Robert Bailey, Historian
119 Court Street
P.O. Box 738
Kingston, TN 37763
The job of the County Historian consists of preserving government records, utilizing records management, and providing public access to those records. The County Historian/Director oversees one (1) full-time Archive Assistant and one (1) part-time Assistant.
The Roane County Archives are located at 119 Court Street in Kingston in the Historic Roane County Courthouse. The Preservation of Records Department/Roane County Archives became a part of Roane County Government in July 2001. There are two types of records that the Archive handles: permanent records (inactive records that have to be maintained forever) and temporary records (those which are kept for a limited time period).
Permanent records are records which may never be destroyed. These records include those required by law to be kept, historical records and records that the county official deems of continuing value to their office. The records in the Archives are from all of the court systems and include case files and docket and minute books. Also maintained in the archives are tax books, marriage licenses, estates, and various other legal documents. The records are stored in a fire-resistant location with appropriate temperature and humidity controls. The archival process involves the organization of records and placing them in acid-free folders and boxes on metal shelves. Organized records require less space and provide prompt and efficient access to the general public. As Roane County’s records begin in 1801, the Archive is responsible for probably one of the largest collections of historical records in the State of Tennessee. Most inactive permanent records are maintained in the Archives while temporary records are stored in other locations. The Archive is responsible for providing access to permanent records by the general public. The Archives only has records prior to 1973. For records after that date please check with the office which currently holds those records.
Temporary value records are those that have to be kept for certain number of years and then may be destroyed. These records are the fastest growing sector of government records. Guidance is provided to the county officials as to which and when records may be destroyed. The Archives utilizes County Technical Assistance Services (CTAS) retention schedules as a guide for destruction of temporary records. The Public Records Commission/Committee approves final destruction of temporary value records.
Electronic records are one of the greatest challenges facing archives. Many offices are beginning to switch to digital records storage as opposed to paper records. Are electronic records going to be able to be read when new computer systems are used? Will electronic records be able to be migrated to a new system? These are some of the questions which will have to be answered in the future.