Marriage Records at the Tennessee State Library and Archives

Early Marriages in Tennessee (Prior to 1861)

Tennessee counties were not required to record marriages in bound record books until 1838. While not required to do so, many counties in Tennessee did record their early marriages. The early marriages were recorded in ledgers by the County Court Clerk. The clerk usually recorded only the names of the bride and groom, the minister or justice of the peace and (sometimes) the bondsman.  (*See note below)

A list of extant (in existence) marriage records in Tennessee for the years 1780-1861 has been published. You may visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to send us an e-mail with the name of the bride or groom, the approximate year of the marriage and (if known) the county where the marriage took place. Please send only one e-mail search request at a time for a single marriage record search. We will check the index and send a reply by e-mail at no charge notifying you if a listing for the marriage record is found.

Please see the page Ordering Marriage Records for ordering a search of a Tennessee marriage record. 

 

Tennessee Marriage Records 1861 - June 30, 1945

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 the microfilmed county records 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), then a 3-year date span must be specified. 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.

Many marriages from this time period were recorded in ledgers by the County Court Clerk. The clerk usually recorded only the names of the bride and groom, the minister or justice of the peace and (sometimes) the bondsman.  (*See note below)

Please see the page Ordering Marriage Records for ordering a search of a Tennessee marriage record. 

 

Tennessee Marriage Records July 1, 1945 - December 31, 1967

For the dates July 1, 1945 - December 31, 1967, there is a year-by-year statewide microfilm index to Tennessee marriage records. The index is arranged by the name of the groom. A request for a marriage record search for this time period must include the name of the groom.

Please see the page Ordering Marriage Records for ordering a search of a Tennessee marriage record. 

 

Tennessee Marriage Records 1968 - Present

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

 

*  PLEASE NOTE : Marriage records in Tennessee have changed during its statehood. In many cases, the marriage license itself was given to the bride and groom. The official marriage record on file in the state will be an entry made into a marriage ledger book by the County Court Clerk. Generally, the clerk recorded only the names of the bride & groom, the minister or justice of the peace, and (sometimes) the bondsman. A limited number of counties began issuing duplicate marriage licenses in the 1880s. The information on marriage records can vary county by county. Some counties began listing the names of the parents of the bride & groom in the 1880s; some counties did not include this information until the mid 1920s. When you request a search for a marriage record from the Library and Archives, we will check to see if there is a marriage license on file. If there is no license on file, then we will send the entry from the county's marriage ledger book if that record is found.

 

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