The Tennessee State Library and Archives has copies of the early marriage records that are on file at the county where the marriage took place. In many cases, the official marriage record will consist of an entry made into a marriage ledger book by the county court clerk. This record will list only the names of the bride & groom, minister or justice of the peace, and (sometimes) the bondsman. From the 1880s through the 1920s, some counties kept duplicate copies of the marriage license that was given to the bride & groom.
A list of extant Tennessee marriages before 1861 has been published. Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to send a message with the name of the groom and/or bride, and the county (if known). Please send only one e-mail search request at a time for a single marriage. We will check the index by e-mail at no charge, and notify you if a listing for the marriage is found. The Library and Archives will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.
Microfilm copies of pre-1861 marriage records are also available free on interlibrary loan. For more information, visit our web site for a list of county records that can be loaned to other libraries. You may wish to check the Index to County Microfilm Reels or the Genealogical Fact Sheets About Tennessee Counties to see what marriage records we have available for a specific county.
Marriages 1861 - June 30, 1945 can be found in the records of each county. There is no state-wide index to marriages during this time period. We can search for a marriage record if given the names of the groom and bride, county of marriage, and the date of the marriage or a 5-year date span. If the marriage occurred in one of the four metropolitan counties (Davidson County, Hamilton County, Knox County and Shelby County), a 3-year date span must be specified. Please go to Ordering Marriage Records for instructions on ordering a search for a marriage record. PLEASE NOTE that the Library and Archives does not have Davidson County marriage records for May 1941 - June 1945. These records are available through the Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County.
For the time period from July 1, 1945 - December 31, 1970, there is a year-by-year statewide index to Tennessee marriage records. The index is arranged by the name of the groom. A request for a marriage record search for the time period July 1, 1945 - December 31, 1970 must include the name of the groom. The Library and Archives will search a five year range in this index. The search request requires the name of the groom and the date of the marriage (or we will search a five year range 1945-1970); the name of the bride & the county of marriage are not required, but should be included if known. Please go to Ordering Marriage Records for instructions on ordering a search for a marriage record.
Marriage records for 1971 to the present are held by the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.
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 marriage 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.
- Genealogical Fact Sheets About Tennessee Counties
- Ordering Marriage Records
- Index to County Microfilm Reels at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Office of Vital Records, Tennessee Department of Health