Smith County, Tennessee Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Carthage
Organized: October 26, 1799
Parent County(s): Sumner[1]
Neighboring Counties
DeKalb  • Jackson  • Macon  • Putnam  • Trousdale  • Wilson
See County Maps
Smith County, Tennessee Courthouse.JPG
Location Map
Location of Smith County, Tennessee.PNG
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Daniel Smith, a Revolutionary War veteran who made the first map of Tennessee and served as a United States senator. The County is located in the north-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Smith County Courthouse
211 Main Street
Carthage, TN 37030
County Courthouse Phone: 615-735-2092
County Clerk Phone: 615-735-9833
County Register of Deeds Phone: 615-735-1760

Register of Deeds has land records.
County Clerk has birth, marriage, death and probate records.[3]

Smith 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
1881 1838 1881 1799 1801 1805 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

  • Lost censuses: 1800, 1810
  • Lack of marriage records: 1799 to 1837
  • Lack of probate records: 1799 to 1804

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1799--Smith County was established 26 October 1799 from Sumner County. Early records may be found under Sumner County.
  • County seat: Carthage[5]

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed at the 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:[6]

Unincorporated communities

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information
Middle Tennessee county established in 1799. The northern part of the county belonged to the pioneer Cumberland Settlements.[7]

The county is named after "American Revolutionary War officer and U.S. Senator Daniel Smith (1748-1818)."[8]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

  • Miller, Alan N. Middle Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1784 to 1902. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2004. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2ma. Purchase at Includes Smith County.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Smith 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.
1800 4,294
1810 11,649 171.3%
1820 17,580 50.9%
1830 19,906 13.2%
1840 21,179 6.4%
1850 18,412 −13.1%
1860 16,357 −11.2%
1870 15,994 −2.2%
1880 17,799 11.3%
1890 18,404 3.4%
1900 19,026 3.4%
1910 18,548 −2.5%
1920 17,134 −7.6%
1930 15,473 −9.7%
1940 16,148 4.4%
1950 14,098 −12.7%
1960 12,059 −14.5%
1970 12,509 3.7%
1980 14,935 19.4%
1990 14,143 −5.3%
2000 17,712 25.2%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.

1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Smith 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 Smith County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files and scanned images of census microfilm. The USGenWeb Census Project®.

1800 Lost

1810 Lost

Substitute is available:

  • Sherrill, Charles A. The Reconstructed 1810 Census of Tennessee: 33,000 Long-lost Records from Tax Lists, Court Minutes, Church Records, Wills, Deeds and Other Sources. Mt. Juliet, Tenn.: C.A. Sherrill, 2001. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1810.



  • Family records of Smith County, Tennessee (Carthage, Tenn. County seat) as given the US census taker in 1830 & 1820. Available at FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Bentley, Elizabeth P. Index to the 1820 Census of Tennessee. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. FHL 976.8 X22b 1820
  • Waldrep, G.C. "'Free Colored' Heads of Household in the 1820 Tennessee Census," available online, courtesy: Free African Americans website. Includes free African Americans in this county.

1820 Manufactures

The original manufactures schedules for the Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee are kept at the NARA, Washington, D.C. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 1024517-1024518.


  • Family records of Smith County, Tennessee (Carthage, Tenn. County seat) as given the US census taker in 1830 & 1820. Available at FamilySearch Digital Library.


  • Family records of Smith County, Tennessee as given the United States census taker in 1840 : (Carthage, Tennessee, county seat). Available at FamilySearch Digital Library.

1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners


  • Bell, Annie W.B.Family Records of Smith County, Carthage, Tennessee as Given the United States Census Taker, 1850. Salt Lake City, Utah Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1987. FHL 1321375 Item 4
  • McKinney, Irene. 1850 census, Smith County Tennessee and Index. Lompoc, California Mrs. R.Q. McKinney, 1976. FHL 976.852 X2c

1850 Agricultural Census

  • Green, Linda L. Tennessee 1850 Agricultural Census. 2 vols. Woodbridge, Va.: L.L. Green, 2000. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2g v. 1 ff. Smith County is included in Vol. 2.


  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. ’’1880 Census Smith County, Tennessee.’’ Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler and Associates, 1993. FHL 976.852 X2s 1880
  • Smith, Mary Beth. Family Records of Smith County, Tennessee, United States Census of 1880. Utica, Kentucky McDowell Publications, 198-?

