Birth Records

BIRTH  CERTIFICATES

  Tennessee did not begin keeping birth records statewide until 1908. The larger cities in Tennessee did keep earlier birth records: Nashville (beginning in 1881); Knoxville (beginning in 1881); Chattanooga (beginning in 1879); and Memphis (beginning in 1874).

  The following indexes are available online:

  • The web site for the Shelby County Register of Deeds has an online index to Memphis birth records for 1874-1906.
  • The Metro Archives of Nashville and Davidson County has posted an online index to Nashville city birth records for 1881 - 1913.
  • Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the city birth records of Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga for 1881-1915. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page can be viewed by all. RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE who are not members of Ancestry.com can view the scanned copies of the records by first going to the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; scans of these records can then be viewed after a free log-in on the Ancestry site. The indexes and images are free to Tennessee residents. Individuals who subscribe to Ancestry.com can also view the scanned records. 

  Tennessee began keeping birth records statewide in 1908. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has statewide Tennessee birth  records for the years 1908-1912 and 1914-1917. (The year 1913 is considered to be a 'dead year' for birth records in Tennessee, since no birth records were recorded at the state level during that year.  The four larger cities in Tennessee --  Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis -- did record births during 1913.)

The following indexes are available online:

  • Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the city birth records of Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga for 1881-1915. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page can be viewed by all. RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE who are not members of Ancestry.com can view the scanned copies of the records by first going to the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; scans of these records can then be viewed after a free log-in on the Ancestry site. The indexes and images are free to Tennessee residents. Individuals who subscribe to Ancestry.com can also view the scanned records. 

Please see the web page Ordering Birth Certificates for instructions on ordering copies of birth records and birth certificates held at the Library and Archives.

For birth records from 1918 to the present, contact the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.

 

DELAYED  BIRTH  CERTIFICATES

Beginning in 1935, Tennessee began to issued "delayed" birth certificates to individuals born in Tennessee prior to the 1908 law, and to individuals who were born in Tennessee but did not have a birth certificate issued at the time of birth.  These delayed certificates were filed at the request of the individual or that person's representative for legal reasons. The Library and Archives has copies of the state-wide delayed birth records for the birth years 1869 - 1917.

  The following indexes are available online:

  • Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the 1869-1909 delayed birth records of Tennessee. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page can be viewed by all. RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE who are not members of Ancestry.com can view the scanned copies of the records by first going to the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the delayed birth records can then be viewed after a free log-in on the Ancestry site. The indexes and images are free to Tennessee residents. Individuals who subscribe to Ancestry.com can also view the scanned records. 

Please see the web page Ordering Birth Certificates and Delayed Birth Certificates for instructions on ordering copies of delayed certificates held at the Library and Archives.

For delayed birth records from 1918 to the present, contact the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.

 

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