The Bristol Public Library has many genealogy resources. Print resources include guides to researching your family history; local record indexes to marriages, cemeteries, deeds, wills, and more; regional history books; and compiled family histories. Special collections include a Local History File, Cemeteries File, Family Files, and the Bristol Herald Courier and other local newspapers on microfilm from roughly 1907-2018. Collection emphasis is on Tennessee and Virginia, and other states in the southeastern region.

Digital resources include HeritageQuest through the Tennessee Electronic Library, Heritage Hub, Ancestry Library Edition (in house use only at Main or Avoca), Bristol Herald Courier recent editions (2007-current) via Newsbank, Tennessee recent and historical newspapers via ProQuest (in house use only at Main or Avoca), and Southeast Edition through the Tennessee Electronic Library. Most digital collections available for remote access require a library card in good standing.


Heritage Hub
Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth genealogical research from 1704 – today. HeritageHub helps you easily identify relatives, uncover new information and potentially unknown family members. Includes deep coverage from all 50 states, hard-to-find content from the mid 1900’s, and original obituary images. Access is available 24/7.

Ancestry Library Edition
Start searching billions of records and discover your family’s story with Ancestry Library edition. Search over 800 million obituaries and 220 million marriages in Ancestry Library Editions’s indexes.


HeritageQuestOnline *(Access Through TEL)
HeritageQuest offers census records online plus much more. Access through TEL. This link takes you to the TEL Database. Scroll down alphabetically to HeritageQuest Online. *Virginia Residents Require Password. Call the library to ask for the password.



Bristol Herald Courier  Search more than 10 years of Bristol history with the Bristol Herald Courier Collection.  Coverage from 2007 through today with full-color newspaper pages and individual articles, and web-only content on NewsBank. (1917 – Present) on microfilm.
Tennessee Newspapers (Resource are only available from within the Bristol Library or Avoca Branch)



Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Search America’s historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

Virginia Chronicle
Virginia Chronicle is a historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full text searching and digitized images of over 2.5 million newspaper pages.

Black Life in America The content in this database is sourced from more than 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 current and historical Black publications. This primary source collection offers an expansive window into centuries of African American history, culture and daily life—as well as the ways the dominant culture has portrayed and perceived people of African descent.


Bristol TN/VA City Directories are available in a searchable PDF format. (1896-1944)


Local School Yearbooks
Tennessee High School Yearbooks


Bristol has officially been recognized as the “Birthplace of Country Music”.  In 1927, recordings were made of musicians from the southern Appalachian region.  These recordings became known as the Bristol Sessions.  Visit these links to introduce you to our unique musical heritage.

The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail
Birthplace of Country Music Alliance
The Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival

Bristol Historical Association
The intention of the Bristol Historical Association is to promote an interest in the history of Bristol by designating properties with historical significance.
Collectible Bottles & History
Provides a pictorial history of collectible bottles and related “go-withs” from the Twin Cities of BRISTOL, TN/VA.
East Tennessee Historical Society
The East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) is a non-profit organization that provides public programming relating to the history and heritage of East Tennessee.
Historical Society of Washington Co., VA
The Society is a leading center in the region for genealogical and historical research, including local and regional history, published genealogies and family histories.

1950’s Census
The 1950 census records were released by the U.S. National Archives on April 1, 2022. This website provides full access to the 1950 census images, including population schedules, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Extensive collection of family genealogy files.
Cyndi’s List
A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
National Genealogical Society
The National Genealogical Society, a non-profit organization founded in 1903, is the premier national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian.
USGenWeb Project
Provides transcripts of public domain records, including census, marriage bonds, wills, other public documents, as well as tombstones and special projects at the county level.
WorldGenWeb Project
Affiliated with the U.S. Genealogy Web Project, plans are to create a worldwide genealogy links at each country’s county level.

Civil War Soldiers & Sailors
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War.
National Archives Veteran Service Records
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
National Archives pre-WWI Military Service

Access Genealogy
Genealogy records and information specializing in Native American research.
Cherokee Tribal Genealogy
Genealogy information for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.
National Archives – Native American Records
The National Archives holds information about American Indians who maintained their ties to Federally-recognized Tribes (1830-1970).

Sanborn maps are detailed maps of U.S. cities and towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally published by The Sanborn Map Company, the maps were created to allow fire insurance companies to assess their total liability in urbanized areas of the United States. Since they contain detailed information about properties and individual buildings in approximately 12,000 U.S. cities and towns, Sanborn maps are valuable for documenting changes in the built environment of American cities over many decades.

Available through the Library of Congress.