Meigs County, Tennessee Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Tennessee Gotoarrow.png Meigs County

Meigs County, Tennessee genealogy and family history research page. Guide to Meigs County (established 1836) genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

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Online Records

Meigs County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Meigs County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Meigs County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: January 20, 1836
County Seat Decatur
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Quick Dates

Meigs County's civil records start the following years:[1]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1908 1838  1908  1840  1879  1836 

County Courthouse

Meigs County Courthouse, Decatur, Tenn.

Meigs County Courthouse
Main Street P O Box 218
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-5747

County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1836.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [2]

Meigs County Clerk
Marriage and probate records
17214 State Highway 58 N.
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-5747

Meigs County Register of Deeds
Land Records
P.O. Box 246
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-5228

Meigs County Circuit Court Clerk
Court records
17214 State Hwy. 58, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 205
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-5821

Mon.-Tues. and Thurs.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sat. 8:30 a.m.-Noon
Closed Wednesdays


East Tennessee county. Established 1836.

The county is named after Revolutionary War hero and Indian Agent Return Jonathan Meigs (1740-1823).[3]

Parent County

1836--Meigs County was established 20 January 1836 from Cherokee Indian Lands.
County seat: Decatur [4]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[5] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[6] (female)

Boundary Changes

"Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the My Tennessee Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss

1904, 1964--Fires damaged records

  • Lost census: 1890
  • Lack of marriage records: 1836 and 1837
  • Lost deeds: 1836 to 1878

Although these are not burned records, applying strategies used for burned counties may aid in compensating for their loss. For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Populated Places

Akeman Crossroad Culvahouse Goodfield Sewee
Big Spring Cute (hist.) Maple Grove Surprise
Boggess Crossroad Decatur Moores Cross Roads (hist.) Ten Mile
Breedenton East View Mouth of Hewassee (hist.) Union Grove
Brittsville Euchee Peakland Walnut Grove
Calico Fairview Pineland (hist.)
Cayuga Town (hist.) Fooshee Bend (hist.) Pleasant Hill
Cotton Port (hist.) Forest Grove Scott

Neighboring Counties



Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Meigs County biography, cemetery, census, court, guardianship, land, marriage, and tax records. To determine which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.

Research Guides

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans


Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

  • 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.
  • Meigs Co. TN Cemetery Records, part of the TNGenWeb Cemetery Database, lists many cemeteries in the county, often with indexes and transcripts of the burials.

Meigs County Historical Society Meigs County, Tennessee, cemetery records Decatur, Tennessee : Meigs County Historical Society, c1996 FHL US/CAN book 976.8836 V3 Free lookups available!


1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Meigs 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 Meigs, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. [The USGenWeb Census Project®].


1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners


  • Broyles, Bettye J. A Compendium of Rhea and Meigs Counties, Tennessee, 1808 through 1850. 1980. FHL US/CAN Book 976.883 V2b.
  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. [Includes 1850 census.]
  • Maddux, Agnes. Tennessee Population Schedule of the United States Census of 1850, Meigs County. n.p.: n.p., n.d. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2p 1850.


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. [Includes 1860 census.]


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. [Includes 1870 census.]


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. [Includes 1880 census.]
  • Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census, Meigs County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler & Associates, 1991. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2s 1880.


  • Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. 1983. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8836 X2b. [Includes 1900 census.]



  • Rhea county Historical and Genealogical Society (Spring City, Tennessee) and Bettye J. Broyles Meigs County, Tennessee County Court minute book 1, 1836-1841, town of Decatur commission minutes, 1836-1840, Trustees book of claims, 1836- 1845, Strays taken up by ranger, 1836-1845 [Decatur, Tennessee]: Rhea County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1992. FHL US/CAN book 976.8836 P28  Free lookups available!

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]


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Meigs, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 10,000 entries.


  • [Blackwell] Saylor, Ronald. The Blackwell Researcher's Newsletter. Grass Valley, Calif.: J. Saylor, 1998-. FHL 929.27305 B568b.
  • [Carter] Ross, Ernest Lafayette and William C. Carter. John Andrew Hickman, John Carter, Lewis Carter: Some Ancestors and Descendents. Cleveland, Tenn.: E.L. Ross & W.C. Carter, 1979. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 C245r.
  • [Lillard] Lillard, Jasper Worth. The Lillard Collection. MSS. FHL US/CAN Film 570830-570832.
  • [Qualls] Curtis, John T. and Grace Curtis. Qualls Cousins: Families and Descendants of Nathan Qualls Sr. of Meigs County, Tn. Tularosa, N.M.: J. Curtis, 1992. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Q25c.
  • [Rhinehart] Ferris, Dixie Rhinehart Calder. Caswell Rhinehart Family Journal, 1844 to 1997. Cary, N.C.: D.R.C. Ferris, 1997. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 R345f.
  • [Rothwell] Fischer, Myra Smith. A Rothwell Book: Comprising the Descendants of Claiborne Rothwell of Albemarle County, Virginia, through Nine Generations and Interesting Sketches About Some of His Descendants. Memphis, Tennessee: M.S. Fischer, 1964. Available at FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 R746f; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Tillery] Taylor, Patty Hughes. Discovering Our Tillery Family -- Yesterday and Today: Descendants of Samuel Thomas Tillery. Atkins, Ark.: P.H. Taylor, 2001. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 T463tp.


