Lake County, Tennessee Genealogy
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|
Location in the state of Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
|Founded:||June 24, 1870|
- 1 Description
- 2 Lake County, Tennessee Record Dates
- 3 County Courthouse
- 4 History
- 5 Places/Localities
- 6 Resources
- 6.1 Research Guides
- 6.2 African American
- 6.3 Biographies
- 6.4 Cemeteries
- 6.5 Census
- 6.6 Church
- 6.7 Court
- 6.8 Family Histories
- 6.9 Land
- 6.10 Local Histories
- 6.11 Maps
- 6.12 Military
- 6.13 Newspapers
- 6.14 Occupations
- 6.15 Periodicals
- 6.16 Probate Records
- 6.17 Taxation
- 6.18 Vital Records
- 7 Societies and Libraries
- 8 Websites
- 9 References
The County was named for Reelfoot Lake. The County is located in the northwest area of the state. 
Lake County, Tennessee Record DatesEdit
County Courthouse Edit
Lake County Courthouse, Tiptonville, Tenn.]]
Lake County Courthouse
229 Church Street
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. 
- County Clerk has marriage and probate records
- Register of Deeds has land records
- Circuit Court Clerk has court records
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
West Tennessee county. Established 1870.
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.
- Lost marriage records: 1870 to 1883
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
- Burned Counties. By Michael John Neill. Online at: Family History Circle.
- When the Records are Gone. By Arlene Eakle. Online at: Tennessee Genealogy Blog.
- Burned Counties Research in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
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:
- Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties: Lake County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
- Douthat, James L. Lake County, Tennessee Biographies. 1887; reprint, Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free Surname Index and purchase details at Mountain Press website.
- Family Biographies from The History of Lake County, Tennessee (1887) published by Goodspeed are available free on the My Genealogy Hound website.
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Lake County Historian Website||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.|
Additional Cemetery Resources
- Tennessee Cemeteries - Hometown Locator
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
- Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census Lake County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : Byron Sistler and Associates, 2002 FHL US/CAN book 976.812 X2
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
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 Lake, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 2,500 entries.
- 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.
- Shull - Algee, Isabelle Rogers. The Shull Family of Lake County, Tennessee and Allied Families. n.p.: I.R. Algee, 1998. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Sh92ai.
- 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.
- Maps of Tennessee (1777-1985)
- Map of 1888 Lake County, Tennessee with numerous small settlements. (My Genealogy Hound)
War of 1812Edit
- 1861 - 1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861 - 1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861 - 1865 - U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1861 - 1865 - U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1891 - 1965 - Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891-1965 at FamilySearch — images
- Civil War Research Database $
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
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:
- 1st Regiment, Tennessee Heavy Artillery (Jackson's) - CSA
- 15th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry - CSA - Company E.
- 18th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry (Newsom's) - CSA - Company D.
- 33rd Regiment, Tennessee Infantry - CSA - Company G.
Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Lake County:
- CWSAC, Battle Summaries, New Madrid, Island #10. Located: City of New Madrid, Missouri; Lake County, Tennessee.
- Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications: Lake County. Includes soldier's name, county, pension #, unit or widow.
- United States Pension Bureau, List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883: Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for... (Washington Printing Office; 1883). Online at Internet Archive. Lake County, page 356.
- Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, The Civil War in Lake County.
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:
- 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.
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
The County Court has responsibility for the probate records of Lake County.
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
The following Lake County tax records have been abstracted:
- 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"
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. The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:
- 1625-1966 - Tennessee, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1794 - 1851 - Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL 976.8 V2L.
The following Lake County Courthouse marriage records have been indexed:
- 1883 - 1895 - Lake County Marriage Index 1883-1895 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - free.
- 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
For deaths of Methodists in Lake County (or what became Lake County) between the 1830s and the 1920s, try searching the following records:
- 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.
Societies and LibrariesEdit
|Lake County Historical Society
405 Moss Street
Tiptonville, TN 38079
|Randall Brown, Lake County Historian
655 Lake Drive
Tiptonville, TN 38079
|Ridgely Public Library
134 N Main St.
Ridgley, TN 38080
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 1-5 p.m.
|Tiptonville Public Library
126 Tipton St.
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Hours: Mon - Fri 12:30 - 5 pm
|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
Family History CentersEdit
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.
- For current information about a center near you, go to the Family History Center Map
- Introduction to Family History Centers
- FamilySearch Catalog (FamilySearch) — The catalog is genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) This catalog is different than the indexed Historical Records.
- Lake County, TN Family History and Genealogy Message Board (Ancestry)
- Lake County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: TNLAKE-L (Lake County, Tennessee List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: TN-NEWMADRID-QUAKE-L (1811 New Madrid Earthquake Genealogy List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: WEST-TNCHAT-L (West Tennessee Chat List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: WESTTN-L (West Tennessee List)
- Lake County TN Genealogy (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Wikipedia contributors, "Lake, Tennessee" in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_County,_Tennessee accessed 24 Dec 2018
- 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.
- 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.
- "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 641. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
- Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Lake County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_County,_Tennessee, accessed 30 November 2019.
- 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.
- 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.]
- The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
- Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL 973 B2ng v. 81
- 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.