To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

Claiborne County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Claiborne County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Claiborne County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: October 29, 1801
County Seat Tazewell
Adopt-a-wiki page
TGW 45x45.jpg This page adopted by:
TNGenWeb Project
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Virginia tidewater aristocrat William C. C. Claiborne, one of the first judges of the Tennessee Superior Court and one of the first representatives in U.S. Congress from Tennessee. The County is located in the northeast area of the state. [1]

Claiborne County, Tennessee Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1908 1838 1908 1801 1801 1801 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1914. General compliance by 1927.

Claiborne County Tennessee Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Claiborne County Courthouse
 PO Box 173;
Tazewell, TN 37879
Phone: 423.626.3284 

County Clerk has marriage records;
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [3]


Claiborne County Tennessee courthouse.jpg

Claiborne County Courthouse, Tazewell, Tenn.

]]Claiborne County Courthouse
P.O. Box 173
1740 Main St.
Tazewell, TN 37879
Phone: 1-423-626-3283

  • County Clerk has marriage and probate records
  • Register of Deeds has land records
  • Clerk of Circuit Court has court records

Mon.-Fri.9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sat. 8:30 a.m.-noon

Claiborne County Tennessee History[edit | edit source]

Gov. William C.C. Claiborne (c1775-1817)

The county is named after Governor of Louisiana and Governor of Mississippi Territory William C. C. Claiborne (c1775-1817).[4]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1801--Claiborne County was created 29 October 1801 from Grainger and Hawkins Counties.
County seat: Tazewell [5]

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

  1. Hear it spoken[6] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[7] (male)

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]


1863 and 1931 Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.[8]

  • Lost censuses: 1810, 1820
  • Lack of marriage records: 1801 to 1837
  • Lack of wills: 1801 to 1839

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

Claiborne County Tennessee Places / Localities[edit | edit source]

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:[9]

Unincorporated communities

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Claiborne County Tennessee Genealogy Resources[edit | edit source]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Claiborne County biography, court, land, probate, 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[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans

[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
TNGenWeb WorldCat BillionGraves
TNGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Tombstone Project Gravestones
TNGenWeb Cemeteries Interment
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 4,798
1820 5,508 14.8%
1830 8,470 53.8%
1840 9,474 11.9%
1850 9,369 −1.1%
1860 9,643 2.9%
1870 9,321 −3.3%
1880 13,373 43.5%
1890 15,103 12.9%
1900 20,696 37.0%
1910 23,504 13.6%
1920 23,286 −0.9%
1930 24,313 4.4%
1940 24,657 1.4%
1950 24,788 0.5%
1960 19,067 −23.1%
1970 19,420 1.9%
1980 24,595 26.6%
1990 26,137 6.3%
2000 29,862 14.3%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Claiborne 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 Claiborne County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®

1810 Lost - substitute is available:

  • Sherrill, Charles A. The Reconstructed 1810 Census of Tennessee: 33,000 Long-lost Records from Tax Lists, Court Minutes, Church Records, Wills, Deeds and Other Sources. Mt. Juliet, Tenn.: C.A. Sherrill, 2001. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1810.

1820 - Lost[10]

1820 Manufactures

The original manufactures schedules for the Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee are kept at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 1024517-1024518.

These records have also been abstracted:

  • National Archives. Indexes to Manufactures Census of 1820. 1920; reprint, Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, 1977. FHL US/CAN Book 973 X2m 1820.
  • 1820 Census of Manufactures: Claiborne County, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 7, No. 1 ():34. For availability, see Periodicals.



1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners





Male Voters


Church[edit | edit source]

Baptist[edit | edit source]
  • Big Spring. Church minutes (1795-1948), membership list for 1800 available on microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Court[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

More than 45 genealogies have been published about Bedford County, Tennessee families. For more information visit Claiborne County, Tennessee Compiled Genealogies.

Immigration[edit | edit source]

During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding 4 British aliens, some of whom had families, living in Claiborne County.[11]

Land[edit | edit source]

The original Claiborne County Deed Books are held at the County Courthouse. TSLA microfilmed Deed Books A to Z2 (1801-1895) and the Index (1801-1910). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 898403-898416.

Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

  • 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. The 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 the TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Whitley CountyBell CountyLee CountyHancock CountyGrainger CountyUnion CountyCampbell CountyTN CLAIBORNE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

The following Claiborne County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

Additional resources include:

War of 1812[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Claiborne 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 Claiborne County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Claiborne County:

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 Claiborne County click on the following towns:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

  • 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 Claiborne County.
  • Tennesse Bureau of Agriculture, Statistics and Mines. Coal Mines and Mining--Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: A.B. Travel, 1883. Free digital copy.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

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 Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy records 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 Book 976.8 B2a.

East Tennessee Roots
Several genealogical articles with abstracts of Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy records have been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to these 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 Book 976.8 D25e.

The Claiborne County Historical Society was founded in 1982 and publishes a quarterly entitled "Reflections."
The Family History Library has current volumes beginning with Volume 5.  For further information see website: Claiborne County Historical and Genealogical Society. Reflections is indexed in the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).
The Pellissippian
Several genealogical articles with abstracts of Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy records were published in the The Pellissippian (25 vols., 1980-2004), the quarterly of the Pellissippi Genealogical and Historical Society. The society has posted tables of contents for all 25 volumes on their website. They also have back issues available for purchase. The Family History Library has acquired the first 20 volumes FHL Book 976.8 D25p.

Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy records have been published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (39+ vols., 1972-present), the journal of the Watauga Association of Genealogists. The organization has posted tables of contents for most volumes on their website. Back issues are available for purchase. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Books 976.897 B2w, including Margaret W. Hougland and Betty Jane Hylton's Bulletin Subject Index: The First Thirty Years, 1972-2001 (Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Association of Genealogists, 2002) FHL Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001.

