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Shelby County, Tennessee Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Tennessee Gotoarrow.png Shelby County

Shelby County, Tennessee ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Guide to Shelby County (established 1819) 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.


Shelby County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Shelby County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Shelby County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded November 24, 1819
County Seat Memphis
Shelby County, Tennessee Courthouse.jpg
Address Shelby County Courthouse
160 N. Main St.
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 1-901-576-4002
Named for: Isaac Shelby
Isaac Shelby.JPG
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County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Shelby County Courthouse
150 Washington Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 901.545.4244 

County Health Department has birth, death, and burial;
County Clerk has marriage records from 1820;
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce records;
Probate Judge has probate records;
General Sessions Court has court records;
Register of Deeds has land records [1]

West Tennessee county.

Quick Dates[edit | edit source]

Shelby County's civil records start the following years:[2]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1874* 1820 1881 1830 1821† 1820

.*Memphis births begin in 1874, Shelby County births begin in 1881
†Deed index only

Quick Facts[edit | edit source]

The county is named after Kentucky's First Governor Isaac Shelby (1750-1826).[3]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

24 November 1819: Shelby County was established from Hardin County. Early records may be found under Hardin County. [4]

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.

County Offices[edit | edit source]

Shelby County Health Department
Birth and death records
814 Jefferson Ave., Room 101 - 103
Memphis, TN 38105
Phone: 1-901-544-7608

Shelby County Clerk
Marriage records
150 Washington Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 1-901-545-4244

Shelby County Register of Deeds
Land records
1075 Mullins Station Rd, Suite W165
Memphis, TN 38134
Phone: 1-901-379-7500

Shelby County Probate Court Clerk
Probate records
140 Adams Ave., Room 124
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 1-901-545-4040

Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk
Court records
140 Adams Ave.,Room 324
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 1-901-545-4006

Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

  1. Hear it spoken[5] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[6] (male)

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

The preceding list of places includes incorporated cities and towns, unincorporated towns and communities, and place names that may have been used in family histories. Some have well-organized records and even have websites. Some are simply social communities with no official records, but which may be referenced in small-town newspapers. The list is provided to help researchers identify localities within the county. As records or histories of these localities are identified, a page will be added for each of these place names.

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 Shelby County newspaper, tax, and WPA 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 American[edit | edit source]

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans

  • National African American Photographic Archive - from the University of Memphis
  • Hamilton, G.P. The Bright Side of Memphis: A Compendium of Information Concerning the Colored People of Memphis, Tennessee, Showing Their Achievements in Business, Industrial and Professional Life and Including Articles of General Interest on the Race. Memphis, Tenn.: G.P. Hamilton, 1908. Digital version at Google Books. A who's who of African Americans in Memphis, including biographical sketches.
  • Hughes, Louis. Thirty Years a Slave. From Bondage to Freedom. The institution of slavery as seen on the plantation and in the home of the planter. Milwaukee : South Side Printing Company, 1897. Free digital copy, courtesy: Internet Archive.
  • Waldrep, G.C. "'Free Colored' Heads of Household in the 1820 Tennessee Census," available online, courtesy: Free African Americans website. Includes free African Americans in this county.
  • The Runaway Slave Blog is a free online resource where runaway slaves listed in pre-1865 West Tennessee newspapers are identified. The runaway ads appeared in several Memphis newspapers.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

The Tennessee Cemeteries page provides explanations of the following online resources:

Bibliographies Online Gravestone Transcriptions Cemetery Gazetteers
FamilySearch Catalog Find A Grave | national search | county list ePodunk
WorldCat TNGenWeb Cemetery Database  
  USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project  

Individual cemeteries:

Additional Links

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 364
1830 5,648 1451.6%
1840 14,721 160.6%
1850 31,157 111.7%
1860 48,092 54.4%
1870 76,378 58.8%
1880 78,430 2.7%
1890 112,740 43.7%
1900 153,557 36.2%
1910 191,439 24.7%
1920 223,216 16.6%
1930 306,482 37.3%
1940 358,250 16.9%
1950 482,393 34.7%
1960 627,019 30.0%
1970 722,014 15.2%
1980 777,113 7.6%
1990 826,330 6.3%
2000 897,472 8.6%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Shelby 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


  • Bentley, Elizabeth P. Index to the 1820 Census of Tennessee. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. FHL 976.8 X22b 1820
  • Presley, Mrs. Leister E. Census, Lawrence, Perry, Shelby Counties, Tennessee, 1820. Searcy, Arkansas: Presley, 198-?. FHL 976.8 X2p 1820
  • Waldrep, G.C. "'Free Colored' Heads of Household in the 1820 Tennessee Census," available online, courtesy: Free African Americans website. Includes free African Americans in this county.

