Perry County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Perry County, Tennessee ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Guide to Perry County (established 1818) 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.

Perry County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Perry County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Perry County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: November 14, 1818
County Seat Linden
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Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the War of 1812 naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry. The County is located in the west central area of the state. [1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1908 1865 1881 1826 1820 1863 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]



Perry County Courthouse, Linden, Tenn. Courtesy: Collection: County Court Houses, Flickr by Jimmy Emerson. Used by permission.


Perry County Courthouse
121 East Main Street P O Box 16.
Linden, TN 37096
Phone: 1-931-589-2216  - 2219

County Clerk has birth records 1908-1912 and1925-1939 and marriage records from 1899.
Register of Deeds has land records. [3]

Perry County Clerk
Marriage records
Birth records 1908-1912 and 1925-1939
P.O. Box 58
Main St.
Linden, TN 37096
Phone: 1-931-589-2219

Perry County Register of Deeds
Land records
P.O. Box 625865
Highway 412 West
Linden, TN 37096
Phone: 1-931-589-2217

Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m.-Noon
Closed Wednesday

History[edit | edit source]

U.S. Naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry 1785-1819

Middle Tennessee county. Established 1818.

The county is named after U.S. Naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819).[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1818--Perry County was established 14 November 1818 from Hickman County.
County seat: Linden [5]

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

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

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]


1863 and 1928 Fires damaged courthouse records.[8]

  • Lost marriage records: 1819 to 1864
  • Lost probate records: 1819 to 1862

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
  • Crooked Creek
  • DePriest Bend
  • Flat Woods
  • Horner
  • Howard

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 Perry County biography and cemetery 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 Americans[edit | edit source]

United States African Americans
Tennessee African Americans

Census takers found no free African Americans living in Perry County, Tennessee in 1820.[10]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
TNGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
TNGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Tombstone Project Gravestones
TNGenWeb Cemeteries
Billion Graves
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 2,384
1830 7,094 197.6%
1840 7,419 4.6%
1850 5,821 −21.5%
1860 6,042 3.8%
1870 6,925 14.6%
1880 7,174 3.6%
1890 7,785 8.5%
1900 8,800 13.0%
1910 8,815 0.2%
1920 7,765 −11.9%
1930 7,147 −8.0%
1940 7,535 5.4%
1950 6,462 −14.2%
1960 5,273 −18.4%
1970 5,238 −0.7%
1980 6,111 16.7%
1990 6,612 8.2%
2000 7,631 15.4%
2010 7,915 3.7%
Source: "".

1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Perry 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 Perry County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®.

1810 - 1891


  • Bentley, Elizabeth P. Index to the 1820 Census of Tennessee. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. FHL 976.8 X22b 1820
  • Houston, Martha Lou. 1820 Census of Perry County, Tennessee. Washington, D.C.: s.p., 1900. Free digital book, courtesy: Internet Archive.
  • Presley, Mrs. Leister E. Census, Lawrence, Perry, Shelby Counties, Tennessee, 1820. Searcy, Arkansas: Presley, 198-?. FHL 976.8 X2p 1820

1840 Pensioners


  • Glaser, Linda K.J. 1850 Census for Perry County, Tennessee, Taken by R. M. Thomas, 2 Sept. 1850 to 4 Oct. 1850. Lansdowne, Pennsylvania : L.J.K. Glaser, 1966. FHL 976.838 X2p 1850


  • Malone, Royleta C. and Patricia A. Sherzinger. 1860 Perry County, Tennessee Census : Including Slave Schedule and Mortality Schedule, with Full Name Index. Salt Lake City, Utah : R. C. Malone, 1988. FHL 976.838 X2m 1860


  • Bridges, Alec F. 1870 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee. Gallatin, Tennessee: A.F. Bridges, 1997. FHL 976.838 X29b 1870


  • Sistler, Barbara and Byron Sistler. 1880 Census Perry County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler & Associates, 1999. FHL 976.838 X2s 1880

1890 - Lost, but substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 8 1891. Perry County is included in Vol. 8.
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.

1891 Male Voters



  • Bridges, Alec F. 1910 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee. Gallatin, Tennessee: A.F. Bridges, 1997 . FHL 976.838 X29b 1910


  • Bridges, Alec F. 1920 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee. Gallatin, Tennessee: A.F. Bridges, 1996 . FHL 976.838 X29b 1920

Church[edit | edit source]

Court[edit | edit source]

Family Histories[edit | edit source]

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 Perry, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 39,000 entries.


