Lauderdale County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Guide to Lauderdale County, Tennessee ancestry, family history and genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

Lauderdale County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Lauderdale County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Lauderdale County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: November 24, 1835
County Seat Ripley
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Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for James Lauderdale. The County is located in the west central area of the state. [1]

Lauderdale County, Tennessee Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1881 1838 1881 1836 1822 1836 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lauderdale County Courthouse
 County Courthouse;
Ripley, TN 38063
Phone: 731.635.2561 

County Clerk has marriage records from 1838 and probate records.
Clerk Chancery CourtCourt has divorce records.
General Sessions Court has court records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [3]

Lauderdale County Courthouse
100 Court Square
Ripley, TN 38063
Phone: 1-901-635-2561

  • County Clerk has marriage and probate records
    Phone: 1-731-635-2561
  • Circuit Court Clerk has court records
    Phone: 1-731-635-0101
  • Register of Deeds has land records
    Phone: 1-731-635-2171

Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

History[edit | edit source]

West Tennessee county. Established 1835.

The county was named after "James Lauderdale, who was killed in the War of 1812."[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1835--Lauderdale County was created 24 November 1835 from Tipton, Haywood, and Dyer Counties. 
County seat: Ripley [5]

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

  1. Hear it spoken[6] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[7] (female)

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]


1869 Fire damaged courthouse records.[8]

  • Lack of marriage records: 1835 to 1837

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[9]

Unincorporated communities
Historic communities

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Lauderdale County biography, court, and marriage records. To determine which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans

Biographies [edit | edit source]

All of the family biographies from the History of Lauderdale County, Tennessee (1886) by Goodspeed are available free online at My Genealogy Hound.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county WorldCat
TNGenWeb BillionGraves
TNGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Tombstone Project Gravestones
TNGenWeb Cemeteries
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 3,435
1850 5,169 50.5%
1860 7,559 46.2%
1870 10,838 43.4%
1880 14,918 37.6%
1890 18,756 25.7%
1900 21,971 17.1%
1910 21,105 −3.9%
1920 21,494 1.8%
1930 23,406 8.9%
1940 24,461 4.5%
1950 25,047 2.4%
1960 21,844 −12.8%
1970 20,271 −7.2%
1980 24,555 21.1%
1990 23,491 −4.3%
2000 27,101 15.4%
2010 27,815 2.6%
Source: "".

1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Lauderdale County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Lauderdale County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®

1810 - 1891


  • Davis, Bettie B. Lauderdale County, Tennessee, 1840 Census, 1850 Census, and 1850 Mortality Schedule. Memphis, Tenn.: B.B. Davis, 1983. FHL US/CAN book 976.816 X2.

1840 Pensioners


  • Davis, Bettie B. Lauderdale County, Tennessee, 1840 Census, 1850 Census, and 1850 Mortality Schedule. Memphis, Tenn.: B.B. Davis, 1983. FHL US/CAN book 976.816 X2

1850 Mortality Schedule

  • Davis, Bettie B. Lauderdale County, Tennessee, 1840 Census, 1850 Census, and 1850 Mortality Schedule. Memphis, Tenn.: B.B. Davis, 1983. FHL US/CAN book 976.816 X2


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 Census Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler and Associates, 2002. FHL US/CAN book 976.816 X2

1891 Male Voters

Church[edit | edit source]

Court[edit | edit source]

DNA[edit | edit source]

DNA Double Helix.png
DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Lauderdale County residents. Attempts have not been made to verify the lineages of those tested.
  • Brown - Descendant of Matthew Thomas Brown, b. 1831 Ripley, Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Y-DNA 25 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 30372). Genetic signature available online (labeled Group No. 22), genealogical description available online, courtesy: Brown/Browne/Braun DNA Study. Matches have been found.
  • Doss - Descendant of George W. Doss (c1864-c1900) of Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Y-DNA 37 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 88650). Genetic signature available online (labeled Jw-1), genealogical description available online, courtesy: The Doss DNA Project, World Families. Matches have been found.

Family Histories[edit | edit source]

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors)


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Lauderdale, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 15,000 entries.


Land[edit | edit source]

  • Lauderdale County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1835 and is located at the Courthouse, 100 Court Square, Ripley, Tennessee 38063; Telephone: (731) 635-2561.The  Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
  • The Family History Library has microfilmed copiies of deeds 1835-1900; land surveys 1822-1954.

Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. January 25, 2005. In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service. The TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at the TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Dyer CountyCrockett CountyHaywood CountyTipton CountyMississippi CountyTN LAUDERDALE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
War of 1812[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Lauderdale County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment)that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Lauderdale County:

Confederate Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Lauderdale County:

Civil War Battle[edit | edit source]

The following Civil War Battle was fought in Lauderdale County:

Map showing Civil War battles in Tennessee
World War I
[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Lauderdale County click on the following cities and towns:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

  • Miller, Alan N. West Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1821 to 1889. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2man. Purchase at Includes Lauderdale County.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Lauderdale County, Tennessee have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.
Family Findings
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Lauderdale County, Tennessee records have been published in Family Findings, the quarterly of the Mid-West Tennessee Genealogical Society (42+ vols.). The Family History Library has most issues of this quarterly FHL US/CAN 976.8 B2f.
Tables of contents for some volumes are available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb Project:
Many articles from this publication have been reproduced on the TNGenWeb Project website, try this specialized Google search to retrieve them.
West Tennessee Historical Society Papers
Family History Library has Volumes 1 - 16 and 30 FHL US/CAN Book 976.81 B5w.
The West Tennessee Historical Society Papers are indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
To view Table of Contents and complete articles from 1947 - 2005 see Shelby County Register of Deeds

Prisons[edit | edit source]

Learn if your Lauderdale County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The County Court, Chancery Court, and County Clerk have responsibility for the probate records of Lauderdale County.

