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has a fine collection of maps, including early surveyors’ maps and civil district maps. Helpful publications include:
- Coggins, Allen R. Place Names of the Smokies (Louisville, Tenn.: the author). Offers information for east Tennessee towns and sites.
- Fullerton, Ralph O. Place Names of Tennessee. Bulletin No. 73. Nashville: State of Tennessee, Department of Conservation, Division of Geology, 1974. Arranged alphabetically by counties and, within the counties, alphabetically by place-name. Depicts county outline with geological survey overview.
- McBride, Robert M., and Owen Meredith, eds. Eastin Morris’ Tennessee Gazetteer, 1834, Matthew Rhea’s Map of the State of Tennessee, 1832. Nashville: Gazetteer Press, 1971. A valuable guide to Tennessee’s early history.
Tennessee maps can be purchased from the State of Tennessee, Department of Conservation, Division of Geology, Nashville, TN 37203. General Highway Maps for Tennessee counties are available from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Development, Planning Division, Nashville, TN 37219, and from respective counties.
Mountain Press produced a map in 1996 showing the various native tribes in Tennessee and early white settlements and forts. Entitled Aboriginal Map of Tennessee, it is available from that press located in Signal Mountain, Tennessee.
The McClung Collection at the East Tennessee Historical Center (see Tennessee Archives, Libraries, and Societies) includes a set of maps for the state dating from 1777. This series, drawn by Rene Jordan, depicts the development of east Tennessee over twenty years of county organization and jurisdictional changes (see Tennessee Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections).
The TSLA holdings include historical and current maps, including the U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps (see page 5). It maintains maps of some Mountain District grants and Ocoee District plat books.