FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF COUNTY ARCHIVES
OPENING TO THE PUBLIC RECOGNIZED
It’s now been exactly a year since the Washington County Archives officially opened to the public. That first day, Monday, April 17th, 2018, no one actually showed up. But, the next day, three researchers came in from South Korea. They were writing a biography of Dr. John W. Heron of Jonesborough, who had founded their medical school in Seoul. From that day to now, the archives has been very busy in helping people with their research.
Usage figures on research in the archives is done on a fiscal year basis, so statistics for April-June 2018 cannot be separated from the full 2016-2017 totals, but from July 1, 2017 to April 16th, 2018, 755 reference inquiries were handled from 35 different states and two foreign countries. This included in-person visits and phone, mail, and email assistance. Ninety-six individuals attended archive presentations. In addition, many people are finding us via the Internet through our webpage (url: https://wctnarchives.org/.) There have been 23,803 views of the website from a total of 4,549 visitors representing 17 different countries!
Archive research usage is increasing in a remarkable way. We expect this to continue as more people learn about us and more records are made available.
Note: For more on the Koreans researching Dr. Heron, see an article archived on the “News & Events” page.
GUIDE TO THE COUNTY’S HISTORIC WILLS
NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Over 7,500 loose wills recorded in Washington County are now processed and accessible for research. These wills span from the earliest one for John Wood of 1773 (under the Watauga Association) into the 1980s. A guide inventorying these wills is available online on the archive webpage at the following url: https://wctnarchives.org/record-groups/.
“One thing we have learned in processing these wills, is that a will can be written on anything, and it just about has been,” said County Archivist Ned Irwin. “The wills provide not only much information related to specific individuals and families, thus aiding genealogists in their study of family history, they also provide many unique and interesting insights into the times in which the decedents lived, the experiences they had, and the material culture that was part of their lives. So both genealogists and historians should find a rich trove for research.”
Several archive volunteers worked for nearly a year on the project to unfold, flatten, clean, and store these loose wills in acid-free folders and boxes, and create the written guide. Among the volunteers contributing to the processing project were Georgia Greer, Janette Guinn, Shirley Hinds, Betty Jane Hylton, Kyle Johnson, Lisa Shockley, and Jewell Susong. The wills for many years were stored in the basement of the courthouse in downtown Jonesborough. Now they are more readily available to researchers.
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Archived News Articles
March 13, 2018 Archives Website Celebrates First Anniversary
February 27, 2018 Archive Annex Renovation Approved
February 15, 2018 Chancery Court Case Files Added
January 26, 2018 Major Gift Memorializes Kozsuch