Online Records

FamilySearch has placed scans of the following records online in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 collection. These are browse-only collections. Handwritten indexes may be found at the front or back of some volumes:

  • Wills, 1837-1904 (Vols. A-F)
  • Administrator records, 1884-1936
  • Bonds, Letters, 1847-1905 (7 vols.)
  • Guardian records, 1846-1857, 1874-1903
  • Insolvent estate records, 1849-1932
  • Inventories, Sales, Wills, 1837-1855 (3 vols.)
  • Minutes, 1836-1856 (Vols. A-C)
  • Settlements, 1871-1902
  • Widow provisions, 1866-1928

The following Lauderdale County probate records have been indexed:

  • 1837-1861 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s. Includes an index to this county's probate records.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Lauderdale County's original Tax Books covering 1852-1856 and 1873 to 1887 are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed these records in 1976. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 1008593-1008594.

The original Lauderdale County Roadwork Excuses and Poll Tax 1882-1927 are kept at the County Courthouse. GSU microfilmed these records in 2008: FHL US/CAN Film 1670142 Item 8.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See also How to order Tennessee Vital Records or order electronically online.

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]

Marriages were not officially recorded in Lauderdale County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice.[13] The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

  • 1851 - 1900 - For free lookups of Lauderdale County, Tennessee marriages 1851-1900 click here.
  • 1780 - 2002 - Many county marriage records are indexed with images at's Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 ($). Be aware that this index is not complete for all counties.

The following Lauderdale County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • 1838 - 1866 - Historical Records Project Marriage records, 1838-1866, Lauderdale, County, Tennessee Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1941. FHL US/CAN Film 24738
  • 1838 - 1867 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early West Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: B. Sistler & Associates, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 1 ff. Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.
  • 1838 - 1867 - Davis, Bettie B. Lauderdale County, Tennessee marriages, 1838-1867 Memphis, Tennessee: B.B. Davis, c1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.816 V2d
  • 1838 - 1962 - Lauderdale County, Tennessee County Court Clerk Marriage records (Lauderdale County, Tennessee), 1838-1962 Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1976-2008. FHL US/CAN Film 1008552-54, 1928748, 1928749-50, 1670147 item 1
  • 1844 - 1860 - Lauderdale County, Tennessee, marriages, 1844-1860 Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, (199-). FHL US/CAN 976.816 V2L
  • 1851 - 1875 - Lauderdale County, Tennessee, marriages, 1851-1875. Part of the TNGenWeb Project
  • 1867 - 1886 - Davis, Bettie B. Lauderdale County, Tennessee, marriages, 1867-1886 Memphis, Tennessee, B.B. Davis, c1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.816 V28d
Divorce[edit | edit source]

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Lauderdale County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, including some separate divorce cases, see the following resources:

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.
Death[edit | edit source]
  • 1823-1852 - Hays, Tony. West Tennessee Death Records (ca. 1823-1852). 2 vols. n.p.: Kitchen Table Press, 1987. FHL FAM HIST Book 976.8 V2ht v. 1-2. Lauderdale County is included in Vol. 2
  • 1872-1923 - Tennessee, City Death Records 1872-1923 at - index and images $

For deaths of Methodists in Lauderdale County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try searching the following records:

Societies and Libraries [edit | edit source]

See also a List of Tennessee Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Forked Deer Regional Library
220 N Front St.
Halls, TN 38040
Phone: 1-731-836-5812
Toll free number: 800-426-6198
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Halls Public Library
110 N Church St.
Halls, TN 38040
Phone: 1-731-836-5302
Mon.-Sat. 12-5 p.m.

Lauderdale County Historical Society
For information write to:
Bettie B. Davis, Newsletter Editor
957 Doctor Hall Rd.
Halls, TN 38040-8727
Phone: 1-901-836-7073

Lauderdale County Library
120 Lafayette St
Ripley, TN 38063
Phone: 1-731-635-1872
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Phone: 1-731-881-7060
Hours vary by semester
The Heritage Study Center holds a variety of genealogical resources including materials relating to the following counties in Tennessee: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, Wayne, Weakley and Carlisle, Fulton, and Hickman counties in Kentucky.
West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
Phone: 1-901-475-6608

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Libraries

[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Lauderdale County, Tennessee

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Lauderdale, Tennessee" in,_Tennessee accessed 24 Dec 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Page 638-645 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 637-640.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lauderdale County, Tennessee page 641, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 641. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  6. Voice of Louise Lynch, Archivist, Williamson County, Tennessee Archives (2010).
  7. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  8. Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 13 March 2016).
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Lauderdale County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 December 2019.
  10. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  12. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  13. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL US/CAN Book 973 B2ng v. 81 (1993)