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Tennessee Civil Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Revision as of 10:41, 16 September 2015 by TimothyNB (talk | contribs) (edited content)
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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The Tennessee Civil Marriages collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Record Description[edit | edit source]

This collection is an index to selected county marriages for the years from 1838-1888. Counties included in this collection are Crockett, Benton, Sevier, Davidson, and Lauderdale. Some information on slaves at the Hermitage (1845-1877) are also included.

Coverage Map[edit | edit source]

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Tennessee marriages, click here.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Civil Marriage records may contain the following information for bride and groom:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Estimated birth year
  • Birthplace
  • Parents’ names
  • Previous spouses
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Titles and terms
  • Notes
  • Page/Volume/Entry/Certificate number
  • DGS number

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of bride and groom
  • Other identifying information such as the marriage place and approximate marriage date

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors. The following examples show ways you can use the information:

  • Use the marriage index information to locate the original marriage certificate in the County records.
  • Use the ages of the bride and groom to estimate their birth years.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Couples were usually married in the locality where one or both parties were from. Search records from that locality for other information about the family such as marriages of siblings or the bride or groom’s birth records.
  • Sometimes marriage records note the names of the bride and groom’s parents. Use this information to extend your pedigree a generation.
  • Be sure to record the bride’s full name as that information is often not recorded in other records.
  • Marriage was often times both a religious and a civil contract. Search for records created by both jurisdictions because they may provide different information.
  • If no age is listed try to determine the legal age of marriage for that jurisdiction. This will provide a minimum age for your ancestor at time of marriage.
  • Many marriage forms state that the bride and groom were of a certain age (commonly 21 or 18 years old). This may not be your ancestor’s age but a statement that the couple is of legal age to marry.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they were married, then try searching the records of a nearby locality.
  • If the bride and groom were from different localities try searching the records of both places for the marriage record. It was common for a couple to be married in the bride’s home town.
  • Because marriage could be either a civil or religious event, try searching both church and civil records for the couple’s marriage record.
  • Sometimes marriage records for a particular locality are missing. Try searching newspapers for an announcement of the marriage.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records.

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

Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Tennessee Civil Marriages, 1838-1888." Database. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing archive name, archive location in local language (archive name, archive location in English).

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.