About Me

 I am a medical librarian with 16 years in information management & organization.  I apply my professional experience in the identification, selection, evaluation, & critical analysis of information resources to my genealogy hobby pursuits.  My own quest in family history research started in 2006 after rediscovering family tree notes taken during interviews with my grandmothers approximately 10 years earlier.  I volunteer extensively with the national USGenWeb Project and am dedicated to helping others locate additional information to enrich their own family history knowledge.  An active blogger and participant in the internet genealogy community, my specific interests lie heavily in technology and historical newspaper research.


  • B.S. in Biology, B.A.in Religion – Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1997
  • Masters of Science in Library Science – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC – 1999
  • Masters of Public Health – Vanderbilt University School of Medicine – 2010


  • Federation of Genealogical Societies:Membership Committee – January 2015 – present
  • Federation of Genealogical Societies, 2015 Program Committee
  • Federation of Genealogical Societies: Education Committee – Fall 2011 – Summer 2013
  • Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Nashville Chapter: Technical Director – 2012-2014
  • Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project, Advisory Board Member, July 2009-present
  • North Carolina Genealogical Society – 2010
  • Washington County (NC) Genealogical Society – 2008-2009
  • Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society – 2008-2009



I created and currently maintain the following indexes/web portals:

  • NCGenWeb Yearbook Indexdatabase of (mostly) senior classes found in yearbooks from many NC colleges and universities.  More than 35,000 names so far. Created in 2010.
  • NC People in the Newsdatabase of names mentioned in various newspaper articles. Most entries are deaths reported in Raleigh newspapers, but entries also come from a few other North Carolina newspapers.
  • Black Nashvilleblog dedicated to the African-American history & genealogy of Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • Who’s Who in TennesseeI created the portal and currently coordinate transcription efforts for this WordPress-powered site of Tennessee biographical profiles. This project was featured as the cover article for the Summer 2013 issue of FGS Forum
  • Index Onslow County Cemetery Transcriptions  – typed up more than 6,000 names from 12-volume series. (June 2013)






  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “10 Reasons to Use WordPress for your Society Website.” FGS Forum. Volume 27, Number 1. Summer 2015.
  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “Using WordPress to Create a Biographical Database: The Who’s Who Site of the TNGenWeb Project.” AAHGS News. Mar/Apr 2014. 
  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “Genealogy Hacked: Who’s Who in TN Project.” FGS Forum. Volume 25, Number 2. Summer 2013.  Interview by Thomas MacEntee.
  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “Tennessee GenWeb Project.” Family Findings: Journal of the Mid-West Tennessee Genealogical Society. Volume 45, Number 4. October 2013. 
  • Statewide Decedent Index. NCGS News: Newsletter of the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Volume 27, Number 5. pg. 7.  PDF download.
  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “Florida Students Attending North Carolina Colleges: Part 2.” Florida Genealogist. Volume 45, Number 3, December 2011: 75-79.”
  • Koonce, Taneya Y.  “Florida Students Attending North Carolina Colleges.”  Florida Genealogist. Volume 45, Number 2, August 2011: 43-45.
  • Koonce, Taneya Y. “NC Yearbook Index.” NCGS Newsletter: the Newsletter of the North Carolina Genealogical Society 34, No. 4 (Fall 2010): 8. North Carolina Genealogical Society. <http://www.ncgenealogy.org>.
  • Koonce, Taneya Y., Tom McKnight, and Anna Williams. “Investigating Napier Connections in Alabama and Tennessee.” Old Lawrence Reminiscences : a Bulletin of the Lawrence County Alabama Historical Commission. (2008). Print.  (still working to verify complete citation)


Comments (13)

  1. Mary Beth Tolman

    Hi Taneya,
    I have “Google Alerts” for the word “Genealogy” your blog on customizing came up. It sounds like you know what you are doing. I am a novice but I like what you did.
    Please give me your evaluation of the Master Genealogist. I have heard a lot about it, too, but my time is too stretched for me to tackle it right now. I haven’t figured out what sets it apart from the other programs.
    My best wishes for a Happy New Year.
    MBT Ü

  2. REK

    Hi Taneya,

    I am just beginning to explore blogging, and genealogy blogging in particular. Your blog is the first I’ve seen by an African-American and I am enjoying reading your entries and your website. You’ve done a very nice job. I’ve added it to my ‘favorites’ and will check back again. Maybe one day I can get my own blog started – after I organize all my research! Thanks!


