Genealogy Jamboree marches into the Gap

Jan Runions | Claiborne Progress Mark Treadway, founding member of the annual Genealogy Jamboree, speaks with visitors to the 2014 event.

Visitors to the fifth annual Genealogy Jamboree will have the opportunity to hear the footsteps of time marching along the historic downtown district of Cumberland Gap.

Recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a top 20 event in June, the Jamboree has grown each year to encompass the best in special topic lectures, reenactments, historical impersonations, crafts, music and much more.

The idea for the Jam grew from a tiny seed as locals Mark Treadway, John Adams and the late Claude Ramsey sat upon a porch one day.

As Treadway puts it, “most everybody likes to sit around and talk about the old folks.”

Apparently, the event proved a real source for tourism, drawing to Cumberland Gap visitors from 37 states and from as far away as Mexico, Canada and Egypt.

It wasn’t long before the town officially set aside by resolution the second Thursday through Saturday in June for the three-day event.

Treadway says he and Adams soon realized the need for an official organization to assist in spearheading the annual festival while maintaining a year around presence to supplement the local historical societies.

The men chartered the Cumberland Gap Tennessee Genealogy and History Group and are currently waiting for approval of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

The new group, Treadway said, will be a clearinghouse of sorts for anyone from across the country who is interested in preserving their family’s history via pioneer names, old pictures, stories and genealogies.

The Genealogy Jamboree is slated for June 11-13. For more information, contact Treadway at 423-869-9580 or Adams at 423-869-2783.

The Jamboree website is: For more about the Genealogy and History Group, log onto

Reach Jan Runions at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @scribeCP.

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