Putnam County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Guide to Putnam County, Tennessee ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Cookeville
Organized: February 2, 1842
Parent County(s): White, Overton, Jackson, Smith, DeKalb[1]
Neighboring Counties
Cumberland  • DeKalb  • Fentress  • Jackson  • Overton  • Smith  • White
See County Maps
Location Map
Putnam County Tennessee.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Putnam County was named for Israel Putnam, who was a hero in the French and Indian War and a general in the American Revolutionary War. The county is located in the north-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Putnam County Courthouse
421 E Spring Street
Cookeville, TN 38501
County Courthouse Phone: 931-526-6321
County Clerk Phone: 931-372-8201
County Register of Deeds Phone: 931-526-7101
County Circuit Court Clerk Phone: 931-528-1508

County Clerk has birth and death 1925-1940, incomplete birth and death records 1908-1912, marriage records from 1879 and probate records from 1876.
Clerk Chancery Court has divorce and court records from 1900.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1854.
Clerk Circuit Court court records from 1900.
County Historian; Rt. 2, Box 408; Cookeville, TN has miscellaneous court records.[3]

Putnam County, Tennessee Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1908 1879 1908 1900 1854 1876 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1860s Courthouse records were damaged in the American Civil War, 1861-1865.[5]
1898 Fire damaged courthouse records.

  • Lost marriage records: 1842 to 1878
  • Lost probate records: 1842 to 1875

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1842--Putnam County was established 2 February 1842 from White, Overton, Jackson, Smith and DeKalb Counties. Early records may be found under White, Overton, Jackson, Smith and DeKalb Counties.
  • County seat: Cookeville[6]

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
  • Double Springs
  • Dry Valley
  • Gentry
  • Paragon
  • Phifer Mountain
  • Pippin
  • Post Oak

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Israel Putnam

Additional Information
Middle Tennessee county.

The county is named after Revolutionary War Major General Israel Putnam (1718-1790).[8]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Putnam County, Tennessee online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.


Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 8,558
1870 8,698 1.6%
1880 11,501 32.2%
1890 13,683 19.0%
1900 16,890 23.4%
1910 20,023 18.5%
1920 22,231 11.0%
1930 23,759 6.9%
1940 26,250 10.5%
1950 29,869 13.8%
1960 29,236 −2.1%
1970 35,487 21.4%
1980 47,690 34.4%
1990 51,373 7.7%
2000 62,315 21.3%
2010 72,321 16.1%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Putnam County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Putnam County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®.



  • McComb, Joyce B. The First Putnam County, Tennessee, United States Census, 1860. Lexington, South Carolina J.B. McComb, 1989. FHL 976.867 X2m 1860


  • McGee, Norman T. 1870 United States Census of Putnam County, Tennessee. Arrington, Tennessee Lilac Hill Pub., 1989. FHL 976.867 X2m 1870


  • McGee, Norman T. 1880 United States Census of Putnam County, Tennessee. Arrington, Tennessee Lilac Hill Pub., 1989. FHL 976.867 X2m 1880
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census, Putnam County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler and Associates, 1991. FHL 976.867 X2s 1880

1890 Lost Substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 5 1891. Putnam County is included in Vol. 5.
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.

1891 Male Voters


  • Clark, Fred L. The United States Twelfth Census of Putnam County, Tennessee, 1900. Quebeck, Tennessee F.L. Clark, 1994. FHL 976.867 X28v 1900


  • Wilkerson, Azilee, Fred L. Clark, ed. The United States thirteenth Census of Putnam County, Tennessee, 1910. Quebeck, Tennessee F.L. Clark, 1992. FHL 976.867 X2w 1910

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes



Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • The Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association, Inc. has uploaded a free "Index to the Charles Leonard Collection" on their website. It contains "a name index to family research files at the Putnam County Library in Cookeville TN."


  • Dyer - Preator, Richard E. The Descendants of James Dyer and Jane Finn of Jackson Co. Tennessee. Salem, Mass.: Higginson, 1998. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D988p.
  • Maxwell - Maxwell, Harry L. Descendants of Samuel Maxwell of Putnam County and Jackson County, TN. Cookeville, Tenn.: H.L. Maxwell, [199-?]. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 M451mh.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Jackson CountyOverton CountyFentress CountyCumberland CountyWhite CountyDeKalb CountySmith CountyTN PUTNAM.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
The following County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Apr. 1961):49-52. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Putnam County pensioners (p. 50).

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Putnam County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (part of a large regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Putnam County:

Confederate Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Putnam County:

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • Extracts taken from the Putnam County Herald (19--?). FHL book 976.867 B38. Digital version available at FamilySearch Digital Library
  • Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Putnam County click on the following city or town:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Prisons[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Genealogical periodicals can contain unique sources and can be local, regional, or statewide. The following periodicals cover this county:

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The Putnam County Court has responsibility for the probate records.

Online Records and Indexes

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • Works Progress Administration. Putnam County, Tennessee, Miscellaneous Records. Nashville, Tennessee: Byron Sistler & Assoc., 1936. This indexed book includes diaries, letters, wills, indentures, and other misellaneous records from private collections. (FHL book 976.867 P2p.)

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1854-1855 - "Putnam County, Tennessee - Tax Book Index 1854-1855," The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 1, No. 3 ():10-. For access, see Periodicals.
  • 1854-1855 - W.P.A. Putnam County, Tennessee Tax List 1854-1855. 2005 reprint, Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free online surname index; purchase details.
  • 1855 - Paessler, Jane Park. "Putnam County, Tennessee 1855 Tax List," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Spring 1995):7-12; Vol. 42, No. 2 (Summer 1995):61-63. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • 1858 Tax List, 1858, The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Winter 1999). For access, see Periodicals.
  • 1860's - "Putnam County, Tennessee - Civil War Tax List," The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 3, No. 3 ():3-. For access, see Periodicals.
  • 1870-1872 - Civil District No. 16, 1870-72, The Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Fall 1992).
  • 1883 - Freeman, Mitzi P. "Putnam County, TN - Tax Records-1883," (6 Districts) available online, courtesy: USGenWeb Archives.
  • 1913 Road Taxpayers List, 1913, The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter 1998). For access, see Periodicals.
  • Delinquent Railroad Taxes, The Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring 1986). For access, see Periodicals.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

'Online indexes and Records

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Online Titles

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FamilySearch Books Online

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Putnam County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Putnam County. For state-wide library facilities, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Putnam County Library
50 East Broad St.
Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: 931-526-2416
The Tennessee Room houses the library's genealogy collection.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Putnam County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Tennessee Societies.

Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association, Inc.
PO Box 575
Cookeville, TN 38503-0575
Email: info@ucga.info

Websites[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties: Putnam County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Putnam, Tennessee" in Wikipedia accessed 03 Jan 2019
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Putnam County, Tennessee, p.643
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 13 March 2016).
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Putnam County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putnam_County,_Tennessee, accessed 10 December 2019.
  8. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at Media:Igitennesseel.pdf.