  • Denton - Whitley, Edythe Johns Rucker. Some of the Descendants of Rev. Richard Denton. McMinnville, TN: Womack Print. Co., 1959. Available at FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D435; digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library, Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • Moffitt - Young, Laurie M. Family Notes on Keith, Lott, Sketoe, Donahoo and Arnold of Muhlenberg: Lear and Sheffield of Christian, Todd and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky; Smith and Beck, Spencer County, Indiana; Moffitt, Randolph County, North Carolina, Perry, Hickman and Humphries Co., Tn. Boise, Idaho: L.M. Young, 1990. FHL 929.273 K269y
  • Norman - Hemphill, Patricia M. Normans of Tennessee and Missouri : their Descendants and Ancestors 1776-1995 : (including Blair, Coffey, Grammer and Leeper.) Decorah, Iowa :Anundsen, 1995. FHL 929.273 N781h
  • Talley - Acker, W.L. The Talley Families of Tennessee and Texas: Descendants of the American Revolutionary Soldier, John Talley, Jr., of Perry County Tennessee. Mesquite, Texas: W.L. Acker, 1998. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 T145aw.
  • White - Sibley, Marilyn McAdams. Hester White McAdams (1818-1849) of Walker County, Texas: and Her Ancestors. Houston, Texas: M.M. Sibley, 1988. FHL 929.273 A1 no. 5508
  • Whitfield - Whitfield, Vallie Jo Fox. Whitfield History and Genealogy of Tennessee. [Walnut Creek, CA: Unknown,, 1964. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 879642 Item 1; digital version available at Heritage Quest Online ($).

Land[edit | edit source]

Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. [11]

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]

Lewis CountyDecatur CountyBenton CountyHumphreys CountyHickman CountyWayne CountyTN PERRY.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

The following Perry County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

Additional resources include:

War of 1812[edit | edit source]
  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Apr. 1961):49-52. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Perry County pensioners (p. 50).
  • Perry County, Tennessee War of 1812 Includes War of 1812 Perry County soldier project and select pension applications. Courtesy: TNGenWeb
Mexican War[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Perry 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 Perry County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Perry County:

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 Perry County click on the following town:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

  • Miller, Alan N. Middle Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1784 to 1902. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2004. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2ma. Purchase at Includes Perry 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 Perry County, Tennessee Genealogy records 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 Book 976.8 B2a.

Family Findings
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Perry 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.

Perry County Quarterly
See Perry County Historical Society website for futher information.
Indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) Volume 1 - 2007 (1995 - 2007)

  • The River Counties: Genealogical articles with abstracts of Perry County, Tennessee Genealogy records were published in The River Counties Quarterly, (14 vols.) edited by Jill K. Garrett. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL Book 976.8 B2rc.

The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Perry County, Tennessee have been published in The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, the quarterly of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society (23+ Vols.). To view a list of these articles, visit their online Index to Articles (1988-2005). Surname indexes are also available online for Vols. 2-22. The website also offers back issues for sale in paper and on CD. The Family History Library has a complete collection of this quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.85 D25m.

Prisons[edit | edit source]

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

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The Perry County Court has responsibility for the probate records.

Online Records

  • Wills, 1863-1959
  • Insolvent estate records, 1883-1936
  • Settlements, 1865-1913

Taxation[edit | edit source]

The following Perry County tax records have been abstracted:[12]

  • 1837 - Tatum, Ausborn C. "Perry County, Tennessee 1837 Tax List," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer 1982):77-81; Vol. 29, No. 3 (Fall 1982):131-132. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 29-30 (1982-1983); free digital version at society's website. For further access, see Periodicals.
  • 1884 - 1885 - Tax Receipts, 1884-85, Perry County Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Sep. 1997).

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]

The original Perry County marriage records are kept at the County Courthouse. Due to fire, marriage records in Perry County before 1865 were destroyed. The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

State Marriage Records

The following Perry County marriage records are microfilmed:

  • 1865 - 1993 - Available at the TSLA.
  • 1865 - 1966 - Available at the Family History Library. Some volumes are indexed.FHL 977659

The following Perry County marriage records have been indexed:

Perry County is not included in Sistler's Early Middle Tennessee Marriages.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Perry 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]

For deaths of Methodists in Perry 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

Perry County, Tennessee Historical Society
c/o Perry County Library
104 College St.
Linden, TN 37096

Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society
PO Box 330948
Nashville, TN, USA 37203-7507
The society serves the 40 counties of middle Tennessee of which Perry County is one. It publishes The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, a quarterly containing articles of genealogical and historical interest. Little-known Tennessee records are published and indexed, along with family genealogies, Bible records and material submitted by members. There is an alphabetical Index to articles in the Journal 1988-summer 2005

Perry County Library
104 College Rd.
Linden, TN 37096
Phone: 1-931-589-5011
Fax: 1-931-589-6210
Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wed. 9 a.m.-noon

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.

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

Websites[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Perry County, Tennessee

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Perry, Tennessee" in,_Tennessee accessed 02 Jan 2019
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Perry 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), Perry County, Tennessee page 642, At various libraries (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), 642. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  6. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  7. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, 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, "Perry County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Tennessee, accessed 8 December 2019.
  10. *Waldrep, G.C. "'Free Colored' Heads of Household in the 1820 Tennessee Census," available online, courtesy: Free African Americans website.
  11. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Meigs County, Tennessee page 642, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  12. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at