1840 Pensioners

  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. WorldCat 2648500 1841; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 973 X2pc 1840; US/CAN Film 2321. 1841 edition digitized by the U.S. Census Bureau and Google books et. al. See Tennessee, Western District, Shelby County on page 159.

1850 Agriculture

  • Green, Linda L. Tennessee 1850 Agricultural Census. 2 vols. Woodbridge, Va.: L.L. Green, 2000. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2g v. 1 ff. Shelby County is included in Vol. 2.


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census, Shelby Co., Tennessee: head-of-household index Nashville, Tennessee: Byron Sistler and Associates, 2003 FHL Collection US/CAN book 976.819 X22]

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 Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 4 1891. Shelby County is included in Vol. 4.
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890].

1891 Male Voters

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The Shelby County Register of Deeds a Chancery Court Divorce Index and the Circuit Court Indexes online.

Directories[edit | edit source]

The Shelby Courty Register of Deeds has Memphis city directories on-line for many years beginning with 1859 to 1901.

Additional Memphis city directory resources include:

  • [1883] Weatherbe, C.F. Sholes Directory of the Taxing District of Memphis, Shelby County, Tenn. 1883, Volume 10.Memphis, Tenn.: Rogers & Co. Book and Job Printers and Publishers, 1883. Digital version at Google Books. (F)
  • [1890] Dow's Memphis Directory, 1890. Memphis, Tenn.: Dow's, 1890. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • [1891] Dow's Memphis Directory, 1891. Memphis, Tenn.: Dow's 1891. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • [1909] R.L. Polk and Co.'s 1909 Memphis City Directory: Containing an Alphabetically Arranged List of Business Firms and Private Citizens, Street, Avenue and Householders' Guide, Miscellaneous Directory, City and County Officers, Terms of Court, Churches, Colleges and Schools, Public Parks and Buildings, Banks, Railway and Steamship Lines, Secret, Benevolent, Trade and Social Organizations, etc., etc., etc., and a Complete Classified Business Directory. Memphis, Tenn.: R.L. Polk and Co., 1909. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

DNA[edit | edit source]

DNA Double Helix.png
DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Shelby County residents. Attempts have not been made to verify the lineages of those tested.
  • [Doss] Descendant of Parker S. Doss, b. abt 1768 Cumberland County, Virginia, resident of Shelby County, Tennessee in 1830, d. 1855 Fannin County, Texas. Y-DNA 37 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 42897). Genetic signature available online (labeled Ju-1), genealogical description available online, courtesy: The Doss DNA Project, World Families. Matches have been found.
  • [Doss] Descendant of Samuel H. Doss, b. 1803 Virginia, resident of Shelby and Moore counties, Tennessee; Illinois; and Madison County, Arkansas. Y-DNA 37 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 85939). Genetic signature available online (labeled Sh-1), genealogical description available online, courtesy: The Doss DNA Project, World Families. Matches have been found.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

It is anticipated that 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]

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Rootsweb Mailing Lists:

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

General[edit | edit source]

As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Shelby, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 30,000 entries. A query for persons born in Memphis, Tennessee results in more than 29,000 entries.

  • Cargill, Bernice Taylor and Brenda Bethea Connelly. Settlers of Shelby County, Tennessee and Adjoining Counties. Memphis, Tenn.: Descendants of Early Settlers of Shelby County, Tennessee, 1989. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.819 H2c.
  • Matthews, Paul A. Early Families of the Memphis Area: Profiles of 135 Families of Fayette, Shelby and Tipton Counties in Tennessee, Crittenden County, Arkansas and DeSoto and Marshall Counties in Mississippi: With Historical Time Lines and Photogrpahs of Those Counties. Memphis, Tennessee: Descendants of Early Settlers of Shelby and Adjoining Counties, 2008. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976 D2m].

