Tennessee Records Details and Resources

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More than 50 Tennessee counties have lost some records in fires or storms. County-by-county lists of the disasters record losses are at the state archives website, along with indexes and information about other holdings. Courthouse disasters rarely destroy all records. Investigate surviving materials, resources of parent and neighboring counties, and family, local, state, and federal records.

Tennessee first tried statewide birth and death registration between 1908 and 1912, but some counties and cities have 19th-century records. For information on pre-1908 records and death, marriage, and divorce records more than 50 years old, see The state Department of Health holds birth records from 1914 and death, marriage, and divorce records less than 50 years old. Usually, county clerks hold marriage records dating from the formation of their counties. County circuit courts have handled divorces since 1834, and the legislature had jurisdiction to grant earlier divorces. Birth and death indexes and records, 1908-1912, and death records, 1914-1950, are available on microfilm from the Family History Library (FHL), but there are no records for 1913. Other Tennessee-specific records include:

  • Several series of the Draper Manuscripts, especially series XX, Tennessee Papers, housed at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and on microfilm at research libraries.
  • Territorial Papers of the United States and Territorial Papers of the US Senate for the Territory South of the River Ohio.
  • Confederate pensions; index to applications for pensions and the Confederate Soldiers Home, and list of Tennessee Confederate physicians at; pension indexes and applications are available on microfilm from the FHL.
  • Civil War Veterans Questionnaires, 1914-1920 are at the Tennessee State Library and Archives and have been compiled into five volumes by Gustavus W. Dyer and John Trotwood Moore (Southern Historical Press, 1985). You can see an online index at
  • County tax lists; available at the state archives,
  • School censuses for various counties, most from the 20th century; see a list at
  • Records of depositors in Tennessee’s two branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (FHL microfilm 928590).
  • 1869 and 1897 censuses of Memphis (FHL microfilm 375237).


  • Eastern Cherokees: A Census of the Cherokee Nation, 1851 by David W. Siler (Polyanthos, 1972)
  • East Tennessee Tax Lists (Arrow Printing Co., 1964)


  • Earliest Tennessee Land Records & Earliest Tennessee Land History by Irene M. Griffey (Clearfield Co., 2000)
  • The Hidden Revolutionary War Land Grants In the Tennessee Military Reservation by Shirley Hollis Rice (Family Tree Press, 1992)
  • Land Grants, 1775-1905, 1911 (filmed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives)
  • North Carolina Land Grants in Tennessee, 1778-1791 compiled by Goldene F. Burgner (Southern Historical Press, 1981)
  • Tennessee Land: Its Early History and Laws by Billie R. McNamara (B.R. McNamara, 1997)
  • Tennessee Land Entries: John Armstrong’s Office, 2 vols., by Albert Bruce Pruitt (Pruitt, A. Bruce, 1995)
  • Tennessee Land Entries Military Bounty Land (1783-1841), 7 vols., by Albert Bruce Pruitt (Pruitt, A. Bruce, 1997)
  • Tennessee Land Grants. Surnames, 17 vols., by Byron Sistler (Byron Sistler, 1997)
  • Tennessee Land Warrants by Albert Bruce Pruitt (Pruitt, A. Bruce, 1999)


  • Counties of Tennessee by Austin P. Foster (Department of Education, Division of History, State of Tennessee, 1923)
  • Eastin Morris’ Tennessee Gazetteer 1834 and Matthew Rhea’s Map of the State Of Tennessee, 1832 edited by Robert M. McBride and Owen Meredith (The Gazetteer Press, 1971)
  • Place Names of Tennessee by Ralph O. Fullerton (Tennessee Department of Conservation, Division of Geology, 1974)
  • Tennessee Atlas and Gazetteer, 3rd edition, (DeLorme Mapping Co., 1995)
  • Tennessee County Maps compiled by C.J. Puetz (Thomas Publishing Co., 1992)


