Tennessee Death Records 1914-1933

PLEASE NOTE: Ancestry.com, in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has added an index to and scanned images of Tennessee death records for the years 1908-1958. The indexes to these records at Ancestry.com's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page can be viewed by all. RESIDENTS OF TENNESSEE who are not members of Ancestry.com can view the scanned copies of the records by first going to the Tennessee Electronic Library, clicking on the Genealogy tab, and then clicking on Tennessee Records; the scans of the death certificates can then be viewed after a free log-in on the Ancestry site. The indexes and images are free to Tennessee residents. Individuals who subscribe to Ancestry.com can also view the scanned records. 

The Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records is a long-term project to index Tennessee death records for the years 1914 on.  (The index has replaced the Partial Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914-1925, which covered only thirty-eight counties in Tennessee and did not include children under two years of age.) .

sample death certificate from this time period is available for viewing on our web site.

The index lists name of deceased, county of death, date of death, and volume and page number of the certificate.  When ordering a death record from this index, please include this information.

When using this index, please keep the following in mind:

  1. Check for alternate spellings of the surname.  Handwriting is not always legible and could be misread.  Spelling variations are common.  A surname such as Hale might be spelled Hale,  Hayleor  Hail;  a surname such as Dickson might be spelled Dickson,  Dixon,  or Dixson.
  2. Check for alternate spellings of the first name.  The name William A. Smith may be listed as Smith, William  or  Smith, Will  or  Smith, Wm.  or  Smith, Bill  or  Smith, W.  or  Smith, W.A.   The first name may have an abbreviation that is not in current usage, such as Jas. for the name James.
  3. Some records did not include the given name of the deceased.  These records are listed at the beginning of each surname, such as  Williams, (blank)  or King, (unknown) .
  4. Many death records for young children did not list a first name for the child.  These listings appear in the index as Smith, Infant of  or  Jones, Infant of John.   There are also listings for older children, such as White, Son of John  or  Case, Child of Henry.
  5. Death certificates for some married women are listed under the name of the husband, such as Adams, James (Mrs) .
  6. Titles relating to occupation will be listed after the first name of the individual:  Johnson, Martin (Rev.)  or  Hibbert, John (Dr.) or  Blake, Charles (Maj.).
  7. If the individual died out of state, there will not be a death certificate issued in Tennessee, even if the body was returned here for burial.
  8. Death certificates during this time period were filled out by funeral directors.  If the deceased was buried in a family cemetery and no funeral home was involved, there will not be a death certificate on file in Tennessee.
  9. There are some death records for individuals who could not be identified  ("unknown white male, in late 40s").  These are not included in this index.


PLEASE NOTE:  The web site for the Shelby County Register of Deeds has posted a "partial" Tennessee death index for the years 1949-2014.