Tennessee County and City Deaths - FamilySearch Historical Records

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Tennessee, 
United States
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Flag of Tennessee
US Locator Tennessee.png
Location of Tennessee
Record Description
Record Type Deaths
Collection years 1881-1995
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What Is in the Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains death records that were created between 1881 and 1955.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Sex
  • Color or race
  • Age
  • Usual residence of the deceased
  • Length of residence
  • Marital status
  • Place of death
  • Hospital where died
  • Cause of death
  • Place of birth
  • Date of birth
  • Name of the father
  • Birthplace of the father (state or country)
  • Maiden name of the mother
  • Birthplace of the mother (state or country)
  • Occupation
  • Military service
  • Name of the physician last in attendance
  • Place of burial
  • Date of burial
  • Name of the informant

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Most counties in Tennessee kept birth and death records beginning in 1908. These records were kept by the county clerks in each county and then sent to the State Board of Health. However, many deaths were not registered. There are no statewide birth or death records for 1913 because the law requiring registration expired in that year. On January 1, 1914, a new law requiring deaths to be registered was passed.

Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis kept birth and death records prior to 1908. Some counties kept records as early as 1881. State registration requirements were not comprehensively complied with until about 1927

How Do I Search the Collection?[edit | edit source]

To search the collection it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of death
  • The residence of your ancestor
  • The names of other family members and their relationships

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

You will be able to search this collection when it is published.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the death date or age along with the place of death to find or verify their birth records and parents' names
  • Use the death date or age along with the place of death to find the family in census records
  • Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records
  • The name of the informant may be a relative. This can be helpful in identifying your ancestor
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Tennessee.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information.  

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.