Monday, September 29, 2014

First Families of White County Tennessee

The First Families of White County Tennessee is a certification program to recognize, honor and perpetuate the memory of early pioneers who established residency in White County, Tennessee prior to 1830.

White County was established in 1806. "On Sept. 11, 1806, an act of the Tennessee General Assembly created White County out of Smith and Jackson counties, responding to a petition signed by 155 residents of the area. The county's original geographic area included all of what are now White and Warren counties, as well as parts of modern Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Franklin, Grundy, Putnam and Van Buren counties."

The application file will provide valuable documentation on the family history of many of White County's founders and will be available for genealogical research.

Eligibility: The applicant must directly descend from an ancestor who settled in White County between 1800 - 1830. The applicant must be able to prove residency of the ancestor as well as descent for each generation, including proof of the applicant. Current White County residency is not required. The application must be accompanied by documentation of such descent and the payment of a non-refundable $15 application fee per applicant.

Documentation: As a genealogical and historical collaborative, we encourage genealogical research and request photocopies of original documents as proof of lineage. Do not send original documents, as they will not be returned. While primary sources offer the best proof, secondary sources may be considered if primary proof is not available.

Primary sources include: Birth, death and marriage records, wills and probate records, deeds / land, church, tombstone, Bible, military, letters, pages from diaries, court cases, tax, census records, and other eyewitness accounts.

Secondary sources include: Newspaper clippings (include names of newspaper, location, and date of publication), published biographical histories and/or sketches, private family papers, and other records made by persons who did not witness the event.

All documents must include a full citation of source. For secondary sources, a copy of the actual page where the fact was found, plus title of source, author and page number must be submitted. Bible records must include a photocopy of the title page with publication date and current owner's name and address. Lineage society applications are accepted as proof of lineage when a copy of entire application is submitted.

Female ancestors should be identified by their maiden name. Exceptions are made in cases where the maiden name / surname cannot be proven.

As of September 1, 2013, if another individual has already proved an ancestor, the applicant may submit proof only to the nearest common ancestor, if so desired. A citation to the name and First Families number of that individual must be included. This is only applicable initially to those families who submit applications together.

Inadmissible Documentation: Hearsay, oral history, or written family group sheets, and online family trees without full citation including title, volume and page number of source for each fact (marriage, will, etc.) will not be accepted. Evidence that appears to have been altered will not be accepted.

Application form instructions: 

Complete the First Families Application Form. All three pages, application, line of descent chart and source records sheet). 

Applicants that have more than one qualifying ancestor should complete a separate First Families Application Form, Line of Descent Chart and a Source Record Sheet for each ancestor.

Additional material is strongly encouraged, such as newspaper articles, photos, and other materials, which may be of interest to future researchers. Once the application is approved, a certificate of recognition will be issued to the applicant designating their ancestor as a White County Pioneer.

Submitted Materials: All applications and supporting documentation will be retained and available for research purposes. The committee shall determine eligibility.  The committee's decision will be final. The applicant will be required to pick up incorrect or incomplete applications to be resubmitted.

A check or money order in the amount of $15, made payable to First Families of White County should be mailed, along with application and photocopied proofs to:

First Families of White County
c/o White County Archives - Courthouse
1 E. Bockman Way, Room 304
Sparta,  TN  38583

Genealogical research guidance from the FFWC Collaborative may be requested to assist in documenting lineage. Send your question along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the above address.