Tennessee Genealogical Society
for all of Tennessee since 1954
Tennessee Ancestry Certificate Program
The Tennessee Ancestry Certificate Program was initiated during the 1986 Tennessee Homecoming Celebration. Under the program developed
by Amelia (Pike) Eddlemon and Lincoln Johnson, certificates of ancestry are issued to persons providing documentary proof (family charts or
computer printouts are not considered sufficient proof.) that their ancestors resided in the area that is now Tennessee at any time from the
first settlement in 1769 through the year 1880. Applications for the certificates have come from thousands of persons across the country and
overseas -- all of them proud to proclaim their Tennessee ancestry.
TN ANCESTOR CERTIFICATES
Complete the Application Forms. It must be typed or printed in black ink and legible. Submit documents for each generation, and if sending in more than one request for a TN Ancestor Certificate, you
must place all needed information for different requests attached to each file. We
do not make copies from information on one file to place with another that may be included.
Do not send originals of any document proving ancestors; however, copies may be included of those such as marriage licenses, census, birth certificates, death records, family bible records, sworn statements of acceptable published genealogy books, newspaper clippings of obituaries of death records (with the date of the newspaper shown), and also pictures of tombstones with dates are acceptable.
With each request for an Ancestor Certificate that you are requesting, please include a check or money order for $20.00 payable to The Tennessee Genealogical Society.
Applicants need not be members of the TN Genealogical Society or live in the state of Tennessee. The proof of the first ancestor must have documentation when first in TN with proof of parentage for all generations. Dates and places are needed; however, in rare cases if the Certificate Committee approves the date you have estimated you may use (c) in front of the date. Use full names including middle names if known. The date to be shown on the Certificate if estimated must be approved by the Certificate Committee. Unknown places should be left blank unless there is a strong indication of a certain place, in which case, use (ca) before that place name. This too must be approved by the Certificate Committee. Certain information may be omitted from the application through use of the “privacy clause”.
First and last names are needed for each Generation. Initials have been used on rare occasions when no given names have been known. Middle names are important if available. Unknown male and female spouse names are not required if that name is not used in the lineal descent name. Do use any part of that name if known.
If proof is to be found in a published book/Bible, a copy of the Title page is needed along with the page or pages naming the ancestor(s). Such accounts will be considered authentic when approved by the Certificate Committee. ON illegible copies of Wills and Deeds, a translation of vital parts would be helpful for the Committee. All copies of any proofs sent in must be legible. If unable to read copies of any proof sent in, we will not be able to issue you a certificate. If using cemetery records, the name of the cemetery should use a heading of the place, state and city. If using micro-film or published records include the Title page and micro-film page showing the ancestor record and identification of the file. Unpublished family information and Family Group Sheets are not acceptable proof. Memberships in other Societies are not acceptable unless approved by the Certificate Committee.
When listing children under Generation 1 at the bottom of the first page, if more space is needed use a blank sheet of paper attached to the file and mark as children of Generation 1. If an applicant has more than 7 generations, x out the numbers on blank certificates and write the extra number of ancestor information there.
By signing the Release from at the close of the last page, the applicant is giving the Tennessee Genealogical Society authorization to use in whatsoever way the Society see fit. The applicant is assured that the Tennessee Genealogical Society will use these materials in a dignified way to benefit present and future people interested in genealogy and those tracing their ancestry. The Applicant must sign the release form. It cannot be signed by someone wanting to get the Ancestor Certificate for someone else. With proof, a parent wishing to receive a certificate for a child in most cases will be acceptable. This is only for the children under 18 years of age living in your home. The Privacy Law prohibits the TN Genealogical Society from issuing Certificates for older children and adult relatives without signing the release.
We invite you to place your ancestor(s) in this roll of honor. An application is
Attractive hand-lettered certificates suitable for framing are issued to each person whose application meets program
qualifications. Additionally, two books, Tennessee Settlers and Their Descendants, have been published from these
certificates. Volume 1 contains applications received before 31 December 1993. Volume 2 is a compilation of
information submitted between 1, January 1994 and 31 December 2004. This volume reports on 266 early Tennessee
families with over 1,400 surnames. Both volumes are fully indexed and may be ordered from TNGS.
Volume 3 is currently being compiled. Let us include your Tennessee Ancestor.
For applications or additional information, go to www.TNGS.org or write the Tennessee Genealogical Society, P.O. Box
381824, Germantown, TN 38183-1824