How Do I Find Death Certificates?

STATE DEATH CERTIFICATES

Tennessee began keeping death records state-wide in 1908.  The Tennessee State Library and Archives has state-wide death records for the years 1908-1912 and 1914-1967. Instructions & forms for ordering a search of these death records can be found in Ordering Death Records.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of Tennessee death certificates for the years 1908-1958.  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, 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. 

The following indexes are available on the Library and Archives web site: Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912; and Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914-1933.

An online index to Shelby County death records for the years 1848-1956 and a state-wide index to Tennessee death records for the years 1949-2014 is available on the web site of the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

State-wide death records for the years 1968 - 2018 are held by the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.

 

CITY DEATH RECORDS

The four larger cities in Tennessee -- Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis -- did keep earlier death records for their specific communities. In most cases, the records cover the cities themselves and do not include suburbs or other communities in the county. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has copies of the early city death records for Nashville (1874-1907), Knoxville (1881-1907), Chattanooga (1872-1907), and Memphis (1848-1907). (The Shelby County Register of Deeds has posted an online index to Shelby County death records for the years 1848-1964.) Instructions & forms for ordering a search of these death records can be found in Genealogical Services Available by Mail - State Records.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 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, 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. 

Davidson County (as distinct from Nashville) began keeping their own death records in 1900 and continued to do so through 1913. An index to Davidson County Death Records 1900-1913 is available on the Library and Archives web site.

An online index to Shelby County death records for the years 1848-1964 is available on the web site of the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

 

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 court 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.

 

LINKS

 

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