Lake County, Tennessee Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Tiptonville
Organized: June 24, 1870
Parent County(s): Obion[1]
Neighboring Counties
Dyer  • Fulton (KY)  • New Madrid (MO)  • Obion  • Pemiscot (MO)
See County Maps
Lake County, Tennessee Courthouse.JPG
Location Map
Location of Lake County, Tennessee.PNG
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Reelfoot Lake. The County is located in the northwest area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lake County Courthouse
229 Church Street
Tiptonville,TN 38079-1162
County Courthouse Phone: 731-253-8926
County Clerk Phone: 731-253-7582
Register of Deeds Phone: 731-253-7462
Circuit Court Clerk Phone: 731-253-7137

County Clerk has probate records from 1870 and marriage records from 1883
Clerk Chancery and Circuit Court have divorce records
Registrar and Tax Assessor have land records. [3]

Lake 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
1914 1883 1914 1870 1870 1870 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

  • Lost marriage records: 1870 to 1883

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1870--Lake County was created 24 June 1870 from Obion County.
  • County seat: Tiptonville[5]

County boundaries have not changed since its creation.
For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free 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
  • Bessie
  • Blue Bank
  • Cates
  • Cottonwood Grove
  • Keefe
  • Lake Drive
  • Madie
  • Mooring
  • Owl City

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information

Reelfoot Lake, Lake and Obion Counties, Tenn.

West Tennessee county. Established 1870.

The county is named after Reelfoot Lake.[7]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

  • Miller, Alan N. West Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1821 to 1889. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2man. Purchase at Includes Lake County.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Lake 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.
1870 2,428
1880 3,968 63.4%
1890 5,304 33.7%
1900 7,368 38.9%
1910 8,704 18.1%
1920 9,075 4.3%
1930 10,486 15.5%
1940 11,235 7.1%
1950 11,655 3.7%
1960 9,572 −17.9%
1970 7,896 −17.5%
1980 7,455 −5.6%
1990 7,129 −4.4%
2000 7,954 11.6%
2010 7,832 −1.5%
Source: "".

1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Lake 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


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census Lake County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee Byron Sistler and Associates, 2002 FHL US/CAN book 976.812 X2

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. 3 1891. Lake County is included in Vol. 3.
  • 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]

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]



Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

  • Lake County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1870 and is located at Courthouse, 116 S. Court, Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079; Telephone: (731) 253-7582. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries
  • The Family History Library has microfilmed copies on deeds 1870-1914 with indexes 1870-1969; and land entry books 1893-1929.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Fulton CountyNew Madrid CountyPemiscot CountyObion CountyDyer CountyTN LAKE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

War of 1812
There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Lake County on 2 January 1883.[8] [9]

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Lake 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 Lake County:

Confederate Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Lake County:

Civil War Battle
The following Civil War Battle was fought in Lake County:

February 28-April 8, 1862 - New Madrid/Island No. 10[10]

Map showing Civil War battles in Missouri.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the 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 Lake County click on the following towns:

  • 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]

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 County Court has responsibility for the probate records of Lake County.

Online Records and Indexes

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

The original Lake County Tax Books 1878-1879 are kept at the County Courthouse. In 1976, TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copy: FHL US/CAN Film 1007798 Item 2.

Book Abstracts and Indexes

  • 1891 Moore, Leslie. "Lake County, Tennessee 1891 Voter's List," Districts 1-4 available online, courtesy TNGenWeb. Scroll down to "Census and Voter's Lists"

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]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Ridgely Public Library
134 N Main St.
Ridgley, TN 38080
Phone: 731-264-5809

Tiptonville Public Library
126 Tipton St.
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Phone: 731-253-7391
E-mail: tipvle@bellsouthnet
Website facebook

West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Phone: 731-881-7094
Hours vary by semesterWebsite

The Heritage Study Center holds a variety of genealogical resources including materials relating to the following counties in Tennessee: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, Wayne, Weakley and Carlisle (KY), Fulton (KY), and Hickman (KY) counties in Kentucky.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Lake County Tennessee Genealogy & History Website
655 Lake Drive
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Website Facebook

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, "Lake, Tennessee" in,_Tennessee accessed 24 Dec 2018
  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, "Lake County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Tennessee, accessed 30 November 2019.
  7. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  8. Heritage Preservation Services, War of 1812 There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Lake County on 2 January 1883.
  9. Hermione D. Embry, "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Oct. 1960):90-93. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 7 (1960); digital version at journal website. [Discussion of Lake County on page 92.]
  10. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at