The original Meigs County Deed Books do not survive before 1879. TSLA microfilmed Deed Books A to 3 (1879-1964). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 455527-455541. The following records serve as substitutes and may help to alleviate some of the record loss:

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. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories

  • Meigs County Heritage Book Committe The history of Meigs County, Tennessee and its people, 1836-1997 Walsworth Pub., 1997. Free lookups available!



  • Vincent, Don. 800 Missouri Families. 5 vols. Seattle, Wash.: n.p., 1988-1990. FHL US/CAN Book 977.8 D2v ff. [Discusses Missouri families with Meigs County origins.]


Revolutionary War

War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan. 1961):20-23. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. [Includes Meigs County pensioners (p. 23).]

Civil War

Civil War service men from Meigs County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Meigs County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Meigs County:


  • 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 Meigs County click on the following town:


  • Miller, Alan N. East Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1778 to 1911. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2m. Digital version at World Vital Records ($). Purchase at [Includes Meigs 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:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Meigs County, Tennessee have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.
East Tennessee Roots
A genealogical article with abstracts of Meigs County, Tennessee records has been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to this publication's articles is available online. Surname indexes to Volumes 9 and 10 are also available online. The Family History Library has collected most issues of East Tennessee Roots FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 D25e.


Learn if your Meigs County ancestors went to prison!

Private Papers


The original Meigs County Will Books are kept at the County Courthouse. In 1964, TSLA microfilmed Wills, Inventories, and Settlements for the years 1836-1964. FHL copies: FHL Films 455524-455526.

FamilySearch has placed scans of the following records online in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 collection. These are browse-only collections. Handwritten indexes may be found at the front or back of some volumes:

  • Wills, 1836-1964 (4 vols.)
  • Inventories, Sales, Wills, 1850-1858
  • Guardian records, 1836-1850
  • Insolvent estate records, 1876-1958
  • Probate records, 1836-1962 (6 vols.)
  • Settlements, 1837-1929 (4 vols.)

The following Meigs County probate records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1836-1861] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s. [Includes an index to this county's probate records.] Free Lookups Available!


The original Meigs County Tax Books (1839-1863, 1872-1883, 1940-1964) are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed these records in 1964. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 455551-455556.

Vital Records


Marriages were not officially recorded in Meigs County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice.[8] The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

  • Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2L.

The following Meigs County Courthouse marriage records have been indexed:

  • 1838-1895 - Meigs County Marriage Index 1838-1895 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - free.[7]
  • 1838-1850 - Broyles, Bettye J. A Compendium of Rhea and Meigs counties, Tennessee, 1808 through 1850 [S.I. : s.n.], 1980. Includes records of marriages, census, and other miscellaneous informaiton. FHL US/CAN book 976.883 V2b. Free Lookups Available!
  • 1838-1870 - Lucas, Silas Emmett and Ella Lee Sheffield. 35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records and Bonds 1783-1870. 3 vols. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1981. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2t v. 1 ff. [Abstracts include names of brides, grooms, bondsmen, marriage bond dates, and officiators for weddings in this county for the roughly specified years. Marriage data taken from an index card file at TSLA. Authors do not specify whether or not the card index completely indexes this county's marriages.]
  • 1838-1865 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early East Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1987. FHL US/CAN 976.8 V2s v. 1. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.] Free Lookups Available!
  • 1850-1900 - Broyles, Bettye J. Meigs County, Tennessee Census and Marriage Records, 1850 through 1900. [S.I. : s.n.], 1983. FHL US/CAN book 976.8836 X2Free Lookups Available!
  • 1851-1865 - Meigs County Marriages (1851-1865) Free Lookups Available!

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Meigs County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, see:

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.

For deaths of Methodists in Meigs County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Societies and Libraries

Meigs County Historical Museum and Society
200 Smith Ave.
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-4424

East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay St.
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-1629
Phone: 865-215-8824

Meigs-Decatur Public Library
120 Memorial Drive
Decatur, TN 37322
Phone: 1-423-334-3332
Hours: Mon. and Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues. and Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Family History Centers

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Meigs County, Tennessee


  1. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey (W.P.A.), 1941; "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Meigs County, Tennessee page 642, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 642. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  5. Voice of Joyce Gaston Reece, Friends of the Archives Historical and Preservation Society, Monroe Co., TN., Secretary and American Local History Network, Board of Directors, Vice President (2010).
  6. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  8. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL US/CAN Book 973 B2ng v. 81 (1993)