1890 Lost, but 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. 6 1891. Smith County is included in Vol. 6.
  • 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


Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes


  1. Dixon Creek Baptist Church, Minutes 1799-1807
  2. Dixon Creek Baptist Church Minutes, 1799-1853
  3. Dixon Creek Baptist Church Minutes, 1807-1811
  4. Dixon Creek Baptist Church Minutes, 1812-1818
  5. Round Lick Baptist Association Minutes, Bildad Meeting House, 1866
  6. United Baptist Section Minutes, 1838-1850

Court Records[edit | edit source]

  • Free online index to the court records transcribed by the WPA, created by Steve Carson, courtesy: GSC Associates Historical Records Products (the pages may load slowly). For a small fee, the company sells a set of five Smith County CDs, which include a digitized version of these court records, and a variety of other local records. The court records included in the free online index are:
  1. Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Minute Book, 1799-1800
  2. Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Minute Book, 1808-1811
  3. County Court Minute Book,1799-1804-1835
  4. County Court Minute Book, 1813-1815
  5. County Court Minute Book, 1815-1817
  6. County Court Minute Book, Volume 8, 1819-1820
  7. County Court Minute Book, Volume 9, 1820-1822
  8. County Court Minute Book, Volume 10, 1822-1824

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. [9] January 25, 2005. In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service. The TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. Online searchable index at TSLA.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding 1 British alien living in Smith County. Ancestry $ [10]

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

African Americans

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]



  • Apple - McKinney, Irene. Apple Tree: Smith and Jackson Counties, Tennessee; Especially Apple, McDonald and Ferrell Families. Lompoc, Calif.: I. McKinney, 1992. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Ap52mi.
  • Barkley - Fischer, Kathryn Barkley The Barkley brigade the story of John Barkley of Smith County, Tennessee and his descendants, 1753-1994 Covington, Louisiana Barkley-Symons Enterprises, 1994. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library; FHL book 929.273 B246..
  • Barnett - Barnett, Albert. The Barnetts of Smith County, Tennessee: Some Ancestors and Descendants. Lubbock, Texas: A. Barnett, 1963. FHL US/CAN Film 1035690 Item 6.
  • Doss - Murphy, Nathan W. Descendants of Azariah Doss and His Wife Lydia (Ayres) Doss. Hanson, Ky.: David W. Murphy and Associates, 1998. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D741m.
  • Elston - Armstrong, Zella. Notable Southern Families. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Lookout Publishing Company, 1926. Vol. 3. Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library - free.
  • Gist - Dorsey, Jean Muir. Christopher Gist of Maryland and Some of His Descendants, 1679-1957, Chicago, IL: J.S. Swift Co., 1958. Available at FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 G447d; digital versions at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • Hall - Allen, Rick.Claiborne Hall and Elizabeth Herod of Smith County, Tennessee: Ancestry and Descendants, Volume I, Festus, Missouri: No Waste Publishing, 2010.
  • Hughes - Hughes, William Joseph Leander. The Hughes Family, and Connections especially the Gass, Ward and Boze Families. Owensboro, KY: Unknown, 1911. Available at FHL US/CAN Book 976.989 D2p v. 1; FHL US/CAN Film 1321218. Digital versions at Google Books (full view); and Heritage Quest ($).
  • Jordan - Bamman, Gale Williams. "Challenging the Obvious Conclusion: Which John J. Jordan Did Alexander Produce?" National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 4 (December 1994):255-268. FHL Book 973 B2ng
  • Knight - Garrett, Jill Knight. Knight Cousins. Columbia, TN: Unknown, 1967. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 928090; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • Lewis - McBride, Robert Martin. A Footnote to a History of the Lewis Family. Nashville, TN: Unknown, 1954. Available at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • Seay - Seay, Kirby Cook Here lies John Seay a biographical history of the Seay (See) family Stanislaus County, California K.C. Seay, 1975. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library; FHL book 929.273 Se19sk.
  • West - West, Hoke Holland. What is in a Name? West: The Life of a Family, a People, Their History, Their Homes, Their Lands and Their Hopes, Their Labors and Their Courage, Their Faith, Their Devotion and Their Loyalty, Their Love and Their Dreams. Gallatin, Tenn.: Quality Printing, 1970. FHL Book 929.273 W52a

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]


Local Land Entries Issued by North Carolina
The original Smith County land entries issued by North Carolina are kept at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. On their website, users can bring up a list of land entries issued in Smith County, both before and after its land became a part of the state of Tennessee. Years covered: 1783-1804.


