Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records

Are Tennessee Vital Records Open to the Public?

Most vital records in the State of Tennessee are open to the public, in compliance with the Tennessee Open Records Act. This includes birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Individuals seeking access to any of these vital records must have the information and qualifications required to inspect or copy the records.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for Tennessee Vital Records Online?

To search for records online, requesters must be able to provide information relevant to the sought-after record. These may include:

  • The Full Name on certificate
  • Gender on certificate
  • The time and place of the event
  • Relationship to the person named on the certificate
  • Additional Information listed on the certificate such as the mother’s name, father’s name.

 

What Do I Need to Obtain Tennessee Vital Records?

Persons who want to obtain, inspect or copy Tennessee Vital Records may apply online, by mail, or in person at the Office of Vital Records. They may also request birth or death certificates in person at a local county health department.

All application forms must be completed, signed, and accompanied by a valid Government-Issued ID that clearly shows the applicant’s signature. However, qualified applicants who have a notarized application are not required to show any additional identification.

Publicly available vital records are also accessible from some third-party websites* These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:

  • The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

*Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

 

What’s the difference between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?

Informational copies are transcripts of vital records issued to requestors without a direct or legal interest with the original owner of the certificate. They cannot be used for identification purposes. On the other hand, certified copies are intended for identification purposes and are only issued to persons with a direct claim to the named person on the certificate or record.

Are Tennessee Marriage Records Public Information?

Most marriage records are public information in the State of Tennessee. But, certain information like the confidential section of the marriage may only be released for the purpose of gathering statistical data or research.

In the State of Tennessee, Marriage Records are kept in two locations. Marriages held and recorded in the State before the year 1970 are open to the public at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, excluding marriages held in Davidson County between May 1941 - June 1945 which can only be found at the Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County. While records from 1970 to present are kept and maintained by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records.

Only persons named in the original certificate or who have a direct affiliation with said persons i.e. spouse, child, can access these records at the Office of Vital Records. However, interested parties who do not have direct affiliation may mail in a Verification of Marriage Facts document to request a transcript for informational purposes.

 

How do I find marriage records in Tennessee?

Records of marriages from 1970 to present are maintained by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. Members of the public can request records in person at the Office of Vital Records, or by using the mail service. Persons requesting online are required to provide information such as:

  • The State of Marriage
  • The City of Marriage
  • Relationship to the persons named in the certificate
  • The Names of the groom and bride
  • The Applicant’s present legal name

Requestors may also obtain a marriage record through the mail by first, completing the Application for Marriage Certificate and attaching a valid government-issued ID, with the $15 fee for a copy, payable by money order or check, to the:

Tennessee Vital Records
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

Are Tennessee Divorce Records Public Information?

Tennessee Divorce Records between July 1, 1945 - 1969 are public information and are accessible to the public at the Tennessee State Library and Archives unless sealed by statute, rule or court order. But, divorce records less than 50 years old are only available at the Tennessee Office of Vital Records to parties with a legitimate or direct claim. Additionally, the Office retains the right to withhold the confidential sections of the certificate or record, unless the request is made for research or statistical reasons.

To search divorce records or obtain copies at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, an individual must be in possession of relevant information such as

  • The names of the spouses
  • The actual date the parties were divorced, or a five-year range
  • The county where the divorce was permitted (if available)

 

How do I find Divorce Records in Tennessee?

Persons can find Divorce Records in Tennessee by visiting the Tennessee State Library and Archives to obtain Divorce Records issued before the year 1970.

Divorce or annulment records on or after 1970 can be obtained in person or by mail at the Tennessee Vital Records Office, where individuals can seek access by submitting a signed Application for Divorce or Annulment Records with a $15 fee per copy at the:

Tennessee Vital Records
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

Divorce Records requests can also be made online through the VitalChek platform.

Are Tennessee Birth Records Public Information?

The majority of birth records in Tennessee are available to the public. Similar to divorce and marriage records in the State of Tennessee, members of the public can access birth records within a timeframe. In this case, from 1920 to present at the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. But, only the person(s) named on the certificate and related individuals, such as the spouse, child, legal guardian, parents, or legal representatives, are eligible to gain access to certified copies of records less than 100 years old.

Additionally, Birth Records are also available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. But, as there were no birth records kept statewide in Tennessee before the year 1908, requesters have access only records between 1908-1912 and 1914-1919.

Some third-party sites maintain online indexes where requesters can search and view birth records between a range of years in certain regions of the State. Memphis Birth Records between the years 1874 -1916 are available on the Shelby County Register of Deeds. Nashville records between the year 1881 - 1913 can also be searched online. The Tennessee Electronic Library keeps records from the year 1881 - 1915 in its Genealogy section of births in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.

 

How Do I Find Tennessee Birth Records?

Individuals may request birth certificates at any local county health department in the State. Requestors must submit a completed Application for Birth Records form along with a valid government-issued ID.

 

What’s the difference between a Long-form and Short-Form Birth Certificate?

Long-form birth records copies are the certified copies of the original record/ certificate. They cost more to obtain and contain more information than the short form copies. They are only available to persons with direct interest to the certificate’s owner. The short form copies are notarized certificates that prove the existence of the long-form copy.

Are Tennessee Death Records Open to the Public?

Yes. The public has access to most Death Records without cause of death in Tennessee. Only individuals with a direct interest may have access to this data. Unless the person(s) making the request has a court order issued by a court with authority in that regard or does so:

  1. As an individual or governmental body for research, statistical or administrative reasons, with the State Registrar’s approval
  2. As an organization whose services are aimed at providing benefits to beneficiaries of deceased, or on its behalf
  3. When the cause of death is needed as evidence of a legal claim

These records can be accessed through the Tennessee State Library and Archives for the period of time on and between 1908-1912 and 1914-1969. Other records on and beyond the year 1970 are kept by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records.

 

How Do I Find Death Records in Tennessee?

Death certificates can be divided into two broad categories: certified and non-certified.

Non-certified copies are available to the public. While certified copies are only available to the immediate family of the named person(s) or persons who have a legitimate claim to the person(s). The certified copies may be issued with or without cause of death depending on the requestor’s reasons for the request. Each copy costs $15. Interested parties may find Death Records in six locations:

  • At the physical location of the Tennessee State Library and Archives during working hours, 8.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m, Tuesday to Saturday at:

Tennessee State Library and Archives
403 7th Avenue North,
Nashville, TN 37243

  • Alternatively, the State Library, in partnership with a second party: the Ancestry.com site, maintains a free index of death certificates from 1908 to 1958 on the Genealogy page of the Tennessee Electronic Library.
  • The State Library also has a free, searchable online index for the years 1914-1933, and 1908-1912.
  • The Shelby County Register of Deeds maintains an index for death records between 1949-2014 that occurred in the State of Tennessee. The website also keeps an index of deaths recorded in Shelby county between 1848-1966.
  • Individuals may request access for death records in the year 1970 and above at the Tennessee Office of Vital Records by submitting an Application for Death Record in person or via mail request with a $15 fee per certified copy.

 

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Tennessee?

Vital records in Tennessee aren’t typically sealed to the public, except adoption records. However, the Department of Children’s has the authority to allow access to adoption records and sealed adoption records to eligible individuals, who can make their requests to:

Department of Children's Services
Post Adoption Unit
436 6th Avenue, NW
8th Floor, Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1290
(615)532-5637

To obtain sealed records, eligible persons must:

  • Provide a letter of authorization/ official directive from the Department of Children’s services, or court order from a court with authority in the matter
  • Have knowledge of the exact name/ adopted name of birth on the record
  • Have knowledge of the complete date of birth on the record
  • Be able to pay the applicable fees
Tennessee State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (629) 205-4480

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Assets
  • Property Ownership
  • Bankruptcies
  • Judgments
  • Liens
  • Public Records
  • Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Relatives & Associates

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Tennessee

Tennessee

  • State archives hold over 40,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of courts – trial and appellate.
  • There are 3 grand divisions in Tennessee Court of Appeal.
  • There are 2 intermediate appellate courts in Tennessee: The Court of Criminal Appeals and The Tennessee Court of Appeals.
  • There are 31 circuit courts in Tennessee, one in each of the 31 judicial districts.
  • The highest court in Tennessee is the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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