Welcome to the front porch...
I never knew them, but recollections from my family and Census records reveal that they were farmers and likely lived a strenuous life tending their crops. That front porch must have been a welcome respite after a long day's work.
At the risk of overusing architectural metaphors, I like to think of the Public Services Section of the Tennessee State Library & Archives as a front porch, where you can find a friendly face to help you make a deeply personal connection with the past. The Tennessee State Library & Archives has an incredible variety of information to help you locate a long lost ancestor, or find that missing piece of the puzzle that might help answer unanswered questions about a loved one's past.
In my first few weeks on the job at TSLA, I have witnessed the joy of discovery and the dedication of our professional staff who take great pride in helping our patrons "document the links to our past." I have heard gasps and cheers of joy in the microfilm room as evidence of a long lost ancestor is revealed. I have listened to the sound of discovery as pages of books are turned in the South Reading Room. Witnessing the connection a patron makes with a piece of paper, a photograph, or an obituary makes every day spent on the job worthwhile.
Are you looking to make a personal connection with the past? Do you have unanswered questions about an ancestor? If so, I would encourage you to visit the Tennessee State Library & Archives, both online and in person. Our staff of dedicated professionals in Public Services are ready to welcome you to our front porch, and eager to help you make that connection.
Gordon Belt is the Director of Public Services for the Tennessee State Library & Archives, and is the current president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists. On The Posterity Project, Gordon blogs about archives, local history, social media advocacy for archives and cultural heritage organizations, and occasionally writes about the convergence of history and memory.