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • [Baskerville] Baskerville, P. Hamilton (Patrick Hamilton), 1848 - 1925. Genealogy of the Baskerville Family and Some Allied Families Including the English Descent from 1266 A.D. Richmond: W.M. Ellis Jones' Sons, Inc. 1912. Digital version at Internet Archive.
  • [Bland] Gottschalk, Kathrine Cox. Bland Family of Pitt County, North Carolina and of Shelby County, Tennessee. 1940. FHL Collection US/CAN Film 858784 Item 12].
  • [Bonner] Bonner, Kathryn R. The Bonner Family Record: This Record is Primarily of the Bonners of Surry and Sussex Counties, Virginia, Those that Went to Wilson, Madison and Shelby Counties, Tennessee, and Those that Went on to Phillips County, Arkansas: Today the Descendants are Spread into Many States. Marianna, Ark.: K.R. Bonner, 1979. FHL Collection FAM HIST Book 929.273 A1 no. 3414].
  • [Ellis] Angevine, Erma Miller. Ellis, Taylor and Certain Related Families: Ancestors and Descendants of Clyde Taylor Ellis. Chevy Chase, Md.: C.T. Ellis, 1979. FHL Collection FAM HIST Book 929.273 A1 no. 4874.
  • [Irby] Turner, W. R. Notes Concerning the Irby Family. Blackstone, VA: Nottoway Pub. Co., 1930. Available at Ancestry ($); and Heritage Quest Online (LAR).
  • [Jacks] Skinner, Eugene Elam. The Ancestry of Carolyn Call Skinner. [Dallas, Texas?]: E.E. Skinner, [1950?]. FHL Collection FAM HIST Book 929.273 Sk34s.
  • [Land] Bliss, Callie Crosby and Sebrina Land Heard Hildebrant Hawley Grace. Sebrina Land: December 2, 1836, Shelby County, Tennessee - May 27, 1908, Milford, Beaver, Utah. Wellsville, Utah: C.C. Bliss, 1991. FHL Collection FAM HIST Book 921.73 A1 no. 682.
  • [Person] Walker, George Fuller. Persons Lineage. Unknown: G. W. Walker, 1951. Available at FHL Collection FAM HIST Large Q Book 929.273 P432w ▲ US/CAN Film 973017 Item 1; digital version at Heritage Quest Online (LA).
  • [Rootes] Rootes, T.R. "The Rootes Family," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Oct. 1896):204-211. Digital version at JSTOR - free.
  • [Stephenson] Stephenson, J. C. The Stephenson Family. Nashville, TN: The author, 1906. Available at FHL Collection US/CAN Film 823660 Item 3; digital version at Heritage Quest Online (LAR).
  • [Thurman] Thurman, John P.; John P. and Sallie Ecklin Thurman Papers1884-1896. Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Free digital copy.
  • [Wharton] Wharton, Richard. Richard Wharton papers, 1863 - 1906. Book contributor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A diary, letters and other writings including his service in the Confederate Army , letters relating to family matters, a genealogy of the Wharton family, poems and speeches.  Free digital copy, courtesy: Internet Archive.
  • [Woodbury] Woodbury, Harry and Peter F. Woodbury. The John C. Woodbury and Thomas Notgrass Families of West Tennessee, 1830-1982. Gulfport, Miss.: H. Woodbury, 1982. FHL Collection FAM HIST Book 929.273 W852wha.

History[edit | edit source]

  • Williams, Joseph R. The Builders of the Pyramid; the story of Shelby County: its Resources and Developments. Memphis: De Garis Printing Company, 1897. Free digital copy.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

  • Search the online Shelby County Deed Register to determine if an ancestor owned land in this area. Once you locate an ancestor in the deed records, you can contact the Shelby County Courthouse to order the land records or examine the microfilm copies of these records at the Family History Library. Land records may contain details about an ancestor. Also, if an ancestor owned land, they may have willed that land to family member, so remember to check Wills and Estate Records in Shelby County as well.

