The Tennessee State Library & Archives holds death records that are older than 50 years. Death records are confidential for 50 years under state law. Records 50 years old or less are held by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records and must be requested from that office.

Tennessee began requiring death records be kept statewide in 1908. However, the law requiring records to be kept lapsed at the end of 1912, therefore no records were kept in 1913. Statewide recordkeeping resumed in 1914. The larger cities in Tennessee did keep earlier death records: Nashville (beginning in 1874); Knoxville (beginning in 1881); Chattanooga (beginning in 1872); and Memphis (beginning in 1848).

Tennessee Death Records (1908-1965) are available online through a partnership with on at's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page. Tennesseans can access these records for free. Click here to learn more.

Indexes use the Soundex system, a code using the first letter of the last name and three digits based on the way a name sounds rather than the way it's spelled. An online Soundex converter can be found here:

If you need a certified copy of a death record visit:

Items will be added to this collection as they are digitized.