Houston County, Tennessee Genealogy

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee  Gotoarrow.png  Houston County

Location of Houston County,Tennessee
Houston County Boundary Map

Middle Tennessee county on the Tennessee River. Established 1871.

Quick Dates

Houston County's civil records start the following years:

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
. . . . . .

County Courthouse

Old Houston County Courthouse, Arlington, Tenn. Courtesy: Collection: County Court Houses, Flickr by Jimmy Emerson. Used by permission.
Houston County Courthouse, Erin, Tenn. Courtesy: Collection: County Court Houses, Flickr by Jimmy Emerson. Used by permission.

Houston County Courthouse
4725 East Main Street
Erin, Tennessee 37061
Phone: 931-289-3141

Houston County Clerk
Marriage,probate and court records
4725 East Main Street, Room 100
Erin, TN 37061
Phone 931-289-3141

Houston County Register of Deeds
Land records
4725 East Main Street, Room 103
P.O. Box 412
Erin, TN 37061
Phone: 931-289-3510

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 4:30 pm

Sm-raogk.gif Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has found volunteers available to do lookups at this courthouse. Request guidelines.


Gov. Sam Houston (1793-1863)

The county is named after Sam Houston (1793-1863), Governor of Tennessee and later of Texas.[1]

Parent County

1871--Houston County was created 23 January 1871 from Dickson, Humphreys, and Stewart Counties. 
County seat: Erin[2]

From 1788 to 1796 people living in what is now part of Houston County were in extinct Tennessee County. Their records for that period are now found in Robertson County, Tennessee.[3]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

  • Lost census: 1890
  • County records are complete.[4]


Populated Places

Arlington Ellis Mills McKinnon Spring Hill
Brownsville Erin Midway Spring Valley
Cotton Patch Crossroads Grays Crossing New Hope Stewart
Danville (hist.) Griffin (hist.) Omega (hist.) Tennessee Ridge
Denmark Lewis Branch Pollard Yellow Creek
Dolomite Magnolia Silvertop

Neighboring Counties


Research Guides


  • Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried. Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone. May give obituaries, names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.
  • Maupin, Judith Ann Cemetery records of land between the lakes (betweist rivers) 1814-1982 May 1982. Free lookups available!


1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Houston 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.


  • Finley, Nina. Census of Houston County Area.Erin, Tennessee : Friends of Houston County Library, 19--?. vol.9 FHL 976.836 X2f
  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census - Houston County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler & Associates, 2000. FHL 976.836 X2s 1880

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. 2 1891. [Houston County is included in Vol. 2.]
  • 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.


  • Finley, Nina. Census of Houston County Area.Erin, Tennessee : Friends of Houston County Library, 19--?. vol.10 FHL 976.836 X2f


  • Bush, Marisa, ed.. Houston County, Tennessee Census, 1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Available at Ancestry ($)



Family Histories

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]



  • [Adams] Proctor, Irene Adams. The Adams Family Kith and Kin: From Halifax County, Virginia to Yellow Creek Valley and Grices Creek, Houston County, Tennessee; a Narrative Account: History, Biography, Genealogy and Legend. Baltimore, Md.: Gateway Press, 2000. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Ad17pi.
  • [Beasley] Lockhart, William Thomas. The Beasley Family of Benton, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart Counties of Tennessee. Florissant, Missouri: W. Lockhart, 1985. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 B38Lw.
  • [Knight] Garrett, Jill Knight. Knight Cousins. Columbia, TN: Unknown, 1967. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 928090; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).


  • Houston County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1871 and is located at the county Courthouse, P.O. Box 388, 100 Main St., Erin, Tennessee 37061; Telephone: (931) 289-3141. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
  • The Family History Library has microfilm copies of deed books 1871-1967; probate deed books 1871-1957; trust deed books, 1872-1967; Plat books 1853-1967.

Local Histories

  • Goodspeed firm Goodspeed history of Tennessee The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1886 Lookups available for histories of Montgomery, Robinson, Humphreys, Stewart, Dickson, Cheatham, and Houston Counties of Tennessee.
  • Finley, Nina - compiled from records housed at Houston County Board of Education Houston County School Data Pre-1930. 1991 Free lookups available!
  • McClain, Iris Hopkins A history of Houston County. 1966 FHL US/CAN book 976.836 H2 Free lookups available!



War of 1812


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 Houston County click on the following city:


  • 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 Genealogical.com. [Includes Houston County.]


Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

The River Counties

Several genealogical articles with abstracts of Houston County, Tennessee records were published in The River Counties Quarterly, (14 vols.) edited by Jill K. Garrett. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2rc.



Vital Records


The original Houston County marriage records are kept at the County Courthouse. Marriages are available from the time the county was created in 1871.

The following Houston County marriage records are microfilmed:

  • [1871-1991] Available at the TSLA.
  • [1871-1967] Available at the Family History Library. Some volumes are indexed.FHL 547752

The following Houston County marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • Finley, Nina. Newpaper clipping collection : from the attic of Mr. and Mrs. James T. Brigham. Erin, Tennessee : Friends of Houston County Library, 19--. FHL 976.836 B39f
  • RecordSearch at FamilySearch now includes indexed Tennessee marriages.  This is a free pilot site and still under construction.  At this time, it is best to search from the home page, Discover Your Ancestors: indicate a surname, marriage "event", no date, and a county name (i.e. Houston, Tennessee).  Browse through the results for that surname. You may need to supply any variant spellings of the surname in separate searches.
  • Many county marriage records are indexed with images at Ancestry's Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. ($)  Be aware that this index is not complete for many counties.

Houston County is not included in Sistler's Early Middle Tennessee Marriages.


For deaths of Methodists in Houston County (or what later became Houston County) between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Societies and Libraries 

Houston County Historical Society
c/o Nina Finley
P.O. Box 401
Erin, Tennessee 37061

Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society
PO Box 330948
Nashville, TN, USA 37203-7507
The society serves the 40 counties of middle Tennessee of which Houston County is one. It publishes The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, a quarterly containing articles of genealogical and historical interest. Little-known Tennessee records are published and indexed, along with family genealogies, Bible records and material submitted by members. There is an alphabetical Index to articles in the Journal 1988-summer 2005

Houston County Public Library
PO Box 183
Erin, Tennessee 37061-0183
Telephone: (931) 289-3858

West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Hours vary by semester
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, Fulton, and Hickman counties in Kentucky.

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Houston County, Tennessee


  1. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002), 641.
  3. "Tennessee County" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_County (accessed 25 May 2010), and Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004) [FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004], 639.
  4. Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1966), 29.