  • Confederate Patriot Index (1894-1978), 2 vols., (Tennessee Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1976, 1978)
  • Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications by Samuel Sistler (Byron Sistler, 1995)
  • “List of North Carolina Revolutionary Soldiers Given Land in Tennessee, by the Act of 1782-83” by John Haywood (In The History of Tennessee; Reprint; Arno Press, 1971)
  • Record of Commissions of Officers in the 1796-1815 Tennessee Militia by Mrs. J.T. Moore (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977)
  • Republic of Texas Pension Application Abstracts by John C. Barron, et al. (Austin Genealogical Society, 1987)
  • Roll Call at the Alamo by Phil Rosenthal and Bill Groneman (Old Army Press, 1985)
  • Soldiers of the War of 1812 Buried in Tennessee by M.H. McCown and I.E. Burns (Society of US Daughters of 1812, 1959)
  • Some Tennessee Heroes of the Revolution, Compiled From Pensions of the Republic of Texas compiled by Zella Armstrong (Daughters of the Republic Of Texas, 1986)
  • Tennesseans in the Civil War (Civil War Commission, 1965)
  • The Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires, 5 vols., by Gustavus Dyer (Southern Historical Press, 1985)
  • Tennessee Confederate Widows and Their Families: Abstracts of 11,190 Confederate Widows’ Applications by Edna Wiefering (Cleveland Public Library, 1992)
  • Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution by Penelope J. Allen (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1975)
  • Texas Veterans in the Mexican War by Charles D. Spurlin (Ingmire Pub., 1984)
  • Texas Volunteers in the Mexican War by Henry W. Barton (Texan Press, 1970)
  • Twenty-four Hundred Tennessee Pensioners of the Revolution, War of 1812 compiled by Zella Armstrong (Lookout Publishing Co., 1937)
  • Volunteers: Tennesseans in the War with Mexico, 2 vols., by Reid Brock (Kitchen Table Press, 1986)


  • Index to Tennessee Wills and Administrations, 1779-1861 by Byron Sistler and Barbara Sistler (Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1990)
  • Survey to Tennessee County Court Records, Prior to 1860, in the Second, Third and Fourth Districts (Historical Records Survey, 1943)
  • Tennessee Tidbits, 1778-1914, 3 vols., by Marjorie Hood Fischer and Ruth Blake Burns (Ram Press, 1988)


  • Tennessee Records: Bible Records and Marriages Bonds by Jeannette T. Acklen (Clearfield Co., 1997)
  • Tennessee Records: Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Historical and Biographical by Jeannette T. Acklen (Cullom and Ghertner, 1976)
  • Obituaries and Marriage Notices From the Tennessee Baptists: 1844-1862 by Russell Pierce Baker (Southern Historical Press, 1979)
  • Tennessee Divorces, 1797-1858 by Gale W. Bamman (G. Bamman, 1985)
  • Obituaries from Tennessee Newspapers by Jill L. Garrett (Southern Historical Press, 1980)
  • Guide to Church Vital Statistics in Tennessee (War Services Section, WPA, 1942)
  • Church, Cemetery, Bible, and Family Records from Tennessee from the Historical Records Project and Historical Records Survey (filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1943)
  • 35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records and Bonds, 1783-1870, 3 vols., by Silas E. Lucas and Ella L. Sheffield (Southern Historical Press, 1981)
  • Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers, 1794-1851 by Silas E. Lucas (Southern Historical Press, 1978)
  • Tennessee Ancestors: The Brave and the Dead, Probate and Death Records of Early Middle Tennessee, 1780-1805 by Oveda Meier (O. Meier, 1990)
  • Early East Tennessee Marriages, 2 vols., by Byron Sistler and Barbara Sistler (Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1987)
  • Early Middle Tennessee Marriages, 2 vols., (Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1988)
  • Early West Tennessee Marriages, 2 vols., by Byron Sistler and Barbara Sistler (Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1989)
  • Miscellaneous Birth, Death, and Marriage Records, 1837-1987 from the Tennessee Division of Vital Records (filmed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, ca. 1980)
  • Vital Statistics from Nineteenth Century Tennessee Church Records by Byron Sistler and Barbara Sistler (Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1979)

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From the Family Tree Sourcebook
Also available: the State Research Guide Book, State Research Guides CD and The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.