Meigs County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Guide to Meigs County, Tennessee ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Decatur
Organized: January 20, 1836
Parent County(s): Cherokee Indian Lands[1]
Neighboring Counties
Bradley  • Hamilton  • McMinn  • Rhea  • Roane
See County Maps
Meigs County Tennessee courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Location of Meigs County, Tennessee.PNG
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Colonel Return J. Meigs, who was to become the county's name source, operated a federal Indian agency across the river in Rhea County until 1817. The County is located in the southeast area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Meigs County Courthouse
Main Street P O Box 218
Decatur, TN 37322
County Courthouse Phone: 423-334-5747

Meigs County Clerk
17214 State Highway 58 N.
Decatur, TN 37322
County Clerk Phone: 423-334-5747
County Circuit Court Clerk Phone: 423-334-5821

Meigs County Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 246
Decatur, TN 37322
County Register of Deeds Phone: 423-334-5228

County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1836.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [3]

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

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Marriage Court Land Probate Census
1909 1836 1909 1836 1835 1836 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1904 and 1964 Fires damaged courthouse records.[5]

  • Lack of marriage records: 1836 and 1837
  • Lost deeds: 1836 to 1878

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1836--Meigs County was established 20 January 1836 from Cherokee Indian Lands.
  • County seat: Decatur[6]

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

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:[7]

Unincorporated communities

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information
East Tennessee county. Established 1836.

The county is named after Revolutionary War hero and Indian Agent Return Jonathan Meigs (1740-1823).[8]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

  • Miller, Alan N. East Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1778 to 1911. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2m. Digital version at World Vital Records ($). Purchase at Includes Meigs County.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Meigs County, Tennessee online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.


Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 4,794
1850 4,879 1.8%
1860 4,667 −4.3%
1870 4,511 −3.3%
1880 7,117 57.8%
1890 6,930 −2.6%
1900 7,491 8.1%
1910 6,131 −18.2%
1920 6,077 −0.9%
1930 6,127 0.8%
1940 6,393 4.3%
1950 6,080 −4.9%
1960 5,160 −15.1%
1970 5,219 1.1%
1980 7,431 42.4%
1990 8,033 8.1%
2000 11,086 38.0%
2010 11,753 6.0%
Source: "".

1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Meigs 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 Meigs, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®.



1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners


  • Broyles, Bettye J. A Compendium of Rhea and Meigs Counties, Tennessee, 1808 through 1850. 1980. FHL US/CAN Book 976.883 V2b.
  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. Includes 1850 census.
  • Maddux, Agnes. Tennessee Population Schedule of the United States Census of 1850, Meigs County. n.p.: n.p., n.d. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2p 1850.


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. Includes 1860 census.


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. Includes 1870 census.


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. Includes 1880 census.
  • Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census, Meigs County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler & Associates, 1991. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2s 1880.

1891 Male Voters


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. Includes 1900 census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

  • Rhea county Historical and Genealogical Society (Spring City, Tennessee) and Bettye J. Broyles Meigs County, Tennessee County Court minute book 1, 1836-1841; town of Decatur commission minutes, 1836-1840; Trustees book of claims, 1836- 1845; Strays taken up by ranger, 1836-1845; Decatur, Tennessee: Rhea County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1992. FHL US/CAN book 976.8836 P28Free lookups available!

Law and Legislation

  • 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.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Meigs, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 10,000 entries.


