Tennessee Directories

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Directories have been published for various Tennessee cities and counties since the mid-1800's, though they may not exist for every year. Some directories focus on the businesses or occupations of an area, while others include heads of households, landowners, and voters.

Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. City directories can help you to learn where an ancestor lived. The person’s occupation is frequently given. Often the home address and the business address are both mentioned. When a husband dies, the widow is often listed as “widow of. . . .” Directories at times can help you determine in which ward the family lived, so that when you are searching census records for big cities, you can find your ancestor more easily.

Directories sometimes have maps and addresses of churches, cemeteries, courthouses, and other important locations.

Directories are particularly helpful for research in large cities where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents. In fact, a directory may be the only source to list an ancestor if he was not registered to vote and did not own property. Most households were included because the directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and others interested in contacting residents of an area.

Resources for Tennessee Directories[edit | edit source]

Libraries and Archives[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the University of Tennessee, and other Tennessee repositories have large collections of city and county directories. Lists of city directories and telephone books at the Tennessee State Library and Archives are available on their web site:

Many groups have created directories of their organizational structure and members or personnel.

Companies may create directories of their subscribers. The directories that were published for public distribution are the ones most likely to find their way into libraries and archives. Typical examples of directories in an archive are city directories, telephone directories, church directories, occupational directories, farmers directories, or rosters of society members. These directories may range from local to international in scope. Often the most recent edition of a directory is the only one an archive will have on hand.

See the article, United States Directories, for more detailed information on the value and content of directories. See the Tennessee Archives and Libraries article for facilities with regional collections which might include directories.

Directories Online[edit | edit source]

Family History Library[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has city directories for various years from throughout the state of Tennessee including:


1853-1861 Family History Library film 6044160-6044165

1860-1901 Family History Library film 1377091-1377105

1902-1935 Family History Library film 1611835-1611848

1940 etc. Family History Library book 976.855/N1 E4p


1869–1881, 1902–1935 Family History Library film 1844154


1849-1935 Family History Library film 6044115

The Family History Library has compact discs that incorporate telephone directories for most of the United States. These directories are not at Family History Centers but may be used at the Family History Library. Current telephone directories can also be found on the Internet and may assist in finding living relatives.

To find directories, consult the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Websites[edit | edit source]

  1. May be used for free at Family History Center. To locate a center near you, click here.