Prisons[edit | edit source]

Learn if your Claiborne County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Claiborne County's early Will Books have been lost. Surviving records begin in the late 1830s. TSLA microfilmed Claiborne County Wills 1893 to 1932. FHL copy: FHL Film 898402.

Online Records

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, 1837-1865, 1893-1932 (5 vols.)
  • Inventories, Settlements, Wills, 1812-1814, 1839-1850, 1867-1898 (5 vols.)
  • Bonds, Letters, 1879-1903
  • Inventories, 1848-1940 (3 vols.)
  • Settlements, 1872-1902 (5 vols.)

The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Claiborne County probate records. They offer a research service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:

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

  • 1812 - 1814 - Strictly By Name (see above).
  • 1837 - 1865 - Historical Records Project (W.P.A.). Will Books, 1837-1865, Claiborne County, Tennessee. Typescript, TSLA. Microfilmed 1939. FHL US/CAN Films 24619-24620, 464088-464089. Will Books A to D.
  • 1837 - 1846 - Claiborne County, Tennessee, Will Book A, 1837-1846. n.p.: Claiborne County Historical Society, 1992. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8944 P2c.
  • 1839 - 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!
  • 1844 - 1865 - Fletcher, Virginia Billingsley. Index to the Probate Court Records Claiborne County, Tennessee 1844-1865: Estate Settlements, Wills, Inventories, Sales, Guardian Reports; the Records Copied by the Historical Records Survey Transcritpion Unit as Will Books B, C, D. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: V.B. Fletcher, 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8944 P2f.
  • 1848 - 1851 - Claiborne County Will Books Vol. 1-1848-1851. Kentucky: Simmons Historical Publications. s.d. Digital version at World Vital Records ($); purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.
  • 1851 - 1855 - Claiborne County Will Books Vol. 2-1851-1855. Kentucky: Simmons Historical Publications. s.d. Digital version at World Vital Records ($); purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.
  • 1855 - 1865 - Claiborne County Will Books Vol. 3-1855-1865. Kentucky: Simmons Historical Publications. s.d. Digital version at World Vital Records ($); purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.
  • 1878 - 1921 - Claiborne County, Tennessee, Bonds and Letters of Administration, December 1878 - August 1921. Kentucky: Simmons Historical Publications. s.d. Digital version at World Vital Records ($); purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

The original Claiborne County Tax Books covering the years 1850 to 1900 (gaps) were microfilmed by the TSLA. FHL copy: FHL US/CAN Film 898419.

The following Claiborne County tax records have been abstracted:[13]

  • 1803 - Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Early Tennessee Tax Lists. Evanston, Ill.: B. & B. Sistler, 1977. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 R4s. Includes 1803 tax list.
  • 1803 - Curtis, Mary Barnett. Early East Tennessee Tax Lists. Fort Worth, Texas: Arrow Printing Company, 1964. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 R4c. Includes 1803 petition.
  • 1814 - "Direct Federal Tax-Delinquent Property Owners Listed for 1814," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 43, No. 3(Fall 1996):115-120. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. Includes Claiborne County.
  • 1817 - "U.S. Holds 1817 Public Sale of Federal Tax-Delinquent Properties in Tennessee," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 1996):63-68. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. Includes Claiborne County.
  • 1836 - Douthat, James L. Claiborne County, Tennessee, 1836 Tennessee Civil District and Tax List. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8944 R4d; online: free surname index and purchase details.
  • 1839 - Lemasters, Paul W. and Claiborne County Historical Society. Claiborne County, Tennessee, 1839 Tax List. n.p.: Claiborne County Historical Society, 199-?. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8944 R48L.
  • 1857 - District No. 10, 1857, Pathways. Maynardville TN: Sep 2002. Vol. 21 Iss. 3.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See also How to order Tennessee Vital Records or order electronically online.

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]

Marriages were not officially recorded in Claiborne County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice.[14] 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 Claiborne County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • 1838 - 1868 - 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!
Death[edit | edit source]
  • Wiefering, Edna and Cleveland Public Library. Claiborne County, Tennessee, Vital Statistics, 1914 through 1925. Cleveland, Tenn.: Cleveland Public Library, 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8944 V2w.

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

Claiborne County Tennessee Genealogy Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Claiborne County Historical Society
P.O. Box 32
Tazewell, TN 37879
Phone: 1-423-526-5737

East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay St.
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, TN 37901-1629
Phone: 1-865-215-8824

Barbara Reynolds Carr Memorial Library
1304 Old Knoxville Road
Tazewell, TN 37879
Phone: 1-423-626-5414

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

2063 Highway 63
Arthur, Claiborne, TN

Phone: 1-423-869-2481
Hours: By appt
These are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Claiborne County Tennessee Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Claiborne County, Tennessee

Claiborne County Tennessee Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Claiborne, Tennessee" in,_Tennessee accessed 17 Dec 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Claiborne County, Tennessee. Page 638-645 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 637-640.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Claiborne County, Tennessee page 638, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. "List of Counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 638. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  6. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  7. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  8. Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 13 March 2016).
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Claiborne County, Tennessee," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Tennessee, accessed 10 November 2019.
  10. Mary Barnett Curtis, Early East Tennessee Tax Lists: a compiled list of residents of the area covered in 22 east Tennessee counties for which there is (sic) no census records prior to 1830 (Fort Worth, Texas: Arrow Printing, 1964) [FHL 976.8 R4c].
  11. Kenneth Scott. British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979, 372-378 (see East Tennessee). FHL US/CAN 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  12. Dobbie E. Lambert, 25th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1994). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 106.
  13. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  14. 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)
  15. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at