Shelby County, Tennessee Genealogy Guide

Shelby County, Tennessee (Map It) was created on November 24, 1819 from Chickasaw Nation lands acquired through the Jackson Purchase. This Shelby County was named in honor of Isaac Shelby (1750–1826), commander at Kings Mountain, first governor of Kentucky, and negotiator of the purchase of the western district from the Chickasaws. Learn More About State of Tennessee History

Shelby County is bordered by Tipton County (north), Fayette County (east), Marshall County, Mississippi (southeast), DeSoto County, Mississippi (south) and Crittenden County, Arkansas (west) .

Shelby County Cities and Towns include Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Cordova, Eads, Fisherville, Germantown, Lakeland, Memphis, Millington . A Map of Shelby County, Tennessee contains detailed information about roads and boundaries, these maps may include rural communities, churches, and cemeteries.

Shelby County, Tennessee Courthouse Records

Shelby County, Tennessee Courthouse
Shelby County, TN Courthouse

The Shelby County Courthouse is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Learn More About State of Tennessee Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.

Please contact the each clerk's department to confirm mailing address, hours, fees and other information before visiting or requesting information because contact information sometimes changes.  The Clerk's Office DOES NOT DO RESEARCH.  The documents are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues.  Most staff will assist people in finding the materials, but it is up to the individual to do the research.

The following dates indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Shelby county or in the Tennessee State Library & Archives. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered.

  • Shelby County Clerk has Marriage Records from 1820 and Probate Records from 1820. The County Clerk maintains Marriage & Divorce records. It also has jurisdiction over probate cases. Wills, administrations, and all other records pertaining to probate are recorded in the respective county clerk's office. If the will or administration was contested, the records of these actions may be filed in the circuit court or chancery court.
  • Shelby County Register of Deeds has Land & Deed Records from 1821 . The County Register of Deeds has land records beginning with county organization, land records are available from the register of deeds at the Sevier county courthouse. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
  • Shelby County Clerk of Circuit Court has Chancery Court Minutes from ?, Circuit Court Minutes from 1828 and County  Court Minutes ?. The County Clerk of Circuit Court has jurisdiction over property disputes, and circuit courts oversee criminal cases, divorces, and adoptions. Early courts included courts of common pleas and quarter sessions.
  • Shelby County Property Assessor has Tax Records from 1837, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1850, 1852, 1856-1863, 1865, 1867-1880, 1883, 1891-1900 and are located at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The County Property Assessor is responsible for the evaluation of all real property, the cadastral mapping of the county, valuation of all business personal property and maintaining ownership records. The property assessor prepares the tax rolls for the trustee and all the municipalities. Tax lists can be used to locate families, document historic properties and study community history. Early tax lists generally include all white males over 21 and indicate whether they owned land or slaves.
  • Shelby County Health Department issues birth certificates and death certificates (deaths which occurred in that county within the past three years, and a few county health departments keep death records for longer periods of time).

Shelby County, Tennessee Census Records

Shelby County, Tennessee Vital Records

Shelby County, Tennessee Resources

  • State of Tennessee Archives and Societies
  • Memphis & Shelby County Archives, 150 Washington Ave., Suite 205, Memphis , TN 38103; Phone: (901) 545-4356
  • City of Germantown Municipal Archives, 1930 S. Germantown Rd., Germantown , TN 38138; Phone: (901) 757-7260
  • History and Travel Department (Genealogy), 1850 Peabody Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, (901) 725-8821
  • Memphis-Shelby County Health Dept, Division of Vital Records, 814 Jefferson Ave., Memphis, TN 38105
  • Memphis/Shelby County Public Library Archives
  • West Tennessee Historical Society, PO Box 111046, Memphis, TN 38111 901-678-8242
  • Bartlett Historical Society, Bartlett Museum, Gotten House, 2969 Court Street, Bartlett, TN 38134 901-373-8433
  • Center for Southern Folklore, Archives, 119 S. Main Street, Suite 106, PO Box 226, Memphis, TN 38101 901-525-3655
  • Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island, Mud Island Park, City of Memphis, 125 N. Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103 901-576-7230
  • LeMoyne-Owen College, Hollis F. Price Library, 807 Walker Avenue, Memphis, TN 38126 901-942-7381
  • Rhodes College, Burrow Library, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112 901-323-9063
  • Christian Brothers University, Brother O'Donnell Archives, 2455 Avery Ave., Memphis, TN 38104 901-278-0100
  • Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, 692 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105 901-476-7079
  • Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1978 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 901-276-8602
  • Temple Israel Archives, (Jewish Historical Society of Memphis & Midsouth), 1376 East Massey, Memphis, TN 38120 901-761-3130
  • RAOGK Volunteers for Tennessee
  • Shelby County, Tennessee Message Boards
  • Shelby County, Tennessee Genealogy Forum read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Shelby County
  • Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Shelby County

Shelby County, Tennessee External Links