Ordering Deeds


To search for a deed, you will need to provide us with the name of the individual to be searched, the county and a 5-year date span. When a deed search is requested, we follow these procedures:

We locate the cumulative index (if available), usually in a book separate from the deed books. If there is no cumulative index, we use the index appearing in each volume of deeds.

We check to see if the index indicates the date of the deed. If it does, we search the portion of the index covering the dates requested for the name requested.

If the dates are not shown in the index entries, we determine which deeds books were in use during the dates requested in the search. For example: if the request is for a deed dated 1860-1865, and we find that Deed Book C covered 1856-1861 and Deed Book D covered 1861-1866, we would search that portion of the index that includes entries for Deed Books C and D.

Within the time period requested, we look for deeds matching the name of the person requested. Both grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer) indexes are searched. Deed indexes are not always completely alphabetized, but only grouped under each letter of the alphabet. For example: to locate deeds for Jasper Bates, we scan the entire letter "B" in the index.

If an entry matching the request is found, we copy the deed and mail it to the client.

If more than one matching entry is found, we copy the index pages containing them and mail them to the client, with instructions to select one to be copied at the standard fee.

If no related entry is found, we advise the client that the index was searched, indicating the dates covered by the search.


Deeds are not always recorded in the year they are written, so a deed written in 1865 but not recorded until 1875 will not be located using this search strategy. We have no way of ascertaining whether a deed was recorded when it was written.

Name of grantor is not always the expected name; some properties are sold by power of attorney, sheriff or court clerk to satisfy a legal judgment, so the deed would be indexed under the name of that person.


For more information on deeds, visit our web site for a list of county records that can be loaned to other libraries.



  • There is a $10 fee to search a five year date span in one specified county for a deed.  RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE (with a current Tennessee postal address) pay a $5 fee to search  a five year date span in one specified county for a deed. If the record is found, a copy will be mailed or e-mailed to you. This fee covers the cost of copying up to 20 pages; each additional copy beyond the initial 20 copies is 50¢. 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, 1001 Rep John Lewis Way N, Nashville, TN 37219.  [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,  1001 Rep John Lewis Way N, Nashville, TN 37219.  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 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 ask@tsla.libanswers.com .





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.