How Do I Find Census Records?

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has microfilmed copies of Tennessee census records. Many of the early census records, however, have been lost or destroyed. (The territorial census of Tennessee and the 1800 census of Tennessee were lost. Nearly all of the 1810 census of Tennessee was destroyed; only the records for Grainger County & Rutherford County have survived. Most of the records for counties in east Tennessee are missing from the 1820 census of Tennessee.) The 1830 census of the state is the first complete census on record for the state. The 1890 census of Tennessee was destroyed in a fire in Washington D.C.  Please see the web page Tennessee Census Records for information about what information was collected during each census.

The Library and Archives has published census indexes for many of the census years: some of the indexes cover the entire state, while others cover specific counties. Please visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives about the availability of these indexes and what information they contain.

The Library and Archives will, for a fee, make a photocopy of a specified surname from a census index, or make a photocopy of a specified Tennessee census record. Please go to Ordering Census Indexes or Ordering Census Records for instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE can view scanned copies of Tennessee census records by first going to the Tennessee Electronic Library, clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on ProQuest's HeritageQuest Online.


The records at the Tennessee State Library and Archives are open to the public. You are welcome to come in 8:00am - 4:30pm Central Time Tuesday through Saturday to search the census records yourself & make your own copies for research. Please see the Tennessee State Library and Archives Visitors Page for information on directions, parking, and holiday hours.

Please note: Archival materials are available for retrieval between the hours of 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. If you know you will need materials between 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, please call ahead to the Public Services section at 615-741-2764 or visit the Ask Us a Question! web page. We will do our best to accommodate your request.