Where To Find Vital Records

The state of Tennessee will not release birth records to the public until 100 years has passed since the birth. For Individuals born before 1912, the birth records can be found at both ancestry.com and familysearch. Those sites are well-known. Less known is the site that allows TN residents to access for free the death and birth certificate images that ancestry.com copied from TSLA. To get this access you need to be logging in from a TN computer, and for the ancestry.com part you have to also log in to ancestry.com, but it can be a free account there. This also gives TN residents free access to HeritageQuest, which gives the census images, Rev. War Pension applications, and Persi. Combine this with familysearch.org, and you get almost everything free.

If you use the service at the following link, you should know that HeritageQuest will log you back out, if you are idle too long. if that happens, ignore the HeritageQuest request for a login, and just hit your browser's back button enough times to return to the tntel site's automatic login script, then return to HeritageQuest.


Death certificates are not released to the public until they are 50 years old. Before that time, they are kept by the TN Dept. of Health. After 50 years, they are then sent to the Tennessee State Library and Archives and placed on microfilm.

If you need to order a birth or death certificate from the TN Dept. of Health, look here:


If you need to order a certificate from TSLA (the state archives), look here:


There are record images online and also indexes of records that are not yet public. For these there are indexes online which give the name, county, date and certificate number:

Marriages and Divorces after 1980, and deaths, statewide are located at the Shelby County, TN Registrar's site. At the link below, go to the middle column and find "Tennessee Vital Records", and under that are the three links for this: Death Records 1949-2009, Marriage Records 1980-2009, and Divorce Records 1980-2009.