Difference between revisions of "Lake County, Tennessee Genealogy"

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*'''1874 - 1955''' - {{RecordSearch|1681020|Tennessee Deaths and Burials 1874-1955}} at [https://www.familysearch.org/search/ FamilySearch.org] — index
*'''1874 - 1955''' - {{RecordSearch|1681020|Tennessee Deaths and Burials 1874-1955}} at [https://www.familysearch.org/search/ FamilySearch.org] — index
*'''1908-1933''' [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10076/tennessee-deaths-1908-1933?s=275764761 Tennessee Deaths, 1908 - 1933] at MyHeritage ($) — index
*'''1908 - 1958''' - [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2376 Tennessee Death Records 1908 - 1958] at [http://home.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com] — index and images $
*'''1908 - 1958''' - [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2376 Tennessee Death Records 1908 - 1958] at [http://home.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com] — index and images $

Latest revision as of 12:17, 25 June 2020

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

Lake County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Lake County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Lake County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: June 24, 1870
County Seat Tiptonville
Website: www.courtreference.com/lake-County-Tennessee-Courts.htm
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Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Reelfoot Lake. The County is located in the northwest area of the state. [1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1914 1883 1914 1870 1870 1870 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

County Courthouse [edit | edit source]


Lake County, Tennessee Courthouse.JPG

Lake County Courthouse, Tiptonville, Tenn.]]
Lake County Courthouse
229 Church Street
Tiptonville,TN 38079-1162
Phone: 1-731-253-8926

County Clerk has probate records from 1870 and marriage records from 1883. Clerk Chancery and Circuit Court have divorce records.
Registrar and Tax Assessor have land records. [3]

Some county records are located at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where they are among the manuscript holdings. These include: Tiptonville city record book 1900-1926 (MS 61); Lake County licenses, registers, and misc records 1896-1920 (MS 62); Lake County tax record ledgers 1875-1915 (MS 63).

Genealogy mail requests are forwarded to the County Historian

Mon., Wed. and Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Thurs. 8 a.m.-Noon

History[edit | edit source]

Reelfoot Lake, Lake and Obion Counties, Tenn.


West Tennessee county. Established 1870.

The county is named after Reelfoot Lake.[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1870--Lake County was created 24 June 1870 from Obion County. 
County seat: Tiptonville [5]

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

County boundaries have not changed since its creation.

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

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

  • Lost marriage records: 1870 to 1883

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:[8]

Unincorporated communities
  • Bessie
  • Blue Bank
  • Cates
  • Cottonwood Grove
  • Keefe
  • Lake Drive
  • Madie
  • Mooring
  • Owl City

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Lake County Historian Website Family History Library Findagrave.com
TNGenWeb WorldCat 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.
1870 2,428
1880 3,968 63.4%
1890 5,304 33.7%
1900 7,368 38.9%
1910 8,704 18.1%
1920 9,075 4.3%
1930 10,486 15.5%
1940 11,235 7.1%
1950 11,655 3.7%
1960 9,572 −17.9%
1970 7,896 −17.5%
1980 7,455 −5.6%
1990 7,129 −4.4%
2000 7,954 11.6%
2010 7,832 −1.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Lake 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.

1810 - 1891

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census Lake County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : Byron Sistler and Associates, 2002 FHL US/CAN book 976.812 X2

1890 Lost

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. 3 1891. Lake County is included in Vol. 3.
  • 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

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)


  • TNGenWeb has histories of several families. Scroll down to "Families."
  • Lake County Historical Society. History and Families Lake County, Tennessee: 1870-1992. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co., 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.812 H2h.


Land[edit | edit source]

  • Lake County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1870 and is located at Courthouse, 116 S. Court, Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079; Telephone: (731) 253-7582. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries
  • The Family History Library has microfilmed copies on deeds 1870-1914 with indexes 1870-1969; and land entry books 1893-1929.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Fulton CountyNew Madrid CountyPemiscot CountyObion CountyDyer CountyTN LAKE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

War of 1812[edit | edit source]

There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Lake County on 2 January 1883.[9] [10]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Lake 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 Lake County:

Confederate Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Lake County:

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 Lake County click on the following 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 Genealogical.com. Includes Lake 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:

Family Findings
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Lake 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. Volume 2, No. 4 (Oct. 1970) was a special issue devoted to Lake County records in honor of its centennial anniversary.
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

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The County Court has responsibility for the probate records of Lake 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, 1871-1943
  • Bonds, Letters, 1896-1940 (2 vols.)
  • Settlements, 1872-1916

Taxation[edit | edit source]

The original Lake County Tax Books 1878-1879 are kept at the County Courthouse. In 1976, TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copy: FHL US/CAN Film 1007798 Item 2.

The following Lake County tax records have been abstracted:[11]

  • 1891 - Moore, Leslie. "Lake County, Tennessee 1891 Voter's List," Districts 1-4 available online, courtesy TNGenWeb. Scroll down to "Census and Voter's Lists"

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 Lake County during the first few years of its existence. In 1838, a law was passed mandating the practice.[12] The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

The following Lake County Courthouse marriage records have been indexed:

  • 1883 - 1953 - Lake County, Tennessee County Court Clerk Marriage bonds (Lake County, Tennessee), 1883-1953 Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1976-1988. FHL US/CAN Film 1007781-83 and 1928747
Death[edit | edit source]

For deaths of Methodists in Lake County (or what became Lake 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

Lake County Historical Society
405 Moss Street
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Randall Brown, Lake County Historian

655 Lake Drive

Tiptonville, TN 38079

Email: [1]

Ridgely Public Library
134 N Main St.
Ridgley, TN 38080
Phone: 1-731-264-5809
E-mail: ridgelylibrary58@bellsouth.net
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 1-5 p.m.

Tiptonville Public Library
126 Tipton St.
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Phone: 1-731-253-7391
E-mail: tipvle@bellsouthnet
Hours:  Mon - Fri 12:30 - 5 pm

West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Phone: 1-731-881-7094
E-mail: speccoll@utm.edu
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
E-mail: efrank@memphis.edu

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: Lake County, Tennessee

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Lake, Tennessee" in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_County,_Tennessee accessed 24 Dec 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lake 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), Lake 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 Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  7. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Lake County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_County,_Tennessee, accessed 30 November 2019.
  9. Heritage Preservation Services, War of 1812 There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Lake County on 2 January 1883.
  10. Hermione D. Embry, "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Oct. 1960):90-93. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 7 (1960); digital version at journal website. [Discussion of Lake County on page 92.]
  11. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  12. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL 973 B2ng v. 81
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/8/88/Igitennesseel.pdf.