150 Washington Ave. Memphis, TN 38103 Phone: (901) 545-4244 Fax: (901) 545-3779 Hours of Operation: M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

  • The Family History Library does not have microfilmed deed records for Shelby County Tennessee. However it does have: books of estrays 1875-1886, 1896-1944
    Circuit Court minutes 1837-1894
    Land grants 1788-1827
    Entry books 1836-1849
    Survey books 1821-1889;
    Tax records 1846-1896.

Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. 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.] 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 TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Other Shelby County law and legislation resources include:

  • Dupree, L.J. A Digest of the Ordinances of the City Council of Memphis, from the Year 1826 to 1857: Together with All Acts of the Legislature of Tennessee which Relate Exclusively to the City of Memphis, with an Appendix. Memphis, Tenn.: Printed at the Office of the Memphis Bulletin Company, 1857. Digital version at Google Books.

Maps[edit | edit source]

  • Maps of Tennessee (1777-1985)
  • [1870] Ruger, A. Bird's Eye View of the City of Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. Originally published 1870. Free digital version at American Memory; purchase a high-quality reproduction at
  • [1887] Henry Wellge & Co. Perspective Map of the City of Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. Originally published 1887. Free digital version at American Memory; purchase a high-quality reproduction at
  • [1894] Cram's Universal Atlas of the World. A City Map of Memphis, Tennessee. Originally published 1894. Free digital version at WardMaps LLC; purchase a high-quality reproduction at
  • [1939] Viking Press for WPA. A Map of Memphis. Originally published 1939. Purchase at; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

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

  1. 1835 Pension Roll
  2. 1852 Rejected or Suspended Pensions

Additional resources include:

  • WorldCat 2648500 A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census]. 1841; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. FHL Collection FHL US/CAN Book 973 X2pc 1840; US/CAN Film 2321]. 1841 edition digitized by the U.S. Census Bureau and Google books et. al. [See Tennessee, Western District, Shelby County on page 159.]
  • Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions. Washington, D.C., 1852. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1969, and 1991. Reprints include "an Added Index to States." Digital version at Ancestry ($). Tennessee entries abstracted online at Tennesseans in the Revolutionary War, courtesy: TNGenWeb. [Includes veterans from this county; Tennessee section begins on page 381.]

War of 1812[edit | edit source]

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul. 1961):95-98. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. [Includes Shelby County pensioners (p. 95).]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Shelby 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 Shelby County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Shelby County:

Civil War Battle[edit | edit source]

The following Civil War battles were fought in Shelby County:

Map showing Civil War battles in Tennessee.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

The Shelby County Register of Deeds has naturalization records on-line for the years 1856-1906.

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 Shelby County click on the following cities or towns:

Other Newspaper Resources

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 Collection US/CAN 976.8 U2man. May purchase at [Includes Shelby 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 Shelby 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.

West Tennessee Historical Society Papers
Family History Library has Volumes 1 - 16 and 30 FHL Collection 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

Prisons[edit | edit source]

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

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The Probate Court has responsibility for the probate records of Shelby 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, 1830-1862 (4 vols.)
  • Probate records, 1867-1898 (54 vols.)
  • Minutes, 1824-1829

The following Shelby County probate records have been indexed:

  • [1830-1861] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler and Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL Collection US/CAN 976.8 P22s]. [Includes an index to this county's wills.]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

The original Memphis and Shelby County Tax Records 1846-1896 are kept at TSLA. That facility microfilmed these records in the 1990s. FHL copies: FHL Collection US/CAN Films 2411277 ff.

The original Memphis Comptroller Reports 1874-1876 were microfilmed by TSLA. FHL copy: FHL Collection US/CAN Film 375237 Item 8.

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

  • [1824] Shelby County, Tennessee 1824 Delinquent Tax, Ansearchin' News, Vol. 47 (2000). For access, see Periodicals.
  • [1836-1837] Nazor, Mary Louise and Elizabeth Riggins Nichols. "1836 Map of Shelby County, Tennessee" and "Shelby County, Tennessee Tax Lists, 1837-1838," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Winter 1986):152-158; Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 1987):9-14; Vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer 1987):79-82; Vol. 34, No. 3 (Fall 1987):129-132. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1836] Tax List, 1836, Tennessee Genealogy and History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2002).
  • [1837] Douthat, James L. 1837 Shelby County, Tennessee Tax List. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 2002. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.819 R4d]; online: free surname index and purchase details.
  • Nazor, Mary Louise Graham. Memphis Tax Lists. Memphis, Tenn.: M.L.G. Nazor, 1991.

