The state of Tennessee did not require the keeping of death records until 1908. This law expired at the end of 1912. In 1913, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a new law that called for the keeping of more detailed death certificates. This law went into effect in 1914.
When the first law expired at the end of 1912, however, no individuals or agencies were charged with the responsibility of keeping death records. For this reason, 1913 is frequently referred to as a "dead year" for death certificates in Tennessee.
While state law did not require the keeping of death records until 1908, four cities in Tennessee -- Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis -- kept earlier death records of their specific communities. You can find the dates of these records in the sections "Birth Records" and "Death Records".
Davidson County (as distinct from Nashville) began keeping their own death records in 1900 and continued to do so through 1913. The death records in this index include the following information: last name, first name, race, date of death, age, place of burial, and the volume & record number. Sample Davidson County death certificates are available to be viewed on our web site.
Please note that many of the recorded names in this index do not appear in the Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912.
Patrons wishing to order a copy of the death record from the ledger book can use the section "Vital Records : Death Records" on the Microfilm Copy Order Form.