Finding Birth and Death Records in Tennessee

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 website 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 webpage 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, 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.)

Please see the webpage Ordering Birth Records 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 issue "delayed" birth certificates to individuals born in Tennessee before 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 statewide 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 webpage 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, 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 webpage Ordering Birth Records and Delayed Birth Records 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.

DEATH RECORDS AND CERTIFICATES

Tennessee did not begin keeping death records statewide until 1908. The larger cities in Tennessee did keep earlier death records: Nashville (beginning in 1874); Knoxville (beginning in 1881); Chattanooga (beginning in 1872); and Memphis (beginning in 1848).

The following indexes are available online:

  • The index to Davidson County Death Records 1900-1913 is available on the Library and Archives website. The index gives following information on the deceased: last name, first name, race, age, date of death, place of burial, and a citation to the original death certificate.
  • An online index to Shelby County death records for the years 1848-1964 is available on the website of the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
  • Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of the city death records of Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga for 1872-1923. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives webpage 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, clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the city death 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 death records statewide in 1908. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has statewide death records for the years 1908-1912 and 1914-1967. (The year 1913 is considered to be a 'dead year' for death records in Tennessee, since no death records were recorded at the state level during that year.  The four larger cities in Tennessee -- Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis -- did record deaths during 1913.)

The following indexes are available online:

  • The Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908 - 1912 is available on our website. The index gives the individual's name, county of residence, date of death and the death certificate number.
  • The Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records (1914-1933) is also available on our website.  The index lists name of deceased, county of death, and volume and page number of the certificate; beginning with death certificates issued in 1926, the certificate number is listed instead of the volume and page.
  • Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of Tennessee death records for the years 1908-1958. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives webpage 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, clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the death certificates 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. 
  • An online statewide index to Tennessee death records for the years 1949-2014 is available on the website of the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

Please see the webpage Ordering Death Records for instructions on ordering copies of death records and death certificates held at the Library and Archives.

For death records from 1968 to the present, contact the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.

Subcategory: 
Subsubcategory: