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Tennessee County records can vary extensively from county to county both in quality and quantity. Some have been carefully maintained while others have been much mistreated and uncared for. Many Tennessee records have merely vanished. For genealogists doing research in Tennessee there’s no valuable replace to have an on-site research of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia

The register of deeds office holds Tennessee deed records. Court and probate records can be found in the county court. However, Davidson County and Shelby County have separate courts for circuit court and probate issues. Most records can be found at the county seat, but not all records have survived for each county. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

Tennessee Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Anderson1801 Knox and Grainger CountiesClinton
Bedford1807Rutherford CountyShelbyville
Benton1835Humphreys CountyCamden
Bledsoe1807Roane County and Indian landsPikeville
Blount1795Knox CountyMaryville
Bradley1836Indian landsCleveland
Campbell1806Anderson and Claiborne countiesJacksboro
Cannon1836Rutherford, Smith and Warren countiesWoodbury
Carroll1821Indian landsHuntingdon
Carter1796Washington CountyElizabethton
Cheatham1856Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Robertson countiesAshland City
Chester1879Hardeman, Henderson, McNairy and Madison countiesHenderson
Claiborne1801Grainger and Hawkins countiesTazewell
Clay1870Jackson and Overton countiesCelina
Cocke1797Jefferson CountyNewport
Coffee1836Bedford, Warren and Franklin countiesManchester
Crockett1871Haywood, Madison, Dyer and Gibson countiesAlamo
Cumberland1855White, Bledsoe, Rhea, Morgan, Fentress and Putnam countiesCrossville
Davidson1783Part of North CarolinaNashville
Dekalb1845Perry CountyDecaturville
Decatur1837Franklin, Cannon, Jackson and White countiesSmithville
Dickson1803Montgomery and Robertson countiesCharlotte
Dyer1823Indian landsDyersburg
Fayette1824Indian landsSomerville
Fentress1823Morgan, Overton and White countiesJamestown
Franklin1807Rutherford County and Indian landsWinchester
Gibson1823Indian landsTrenton
Giles1809Indian landsPulaski
Grainger1796Hawkins and Knox countiesRutledge
Greene1783Washington CountyGreeneville
Grundy1844Coffee, Warren and Franklin countiesAltamont
Hamblen1870Jefferson, Grainger and Greene countiesMorristown
Hamilton1819Rhea County and Indian landsChattanooga
Hancock1844Hawkins and Claiborne countiesSneedville
Hardeman1823Hardin County and Indian landsBolivar
Hardin1819Indian landsSavannah
Hawkins1787Sullivan CountyRogersville
Haywood1823Indian landsBrownsville
Henderson1821Indian landsLexington
Henry1821Indian landsParis
Hickman1807Dickson CountyCenterville
Houston1871Dickson, Humphreys, Montgomery and Stewart countiesErin
Humphreys1809Stewart CountyWaverly
Jackson1801Smith County and Indian landsGainesboro
Jefferson1792Greene and Hawkins countiesDandridge
Johnson1836Carter CountyMountain City
Knox1792Greene and Hawkins countiesKnoxville
Lake1870Obion CountyTiptonville
Lauderdale1835Haywood, Dyer and Tipton countiesRipley
Lawrence1817Hickman County and Indian landsLawrenceburg
Lewis1843Hickman, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne countiesHohenwald
Lincoln1809Bedford CountyFayetteville
Loudon1870Roane, Monroe, Blount and McMinn countiesLoudon
Macon1842Smith and Sumner countiesLafayette
Madison1821Indian landsJackson
Marion1817Indian landsJasper
Marshall1836Giles, Bedford, Lincoln and Maury countiesLewisburg
Maury1807Williamson County and Indian landsColumbia
McMinn1819Indian landsAthens
McNairy1823Hardin CountySelmer
Meigs1836Rhea CountyDecatur
 Monroe1819Indian landsMadisonville
Montgomery1796Tennessee CountyClarksville
Moore1871Bedford, Lincoln and Franklin countiesLynchburg
Morgan1817Anderson and Roane countiesWartburg
Obion1823Indian landsUnion City
Overton1806Jackson County and Indian landsLivingston
Perry1819Humphreys and Hickman countiesLinden
Pickett1879Fentress and Overton countiesByrdstown
Polk1839McMinn and Bradley countiesBenton
Putnam1842Fentress, Jackson, Smith, White and Overton countiesCookeville
Rhea1807Roane CountyDayton
Roane1801Knox County and Indian landsKingston
Robertson1796Tennessee and Sumner countiesSpringfield
Rutherford1803Davidson, Williamson and Wilson countiesMurfreesboro
Scott1849Anderson, Campbell, Fentress and Morgan countiesHuntsville
Sequatchie1857Hamilton, Marion and Warren countiesDunlap
Sevier1794Jefferson CountySevierville
Shelby1819Chickasaw Nation lands acquired through the Jackson PurchaseMemphis
Smith1799Sumner County and Indian landsCarthage
Stewart1803Montgomery CountyDover
Sullivan1779Washington CountyBlountville
Sumner1786Davidson CountyGallatin
Tipton1823Shelby County (previously Chickasaw landsCovington
Trousdale1870Wilson, Macon, Smith and Sumner countiesHartsville
Unicoi1875Washington and Carter CountyErwin
Union1850Grainger, Claiborne, Campbell, Anderson and Knox countiesMaynardville
Van Buren1840Warren and White countiesSpencer
Warren1807White, Jackson, Smith counties and Indian landsMcMinnville
Washington1777Part of North CarolinaJonesborough
Wayne1817Hickman CountyWaynesboro
Weakley1823Indian landsDresden
White1806Jackson and Smith countiesSparta
Wilson1799Davidson CountyFranklin
Williamson1799Sumner CountyLebanon


Tennessee Extinct Counties

Tennessee seems to have counties that no longer exist. They were recognized by the state, provincial, or territorial government. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the Nineteenth century; county borders have changed little since 1900 in the great most of states. These counties need to be investigated when doing family history and genealogy research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or combined with some other county.

