Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 26, 2014

Family heritage valued at archives

CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Archives and Family Heritage Center is more than a repository for Cumberland County Records. Because their primary function is to preserve those records, they have become known as “The Archives,” but that is only part of their mission. Family heritage, the pride they have in the accomplishments of ancestors, is their other purpose.

It is not those few leaders that historians love to talk about that founded and developed this country. It is the common men and women who braved the ocean crossing to find a land of freedom; it is their descendants who braved the mountains and forests and prairies of this new country to settle the wilderness; and it is today’s generation who come to this and other family heritage centers to learn about their own personal family heroes. 

Four hundred years of explorers and settlers have resulted in families having history in many different states and counties. Their family heritage reading room is expanding its book and journal collections to include family history from not only Cumberland County, but surrounding counties, the state of Tennessee and many other states. They address historic topics, such as the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Religions make their own unique history, such as Shakers, Moravians and Quakers. Ethnic groups, social groups, politics and special interests all influenced the formation of this country.

Crossville is on two major migration routes, thanks to the geography of the area. People from Virginia and North Carolina first came into the Tennessee wilderness on a westward trek. Many descendants of these families moved on to populate Alabama, Arkansas and the westward states. The north-south track brought people in from Kentucky, who then spread south and west. Those in the south who came north went on into the upper mid-west. Now those in other areas of the country are coming into the area because of the natural beauty and lifestyle offered here, and discovering in their family research that they are really coming home to a place their ancestors had once lived. 

Many of the volunteers are experienced genealogy researchers and will always be available to help patrons research their own roots, wherever they were planted. Whether you are an experienced researcher, or want to know how to start your own genealogy, they invite you to come in and see what information is available. Their computers are dedicated to genealogical research and feature several websites for your use, and their book stacks are open for you to study at your leisure. 

If you have genealogical books at home that you are no longer using, you may consider donating them to the heritage center. They are also interested in acquiring Cumberland County city directories, old phone books and school yearbooks. Their file cabinet has a unit dedicated to local family histories as well as topics and locations within Cumberland County and surrounding counties.

If you are curious about your own family heritage, come by the Cumberland County Archives and Family Heritage Center at 95 East First St., the former church with the brown steeple. They are open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 456-2006.

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