  • Blackwell - Saylor, Ronald. The Blackwell Researcher's Newsletter. Grass Valley, Calif.: J. Saylor, 1998-. FHL 929.27305 B568b.
  • Carter - Ross, Ernest Lafayette and William C. Carter. John Andrew Hickman, John Carter, Lewis Carter: Some Ancestors and Descendents. Cleveland, Tenn.: E.L. Ross & W.C. Carter, 1979. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 C245r.
  • Lillard - Lillard, Jasper Worth. The Lillard Collection. MSS. FHL US/CAN Film 570830-570832.
  • Qualls - Curtis, John T. and Grace Curtis. Qualls Cousins: Families and Descendants of Nathan Qualls Sr. of Meigs County, Tn. Tularosa, N.M.: J. Curtis, 1992. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Q25c.
  • Rhinehart - Ferris, Dixie Rhinehart Calder. Caswell Rhinehart Family Journal, 1844 to 1997. Cary, N.C.: D.R.C. Ferris, 1997. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 R345f.
  • Rothwell - Fischer, Myra Smith. A Rothwell Book: Comprising the Descendants of Claiborne Rothwell of Albemarle County, Virginia, through Nine Generations and Interesting Sketches About Some of His Descendants. Memphis, Tennessee: M.S. Fischer, 1964. Available at FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 R746f; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • Tillery - Taylor, Patty Hughes. Discovering Our Tillery Family -- Yesterday and Today: Descendants of Samuel Thomas Tillery. Atkins, Ark.: P.H. Taylor, 2001. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 T463tp.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

The original Meigs County Deed Books did not survive before 1879. TSLA microfilmed Deed Books A to 3 (1879-1964). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 455527-455541. The following records serve as substitutes and may help to alleviate some of the record loss:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Roane CountyMcMinn CountyBradley CountyHamilton CountyRhea CountyTN MEIGS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

  • Vincent, Don. 800 Missouri Families. 5 vols. Seattle, Wash.: n.p., 1988-1990. FHL US/CAN Book 977.8 D2v ff. Discusses Missouri families with Meigs County origins.

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan. 1961):20-23. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Meigs County pensioners (p. 23).

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Meigs County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (part of a large regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Meigs County:

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Meigs County:

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at 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 Meigs County click on the following town:
  • 1794-1851 - Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL 976.8 V2L.
  • 1847 - 1851 - Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, the Nashville Christian Advocate. [1847-1914] 10 vols. [Jackson, Tenn.]: J.K.T. Smith, 1997-2003. FHL US/CAN Books 976.855/N1 V48s 1847-1851 ff; digital versions at David Donahue Memorial: Tennessee Records Repository. Website expands upon the publications and includes deaths from the 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s. (Largely Methodist?)

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Prisons[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Genealogical periodicals can contain unique sources and can be local, regional, or statewide. The following periodicals cover this county:

A genealogical article with abstracts of Meigs County, Tennessee records has been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to this publication's articles is available online. Surname indexes to Volumes 9 and 10 are also available online. The Family History Library has collected most issues of East Tennessee Roots FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 D25e.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The original Meigs County Will Books are kept at the County Courthouse. In 1964, TSLA microfilmed Wills, Inventories, and Settlements for the years 1836-1964. FHL copies: FHL Films 455524-455526.

Online Records and Indexes

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1836-1861 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. Free Lookups Available!

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

The original Meigs County Tax Books (1839-1863, 1872-1883, 1940-1964) are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed these records in 1964. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 455551-455556.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online indexes and Records

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1838-1870 - 35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records and Bonds 1783-1870. 3 vols. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2t v. 1 ff. Includes names of brides, grooms, bondsmen, marriage bond dates, and officiators for this county for specified years.
  • 1838-1867 - Early Middle Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 2 ff. Indexes of brides, grooms, and marriage dates for this county for specified years. Free Lookups Available!

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Online Titles

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FamilySearch Books Online

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Meigs County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • 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 Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Meigs County. For state-wide library facilities, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Meigs-Decatur Public Library
120 Memorial Drive
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 423-334-3332

Museums[edit | edit source]

Meigs County Historical Museum and Society
200 Smith Ave.
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 423-334-4424

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Meigs County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Tennessee Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Meigs, Tennessee" in,_Tennessee accessed 27 Dec 2018
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 13 March 2016).
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Meigs County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Tennessee#Communities, accessed 4 December 2019.
  8. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at