  • The Lost State of Franklin – A short-lived attempt to create a new state in the trans-Appalachian settlement of present-day East Tennessee.
  • Spencer County: Formed in 1785 from Sullivan County and renamed Hawkins County in 1786
  • Tennessee County: Created in 1788 from Davidson County. It was abolished and divided into Montgomery and Robertson Counties. Records now located in Robertson County. County Seat was Clarksville
  • Wayne County: There was an earlier but a whole separate Wanye County which is included in Present day Carter County and part of Johnson County. It was establish in 1785 under the State of Franklin but was abolished in 1788.
  • James County: Formed in 1870 from Hamilton and Bradley Counties and abolished in 1919 (ended in bankruptcy in 1919) and merged with Hamilton County. All records located in Hamilton County. County seat was Ooltewah).


Tennessee Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Tennessee courthouses considerably has a bearing on genealogists in every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the documents they stored: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they’re gone forever. Even though they have been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn up too. The most sad side of this is the reason why almost all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. Although, not all the records were damaged or lost. A number of Tennessee counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Bedford County Courthouse – 1830 (tornado), 1863 & 1934 (fires)
  • Bledsoe County Courthouse – 1908 – (fire)
  • Blount County Courthouse – 1879 & 1906 (fires)
  • Cannon County Courthouse – 1934 (fire)
  • Carroll County Courthouse – 1931 (fire)
  • Carter County Courthouse – 1933 (fire)
  • Chester County Courthouse – 1910 (fire)
  • Claiborne County Courthouse – 1863 & 1931 (fires)
  • Cocke County Courthouse – 1876 (fire)
  • Coffee County Courthouse – 1870 (fire)
  • Cumberland County Courthouse – 1905 (fire)
  • Davidson County Courthouse – 1856 (fire)
  • Decatur County Courthouse – 1869 & 1927 (fires)
  • Dickson County Courthouse – 1830 (tornado)
  • Dyer County Courthouse – 1864 (fire)
  • Fayette County Courthouse – 1925 (fire)
  • Fentress County Courthouse – 1905 (fire)
  • Gibson??? County Courthouse – 1941 (fire)
  • Gile County Courthouses – 1813, 1857 & 1907 (fires)
  • Grainger County Courthouse – 1946 (fire)
  • Grundy County Courthouse – 1853 & 1990 (fires)
  • Hamilton County Courthouse – 1910 (fire)
  • Hancock County Courthouse – 1885 & 1930 (fires)
  • Hardeman County Courthouse – 1864 (fire)
  • Hardin County Courthouse – 1859, 1864 & 1949 (fire)
  • Hawkins County Courthouse – 1863 (fire)
  • Henderson County Courthouse – 1896 (fire)
  • Hickman County Courthouse – 1864 (fire)
  • Humphreys County Courthouse – 1876 & 1898 (fires)
  • James County Courthouse – fires in 1890 and 1913 caused extensive record loss.
  • Jackson County Courthouse – 1872 & 1926 (fires)
  • Lauderdale County Courthouse – 1869 (fire)
  • McMinn County Courthouse – 1964 (fire)
  • McNairy County Courthouse – 1881 (fire)
  • Macon County Courthouse – 1860 & 1901 & 1932 (fires)
  • Marion County Courthouse – 1922 (fire)
  • Marshall County Courthouse – 1872 & 1927 (fires)
  • Meigs County Courthouse – 1904 & 1964 (fire)
  • Monroe County Courthouse – 1820s (fire) 1860 (razed/Civil War)
  • Montgomery County Courthouse – 1878 & 1900 (fires) 1999 (tornado)
  • Morgan County Courthouse – 1826 & 1870 & 1904 (fires)
  • Obion County Courthouse – 1842 (earthquake)
  • Overton County Courthouse – 1865 (fire)
  • Perry County Courthouse – 1863 & 1928 (fires)
  • Pickett County Courthouse – 1934 – (fire)
  • Polk County Courthouse – 1895 & 1935??? (fires)
  • Putnam County Courthouse – 1860s (burned/Civil War) 1898 (fires)
  • Rhea County Courthouse – 1869 & 1927 (fires)
  • Rutherford County Courthouse – 1832 (tornado)
  • Scott County Courthouse – 1946 (fire)
  • Sevier County Courthouse – 1856 (fire)
  • Stewart County Courthouse – 1862 (fire/Federal troops)
  • Sullivan County Courthouse – 1863 (fire)
  • Trousdale County Courthouse – 1900 & 1904 (fires)
  • Union County Courthouse – 1870s & 1969 (fires)
  • Warren County Courthouse – 1852? (fire)?
  • Washington County Courthouse – 1839 (fire)
  • Wayne County Courthouse – 1973 (fire)
  • Weakley County Courthouse – 1948 (fire)
  • Wilson County Courthouse – 1881 (fire)


Interactive Map of Tennessee Counties Formation

(Tennessee maps made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company)