  1. Follow this link to conduct a "Call Number Search" using the MARS Catalog on their site.
  2. Using the pull down window, change "Call Numbers starting" to "A MarsID matching."
  3. Type 12.14.16 (Windows Vista users may need to include a period after the last digit, for example 12.14.16.) and click Search. This is the specific MarsID for Smith County.
  4. Click on the entry that is returned: "Tennessee, Smith County."
  5. In the window that pops up, click Show List of Child Records and a list of Smith County land entries will be produced. Browse to find abstracts of the original records.[11]

N.B. You can also search by name through the Basic Search, but it lacks soundex capabilities.

Land Grants

  • Free index to 1500+ Pioneer Cumberland Settlements Land Grants, available online, courtesy: Cumberland Pioneer Settlers. The Cumberland Settlements region covered what is now this county. To view the land grants platted on maps, purchase the books described on this site, or access those available at the Family History Library FHL US/CAN Large Q Book 976.8 E7d.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Jackson CountyTrousdale CountyMacon CountyPutnam CountyDeKalb CountyWilson CountyTN SMITH.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

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

Additional resources include:

War of 1812

Mexican War

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Smith 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 Smith County:

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Smith County:

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee newspapers. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:
  • 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 Smith County click on the following town:
  • 1794-1851 - Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL 976.8 V2L.
  • 1847 - 1851 - Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, the Nashville Christian Advocate. [1847-1914] 10 vols. [Jackson, Tenn.]: J.K.T. Smith, 1997-2003. FHL US/CAN Books 976.855/N1 V48s 1847-1851 ff; digital versions at David Donahue Memorial: Tennessee Records Repository. Website expands upon the publications and includes deaths from the 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s. (Largely Methodist?)

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Learn if your Smith County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!

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 Smith County Court and Probate Court have responsibility for the probate records. Many records are held by the Smith County Archives, located in the basement of the Smith County Library.

Online Records and Indexes

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1803-1861 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills and Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler and Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s. Includes an index to this county's probate records.
  • 1803-1896 - Key, Finnis Carmack. Smith County, Tennessee Wills, 1803-1896. Utica, Kentucky: McDowell Publications, 1985. Indexed. (FHL book 976.852 P2k.)
  • 1805-1823 - Crumpton, Barbara J. Smith County, Tennessee Will Books. Duncan, Oklahom Creative Copies, 2006. 3 volumes. Indexed. (FHL book 976.852 P2c v. 1-3.)

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1789 Cumberland Settlements, Tax List, 1789, The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 1990). For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • 1814 - "Direct Federal Tax-Delinquent Property Owners Listed for 1814," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Fall 1996):115-120. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. Includes Smith County.
  • 1836 - Roddy, Vernon. "Civil Districts of Smith County, Tennessee, in 1836," The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1986):6-12. For access, see Periodicals.
  • 1837 Shelton, Kenneth and Steven Denney. "1837 Smith County Tax List," (work in progress) available online, courtesy: RootsWeb.
  • 1860 Maggart, Sue W. "Smith County Tax List 1860," Smith County Historical Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1997); Vol. 9, No. 3 (1997).
  • 1862 - "Smith County, Tennessee-1862 Direct Tax List," The Upper Cumberland Researcher, Vol. 3, No. 4 ():25-. For access, see Periodicals.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online indexes and Records

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1838-1854 - Smith County, Tennessee Marriage schedules and index: Part one, part two, 5 Feb. 1838-15 March 1854. FHL Book 976.852 V2m
  • 1838-1870 - Early Middle Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 2 ff. Indexes of brides, grooms, marriage dates for this county for specified years.
  • 1838-1881 - Smith County, Tennessee marriage records, 1838-1881. FHL Book 976.852 V2s
  • 1881-1920 - Smith County, Tennessee marriages, 1881-1920. FHL Book 976.852 V28ms Indexed.

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 Smith 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 Smith County. For state-wide library facilities, see Tennessee Archives and Libraries.

Smith County Public Library
215 North Main St.
Carthage, TN 37030
Phone: 615-735-1326>br>Facebook

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Smith County Historical and Genealogical Society of Tennessee
Carthage, TN 37030

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: Smith County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
  • Denney, Steven L. "Research Sources for Smith County, Tennessee," available online, courtesy: RootsWeb.
  • "Smith County Genealogical Records Survey," The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 1988). For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.

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, "Smith, Tennessee" in wikipedia accessed 08 Jan 2019
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Smith County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Tennessee, accessed 12 December 2019.
  7. Founding of the Cumberland Settlements: The First Atlas 1779-1804.
  8. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  9. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  10. Kenneth Scott. British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979, 372-378 (see West Tennessee). FHL US/CAN 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  11. J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  12. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at Media:Igitennessees.pdf.
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at PDF.
  14. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at pdf.