Tennessee Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1955 .

Collection Time Period

Indexes death events, 1908-1925. The year 1913 is not indexed because no deaths were recorded that year.

Record Description

It is only available as an online searchable database. In 2005, it consists of three separate indexes, two of which overlap. More details are found on the website.

Record Content

Tennessee Death Records 1915-1955 (08-0460) DGS 004181493 00010.jpg
Information found in the index 1908-1912:
  • Name
  • County
  • Year of Death
  • Record Number

Information found in the partial index 1914-1925 (only includes 37 counties):

  • Name
  • Age
  • Year of Death
  • County
  • Record Number

Information found in the statewide index 1914-1917:

  • Name
  • County
  • Age (1914 only)
  • Date of Death (starting in 1915)
  • Record Number (1914 only)
  • Volume and Page Numbers (starting in 1915)

How To Use This Record

Use the information from the index to obtain a copy of the original death certificate as explained on the Web site. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the death occurred. 
  • The name of the person at the time of death.
  • The approximate death date.

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestor in the death records. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the death record to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

  • If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Record History

The Tennesse State Library and Archives created this website. The Cleveland Tennessee Public LIbrary created the partial index to deaths 1914-1925 and granted permission to have it posted on this Web site. Covers 70 to 80% of the population.

Why This Record Was Created

The Tennessee State Library and Archives created the website for searchers to know if a death certificate for a specific person is found at their facility.

Record Reliability

The information in the database is very reliable. However, transcription or data entry errors may have occurred.

Related Web Sites

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.

Related Wiki Articles

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Sources of Information For This Collection

“Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1955,” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. FHL microfilm, 577 rolls, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

Temmessee, Death Records, 1914-1955. digital images. From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: January 27, 2011.  Death of Thomas Mastin Rizer, 10 February 1935, Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, file number 1876623.