Van Buren County, Tennessee Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Spencer
Organized: January 3, 1840
Parent County(s): White, Warren, Bledsoe[1]
Neighboring Counties
Bledsoe  • Cumberland  • Sequatchie  • Warren  • White
See County Maps
Van-buren County Tennessee courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Van Buren County Tennessee.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Van Buren County was named for President Martin Van Buren, an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 8th president of the United States from 1837 to 1841.[2] The county is located in the central area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Van Buren County Courthouse
Veterans' Square P O box 126
Spencer, TN 38585
County Courthouse Phone: 931-946-2121
County Clerk Phone: 931-946-2121
County Register of Deeds Phone: 931-946-7363
County Circuit Court Clerk Phone: 931-946-2153
County Elected Officials Phone: 931-946-2314

County Clerk has birth records 1925-1938, death records 1926-1938, marriage andprobate records from 1840.
Clerk and Master has divorce records from 1840.
General Sessions Court has court records from 1840.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1840.[4]

Van Buren 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[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1925 1840 1926 1840 1840 1840 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

  • Marriage records: Records start from 1840, but are incomplete.
  • Probate records: Records start from 1840, but are incomplete. [6]

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

This county suffered a catastrophic fire 8 Jan 2015 and the original records were destroyed by fire. The courthouse is still standing because it is a tiny historic structure and was not the repository for the records any more. Bad News & Good News -- Van Buren County TN Office Destroyed By Fire & Microfilmed Copies of Many Records Available

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1840--Van Buren County was established 3 January 1840 from White, Warren, and Bledsoe Counties. Early records may be found under White, Warren, and Bledsoe Counties.
  • County seat: Spencer[7]

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]

Bone Cave Laurelburg Olio (hist.) Sparkman
Caneridge (hist.) Laurel Cove Phiferes Spencer
Chalybeate Lonewood Pine Creek Sweetgum
Cummingsville McElroy Pine Grove Welchland
Gillentine (hist.) Meade (hist.) Riverview White Hill
Harmony Mooneyham Sopha (hist.)

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information

President Martin Van Buren (1782-1862)

Middle Tennessee county.

The county is named after President Martin Van Buren (1782-1862).[8]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • Douthat, James L. Van Buren County, Tennessee Biographies. 1887; reprint, Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free Surname Index and purchase details at Mountain Press website.

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

  • Middle Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1784 to 1902. 2004. By Alan N. Miller. Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield Company. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2ma. Includes Van Buren County.
  • Tennessee Bureau of Agriculture, Statistics and Mines. Coal Mines and Mining--Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: A.B. Travel, 1883. Free digital copy.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Van Buren 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.
1850 2,674
1860 2,581 −3.5%
1870 2,725 5.6%
1880 2,933 7.6%
1890 2,863 −2.4%
1900 3,126 9.2%
1910 2,784 −10.9%
1920 2,624 −5.7%
1930 3,516 34.0%
1940 4,090 16.3%
1950 3,985 −2.6%
1960 3,671 −7.9%
1970 3,758 2.4%
1980 4,728 25.8%
1990 4,846 2.5%
2000 5,508 13.7%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.

1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Van Buren 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 Van Buren, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files and scanned images of census microfilm. The USGenWeb Census Project®.



  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1850. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1982. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1850


  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1860. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1982. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1860


  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1870. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1982. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1870


  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1880. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1983. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1880
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census Van Buren County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler and Associates, 1999. FHL 976.8657 X2s 1880

1891 Male Voters


  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1900. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1983. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1900


  • Rhinehart, Margaret. United States census Van Buren County, Tennessee, 1910. Spencer, Tennessee: Van Buren County Historical Society, 1984. FHL 976.8657 X2r 1910


  • Young, Denise, ed.. Van Buren County, Tennessee Census, 1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Available at Ancestry

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. 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.] 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]

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

Native Americans

  • Walker, Opless and Landon D. Medley. Synthesis of Available Data Concerning Indians in Van Buren County, Tennessee. Doyle, Tenn.: Medley Research Group, 1985. FHL US/CAN Book 970.1 S78. WorldCat

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Bledsoe CountySequatchie CountyGrundy CountyWarren CountyWhite CountyCumberland CountyTN VAN BUREN.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

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

Additional sources

  • Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions. Washington, D.C., 1852. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1969, and 1991. Reprints include "an Added Index to States." Digital version at Ancestry. Tennessee entries abstracted online at Tennesseans in the Revolutionary War, courtesy: TNGenWeb. Includes veterans from this county; Tennessee section begins on page 381.

War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul. 1961):95-98. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. Includes Van Buren County pensioners (p. 98).

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Van Buren 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 Van Buren County:

Confederate Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Van Buren County:

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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 Van Buren County click on the following 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 Van Buren County Court has responsibility for probate records.

Online Records and Indexes

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1840-1861 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & 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.
  • USGenWeb's Van Buren County page has some will abstracts.

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1812 Combs-Coombs &c. "1812 Warren Co, Tennessee Tax Lists (A Start toward an Annotated List) Index and Search Engine," available online, courtesy: Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group and Warren Co., TNGenWeb. Benjamin Lockhart's District includes the area that later became Van Buren County.
  • 1891 Tax List, 1891, Van Buren County Historical Journal, Vol. 6 (1986).

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online indexes and Records

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1840-1870 - 35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records and Bonds 1783-1870. 3 vols. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2t v. 1 ff. Includes names of brides, grooms, bondsmen, marriage bond dates, and officiators for this county for specified years.
  • 1840-1875 - Early Middle Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 2 ff. Indexes names of brides, grooms, marriage dates for this county for specified years.
  • 1840-1935 - Van Buren County marriage records: book I through book V, May 21, 1840 to September 2, 1935. FHL Book 976.8657 V2v

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

Burritt Memorial Library
P.O. Box 18
427 College St.
Spencer, TN 38585-0018
Phone: 931-946-2575
Fax: 931-946-2575

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Van Buren Co. TN Genealogy Chat

Van Buren County Historical Society
330 Baker Mountain Rd
Spencer, TN 38585
Phone: 931-808-1454

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

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 in "Martin Van Buren" in Wikipedia, accessed 22 Jun 2022.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Van Buren, Tennessee" in Wikipedia, accessed 09 Jan 2019
  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. Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee States Library and Archives, 1966), 47.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Tennessee.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. "Martin Van Buren," Wikipedia.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at Media:Igitennessees.pdf.