  3. val

    Hi Taneya
    Great site, I also have family ties in Lenoir County and have been researching and putting togeather my maternal Whitfield tree togeather for about a year now. Interesting I found my great grandfather Haywood Whitfield in the the 1910 , 1920 and 1930 census with his wife and family (my grandfather,greataunt, greatuncle) as well as his WW1 Draft registration card but cannot find any record of him prior to that . Although his name is Henry Haywood Whitfield I have found him listed as Howard , Harvey, Henry and Haywood. When I found your Kinston Free Press Blog I suscribed right away. North Carolina has great resources but limited when it comes to African American. I have been more sucessful with my great grandmother’s line finding her in the census with her mother and father an great aunts and uncles in the 1900 census. Thank You for sharing

  4. Lamont Beauregard

    Hi Taneya,

    Any family ties to Haywood County, Tennessee?

  5. rootsreading

    Hello again Taneya. Awesome blog. I’ve added you on my blogroll. I apologize for not supplying you with a link to my site in my previous comment. I’m still trying to figure out wordpress. If my link does not show with my name, here it is: rootsreading.wordpress.com. I look forward to speaking with you throughout our individual journeys.

  6. kia

    Do you have any family ties to JC Napier? My last name is Napier andI found you and this website doing someresearch on him. My daughter found his name while in Tenn on a 5th grade trip (we live in FL) and wanted to know if he was a distant relative.

  7. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Kia,

    I’m not related to JC Napier, but I’ve done quite a bit of research on him and his family. I’ll email you.


  8. taneya (Post author)


    My email to you bounced, so if you see this, please email me directly at taneya at gmail dot com. Thanks!

  9. Linda Forest

    Congratulations – I am giving you the ANCESTOR APPROVED AWARD! Keep up the good work; I enjoy reading your blog. Follow the guidelines on my post to accept:

  10. Shaz

    Hi Taneya
    My Great Grandfather was a valet for the Vandebilts round about the late 1800 to early 1900. I have been trying find out exactly who he worked for but it seems an impossible task. I have found your blog very helpful to pinpoint who it might have been so thank you.
    I’ll keep looking though as it is very interesting.

  11. Dwayne


    I would like to take this opportunity for your assistance. I am really glad I know your dad and Al because without them I probably wouldn’t have gotten in contact with you. I was sooooo surprised to be able to track my roots back to Africa. Several of my family members had tried but we had all ran into the same roadblock. Thanks for removing the roadblocks and allowing me to continue. You are a “Godsend” and a blessing to all that come into contact with you. I sent my DNA sample in yesterday. I will keep you abreast of the findings.

  12. Edward Garfield Huggins

    Hello Taneya.
    I read some of your post on this blog and it took me “back” down memory lane. I was born in Fort Barnwell on the Biddle farm. I’m Edward Huggins the son of Joseph “Tull” Huggins. I’m related to besse or Bessel Lawhorn Of Baltimore Maryland (First Cousin). I went to St John AME ZIon Church, that’s where Mrs Holloway Grave is at. I knew Ella and Veronica and Lafayette. I remember when your Grandfather was funeralized, Just like it was last year. I went to School with Clarence and Patricia Lawhorn. I would like to start research with the Huggins and Simmons Family. I enjoyed reading your blog. Take Care and God Bless.

    Edward Garfield Huggins.

  13. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Edward,

    Thank you so much for your comments! It is neat to hear from someone who knows my family! I’ll be sure to tell VK that you commented. I’m going to send you an email. :-)

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