Tennessee Research Guide


Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, and Death Records)


Shelby County:

              Shelby County Register of Deeds: https://register.shelby.tn.us/


Birth Records (1874-1912 )


Death Records (1848-1961 )


Marriage Indexes/Images (1920-1989 )
Marriage Records (1820-1970 )


Chancery Court Divorce Index (1945-1997 )
Circuit Court Indexes (1893-2000 )


Probate Court Loose Paper Index (1820-1900 )
Probate Court Will Book Indexes (1830 - 1980 )


Memphis City Directories (1849-1943 )
Memphis Police Blotter (1858-1860 )
Naturalization Records (1856-1906 )

              NewsBank – Memphis Commercial Appeal ( 1990 to present)



Shelby County Register of Deeds: https://register.shelby.tn.us/

Death Records Index


Divorce Records Index


Marriage Records Index



Physical records can be obtained from :

·        Tennessee State Department of Health  ( Application forms are available for download at the website.) (Include copy of your photo ID of with request)

Tennessee Vital Records

421 5th Avenue North

1st floor, Central Services Building

Nashville, TN 37243

Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Central Time (excluding holidays)


o    Always request the long form of any certificate.





o   For marriages, divorces, and annulments, only records for the past 50 years are filed here.  For all others contact the clerk of court in the county.

·        Tennessee State Library and Archives https://sos.tn.gov/tsla 

TSLA is now open to the public by appointment only

Patrons are encouraged to continue to use TSLA's services remotely

To make an appointment or to request remote assistance, call 615-741-2764,

email ask@tsla.libanswers.com or chat with a librarian

o   Birth and Death Records -- The state library has made both the index and certificates images available at:

§  Tennessee State Library Death Index (1908-1912) https://sos.tn.gov/products/tsla/death-records

§  Tennessee Electronic Library (Tennessee Residents only) https://tntel.info/

§  Ancestry.com https://www.ancestry.com/collections/search/tn/tsla

403 7th Avenue North,

Nashville, TN


Phone: 615.741.2764

Fax: 615.532.2472

Email reference.tsla@tn.gov

Library Reading Room, the Microfilm Reading Room and Manuscripts are open Tuesday through Saturday 8:00am - 4:30pm (Central Time).

Legislative History is open Tuesday through Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm (Central Time).

Digital Collections

Various digital records (photograph collections, maps, documents, etc.) are available:

University of Memphis – Special Collections https://www.memphis.edu/libraries/special-collections/

Includes (partial list):

Photographs of the Robert R. Church Family of Memphis

National African American Photographic Archive (NAAPA)

Tennessee State University Library Digital Collections   http://www.tnstate.edu/library/special_collection/index.aspx

Includes (partial list): HBCU Library Alliance Digital Collection

Tennessee State Library and Archives Digital Collections https://sos.tn.gov/tsla/online-resources

Includes (partial list):

Tennessee Documents & Images

Civil War Resources

Historical Newspapers                                                                                           


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