Ordering Birth Records and Delayed Birth Certificates

BIRTH  CERTIFICATES

Tennessee began keeping birth records statewide in 1908. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has statewide birth records for the years 1908-1912 and 1914-1917. To find a birth record, we need the following information: name of child, date of birth or approximate date of birth, county of birth (if known) and names of parents (if known).

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). Only the early Nashville birth records are indexed.

  The Library and Archives can search the unindexed records for one year only; you must provide us with the name of child, date of birth, the city, and name of parents (if known).  The Library and Archives has copies of the city birth records for Memphis for 1874-1883; early Memphis birth records for 1884-1907 are held by the Shelby County Archives.

The Metro Archives of Nashville and Davidson County has posted an online index to Nashville city birth records for 1881 - 1913.

An online index to Shelby County birth records for the years 1874-1906 is available on the web site of the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 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 (TEL), clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the city 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. 

 

 

"DELAYED"  BIRTH  CERTIFICATES

The Library and Archives also has "delayed" birth certificates for persons born 1869 - 1917. These delayed certificates were filed at the request of the individual or that person's representative for legal reasons. To locate a delayed birth certificate, we need the following information: name of child, date of birth or approximate date of birth, county of birth (if known) and names of parents (if known). Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives and we can check our index to the "delayed" birth records for a specified name.  Please specify that you are requesting a "delayed" birth certificate. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 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 (TEL), 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. 

For birth records 1918  -present or for "delayed" birth certificates filed for persons born 1918 - present, contact the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records

 

ORDERING INFORMATION AND FEES:

  • There is a $10 fee to search for a birth record.  RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE (with a current Tennessee postal address) pay a $5 fee to search for a birth record. If the record is found, we will mail or e-mail a copy to you. If the record is not found, you will be notified by mail. The fee is not refundable. Payment in advance by check, money order or credit card is required. Send your request to Tennessee State Library and Archives, Research Department, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville TN 37243-0312.  [GO TO FORM SS-2237 -- Microfilm Copy Order]
  • Please submit each search request on a separate form. Orders will be filled promptly and in the order that they are received. Most requests are answered within two weeks of the time they are received by the Library and Archives; however, response times may vary depending on the volume and nature of your request.
  • The Library and Archives can, for an additional $5.00 fee, certify a document in our collection.
  • Some printed indexes and microfilmed records are available for delivery via e-mail through Tennessee State Library and Archives E-Docs

 

 

ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF DOCUMENTS [Tennessee State Library and Archives E-Docs]

Some printed indexes and microfilmed records may be available for delivery through our e-mail service.  Requests to be delivered by e-mail, however, must be submitted in the same manner as our Services by Mail requests:  payment in advance by check, money order or credit card is required.  Send your request to Tennessee State Library and Archives, Research Department,  403  Seventh Avenue North,  Nashville TN  37243-0312.  If you request electronic delivery of a document, you must check the e-mail box under "Delivery Instructions". If no boxes are marked, or if more than one box is marked, the record will be photocopied and sent via US Mail.

  • Records available through this service are scanned and saved as a .pdf file.  Documents can only be saved as .pdfs.  Patrons can download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the files.
  • Records sent via e-mail service cannot be certified.
  • The Library and Archives will e-mail the record to one e-mail address.
  • If the file size exceeds 10 pages or 15 megabytes, the .pdf file will be placed on a CD and mailed.
  • If it is not feasible to scan the record you are requesting, a print copy will be mailed to you.
  • Due to space limitations, digital copies of records will be maintained on the Library and Archives' server for 30 days.  After 30 days, the digital copies of the records will be deleted from the server.  Once the digital copies of the records have been deleted, they will not be available for e-mail delivery unless another request, along with the required fee, is submitted.

Digital copies of records will be sent from the e-mail address reference.tsla@tn.gov.

 

CERTIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS

There are situations where a court, insurance company, Social Security Office, nursing home, or genealogical society may require an individual to submit a certified copy of a document. When the Tennessee State Library and Archives certifies a document, the photocopy is marked with a stamp avowing that it is a true and exact copy of a document held at the Library and Archives. The document is signed and dated by a designated Library and Archives staff member, and an embossed seal is placed over the signature and date.

  • If needed, the Library and Archives can certify a copy of a record held in our collection.  There is a fee of $5.00 to certify one copy of the document, in addition to the initial search fee. If you wish for more than one copy of a record to be certified, each additional certification is $5.00.
  • If you think certification may be needed, please indicate this when the initial copy order is placed, as we cannot certify after-the-fact any copies that have left our facility.  We cannot certify copies of items that we have not copied ourselves.  If you decide at a later date that you need items certified that you have already received, we will have to charge you for the order a second time and re-copy all the materials.
  • The Library and Archives cannot certify electronic copies (scans) of documents.
  • If you pay in advance for a record search and certification and the record is not located, neither the search fee nor the certification fee are refundable.  For this reason, when searching for a record that you wish to have certified, the Library and Archives suggests that you use our downloadable form and pay by credit card.  If you pay by credit card and a record is not located, then you will not be charged the additional $5.00 certification fee.

 

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