Ordering Marriage Records

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.

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 contact the Library and Archives 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. 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.

 

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 Tennessee State 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.

 

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; the bride is listed only by her first name and the first letter of her maiden name.   A request for a marriage record search for the years dates July 1, 1945 - December 31, 1967 must include the name of the groom. The Library and Archives will, for a fee, 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 the five year range 1945-1965); the name of the bride & the county of marriage are not required, but should be included if known.

 

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.

 

ORDERING INFORMATION AND FEES:

  • For a $5 fee, the Library and Archives can photocopy and mail or e-mail the listings for one specified family name from the index to pre-1861 marriages. 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, Public Services, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville TN 37243-0312.  [GO TO FORM SS-2235 -- Printed Index Search Request]
  • 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.

 

  • There is a $10 fee to search for a marriage record. RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE (with a current Tennessee postal address) pay a $5 fee search for a marriage 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, Public Services, 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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