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 are tax lists for scattered dates for most Tennessee counties. Most tax lists are available on microfilm. A list of early Tennessee tax records at the Tennessee State Library and Archives can be found on our web site. Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives to inquire what tax lists are available for a particular county.
Most tax lists are not indexed. We cannot search an unindexed tax list for a name. Some early tax lists have been published in book form. If the tax list you want checked has been published, we will search for the name of one specified individual. Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives with the name of the individual, the county, and the year of the tax list. 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 Tennessee tax records for the years 1783 - 1895. 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, clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the tax 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.
Tennessee Taxation Information and Chart, 1796-1899
This guide provides a listing of the personal property items that were taxed on Tennesseans during the nineteenth century. The information was gathered from researching the volumes of the Acts of Tennessee that are housed in the Legislative History section of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The guide provides a listing of the items that were taxed, the date that the tax on the item began, and some notations of changes in the tax fees. The tax listings have been put in two types of charts. The first chart offers a chronological listing on the taxation of items, while the second chart provides a listing by item type. This guide should be a helpful resource for genealogists and historical researchers who visit the Library and Archives and want to use the tax lists that are available on microfilm.
Read Taxation in Tennessee: 1796 - 1899
- Chancery - Records of the Chancery Court are available for each county, for varying dates after 1836. They contain records of equity cases, some divorces, estate disputes and other private suits. These records generally have a partial index.
- Circuit - Records of the Circuit Court are available for each county, for varying years after 1809. They contain records of criminal law suits, some divorces, debt cases, and offences against the public.
- County - Records of the County or Quarterly Court are available for each county, for varying years. These records are often not indexed. We can search only those which are indexed, and clients should understand that the indexes may be incomplete. County Court minutes contain information about estates, guardianships, small court cases and routine county business matters.
Wills after 1861 are found in the microfilmed county records; there is no published index to wills in Tennessee dated after 1861. There is a fee to search for a will or probate record on microfilm. The Library and Archives will search a five year range in ONE specified county for a probate record. If the record is found, we will mail a copy to you. This fee covers the cost of copying up to twenty pages. If the record is not found, you will be notified by mail. The fee is not refundable.
1779 - 1861
A list of extant (in existence) wills in Tennessee for the years 1779-1861 has been published. Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives with the name of the individual, the approximate year of the will and (if known) the county where the will was probated. Please send only one e-mail search request at a time for a single probate record search. We will check the 1779-1861 index and send a reply by e-mail at no charge notifying you if a listing for the probate 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.
Microfilm copies of pre-1861
Microfilm copies of pre-1861 probate records are also available free on interlibrary loan.