Tax Districts

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See also How to order Tennessee Vital Records or order electronically online.

The Shelby County Register of Deeds has the following indexes online:

  • Birth Records 1874-1906
  • Death Records 1848-2009
  • Marriage Records 1820-1920

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

State Marriage Records

The following Shelby County marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • 1819-1850 - Shelby County, Tennessee County Clerk and Memphis Genealogical Society (Tennessee) Marriage records, 1819-1850 Memphis, Tennessee: Memphis Genealogical Society, 1957. FHL Collection US/CAN 976.819 V25s
  • 1819-1865 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early West Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: B. Sistler & Associates, 1989. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 1 ff. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.]
  • 1820-1858 - Edythe Johns Rucker Whitley and Deborah G. Sherr Marriages of Shelby County, Tennessee, 1820-1858 Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1982. FHL Collection US/CAN Book 976.819 V2we
  • 1820-1865 - Historical Records Project Marriage records, 1820-1865, Shelby County, Tennessee Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1940. FHL Collection US/CAN Film 24825 items 1-4
  • 1820-1945 - Shelby County, Tennessee County Clerk Marriage records (Shelby County, Tennessee), 1820-1945 Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1993-1997
    Index: FHL US/CAN Film 1148770-72
    Marriage bonds and licenses FHL US/CAN Film 1148773-840, 1465425-500, 1512717-26, 1512740
  • 1820-1946 - Shelby County (Tennessee) County Court Clerk's Office Marriage licenses and bonds (Shelby County, Tennessee), 1820-1946 Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1995, 1998
    Marriage bond index: FHL US/CAN Film 1784654
    Marriage bonds FHL US/CAN Film 1784640-53, 1784692, 1784655-79
  • 1861-1869 - Freedman's Bureau Marriage Certificates (1861-1869) is an index to the marriage records kept by the Memphis Field Office of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. It includes groom's surname, groom's given name, groom's age, bride's surname, bride's given name and other information.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Shelby County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, see:

  • 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 Shelby County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try searching the following records:

  • 1847-1914 - 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 Collection 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, Libraries and Museums[edit | edit source]

See also a List of Tennessee Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Germantown Community Library
1925 Exeter Rd.
Germantown, TN 38138
Phone: 1-901-757-7323
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. 1-6 p.m.

Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138
Phone: 1-901-757-8480
Mon. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tues., Thurs. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Genealogical Resources: Biographies, Cemetery Records, Census Records, Church Records, City Directories, County Histories, Court Records, Immigration Records, Tax Records, Military Records, Newspapers, Photographs, Vital Records, etc. The Center is also home to the Tennessee Genealogical Society.
Lucius E. and Elsie C. Burch, Jr. Library
501 Poplar View Parkway
Collierville, TN 38017
Phone: 1-901-457-2602
Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. 1-5 p.m.
Millington Public Library
4858 Navy Rd.
Millington, TN 38053
Phone: 1-901-872-1585
Mon. 1-5 p.m., Tues., Thurs. 12-8 p.m.
Wed., Fri., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sam T. Wilson Public Library
11968 Walker
Arlington, TN 38002
Phone: 1-901-867-1954
Mon. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
Phone: 1-901-475-6608
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.
University of Memphis Library
Special Collections Department
126 Ned R. WcWherter Library
Memphis, TN 38152
Phone: 1-901-678-8242

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

4195 Whitten Rd
Bartlett, TN
Phone: 1-901-388-9974

These are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Shelby County, Tennessee

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Shelby County, Tennessee page 643, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. WorldCat 14746022 book ▲ WorldCat 34592304 microform. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey (W.P.A.), 1941; "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  3. List of Counties in Tennessee Wikipedia.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 643. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  5. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  6. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  7. May be used for free at Family History Center. To locate a center near you, click here.
  8. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 22 August 2012)
  9. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 17 August 2012)
  10. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 22 August 2012)
  11. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "vr" defined multiple times with different content