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How to Find Death Records in Tennessee?

Public death records Tennessee started being maintained statewide only in 1908. Prior to that, however, larger cities used to maintain their death records. Memphis, for example, has death records dating back to 1874. Nashville and Knoxville have records right from 1881 and Chattanooga have records from 1881. Prior to 1872, there are no death records maintained in the state or any of the cities. So if you want to find Tennessee death records from before 1872, you will have to access other substitute public records like church and cemetery records, census details, newspapers, and obituaries as well as military records. Post-1872, a number of cities did start keeping death records. However, the records are incomplete. For more recent years, however, it will be quite easy to obtain a death certificate due to the availability of online death records.

How to Find Death Records in Tennessee

Tennessee Death Records

The Vital Records Division of the Department of Health, Tennessee has given delegated the responsibility of maintaining and updating Tennessee death records online for the past 50 years statewide. However, if you are looking for death records of an ancestor who passed away in Tennessee, then it is important to note that there are two different types of death records – certified and non-certified.

While non-certified death records are freely accessible and are part of public records, certified death records have restricted access. Only the legal representatives or the immediate family of the deceased can gain access to certified death records. The person needs to give adequate proof that they are either related to are the legal representatives of the deceased before they are granted access to the death records.

How to Find Death  Records in Tennessee?

If you are wondering how to find death records in Tennessee, then there are many options available to you. Here is a list of ways you can request Tennessee death records, both certified and non-certified.

In-person – If you wish to get a copy of the death records of your ancestor in person, you will have to visit the Nashville Vital Records office. The front counter of the office has request forms which you can fill out, or you can fill out an electronic version of the form at the kiosk inside the office premises. Kiosks will auto-approve your identities, but if you are filling out the paper form, you will have to provide paper proof that you are either the child, spouse, parent or legal representative of the deceased. Your application will be approved only if you can provide enough proof. A processing fee is applicable, which you can pay in cash, money order, a check, or via debit or credit card.

Tennessee Death Records

Online – It is now also possible to find Tennessee death records online. The State Vital Office does not accept direct requests online, but you can submit an online request using an independent service provider. There is, of course, a convenience fee that is applicable on all online requests for Tennessee death records. There are online Tennessee death indexes that offer death records from over a century ago. These indexes provide an exhaustive list of databases where you can find death records. You can check out this link for a list of websites that can help you track down death records in Tennessee - https://www.deathindexes.com/tennessee/.
Snail mail - If you want to know how to find death records in Tennessee, then you also have the option of using snail mail. If you wish to send a mail order to request for a death certificate of an ancestor, make sure you include the following information:
  • A request form duly signed by you
  • A government issues notarized
 ID proof
  • Money order or a check that is made out to the Tennessee Office of Vital Records
You can send the request for with other documents to this address:
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

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Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on October 28, 2021
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