Genealogy


Located in the History Department on the fourth floor of the Central Library at 3030 Poplar Avenue, the Genealogy Collection is one of the library’s most frequently used resources. The collection’s strongest area is in microfilmed and indexed Memphis and Shelby County records. They are also United States census records for 1790-1920 on microfilm with indexes or Soundex, as well as genealogical source books, published family histories and magazines with an emphasis on 18th and 19th century southern United States, especially Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Assistance and Instruction

Library staff and volunteers are glad to help you use the genealogy collection. We are unable to conduct your research for you, but assistance in using sources and equipment is available at the Genealogy Desk in the History Department. Instructional workshops are held in May and October. They cover different aspects of genealogy including an introduction to family research, African American research, using military records, United States census, immigration/naturalization records, vital records and research on the Internet

Donations to the Genealogy Collection

The History Department actively maintains and improves the genealogy collection. We also welcome contributions of genealogical works or money to purchase new materials. Each year the department selects a special project for the genealogy collection and sets aside gifts for that purpose. Please ask at the genealogy desk if you would like information on the current project.

Sources for Records

Shelby County Sources for Records

Death Certificates

1952-Present – Memphis and Shelby County Health Department Office Of Vital Records

1848-1963 – Shelby County Register of Deeds / Shelby County Archives

Death records for Memphis (1848-1913) and all of Tennessee (1908-1946) are available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library. An index to all Memphis and Shelby County Death Records from 1848 to 1945 is available on the library’s web site on the History and Genealogy Database.

Birth Records
Memphis and Shelby County Health Department Office Of Vital Records

Marriage Records

2000 to present – Shelby County Clerk

1820-1999 – Shelby County Register of Deeds / Shelby County Archives

Marriage records for Shelby County (1820-1946) and for many other Tennessee counties are available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library.

Probate Records
Probate Court Records: 1900-present (wills), 1933-present (minute books), 1900-present (loose records)
Probate Court Clerk
140 Adams Ave. #124
Memphis, TN 38103
901-545-4040
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/
dotContent/Government/Courts/ProbateCourt/probate_clerk.htm
Probate Court Records: 1820-1900 (wills), 1867-1997 (minute books), 1820-1900 (loose papers)
Shelby County Archives
150 Washington Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 545-4356
email: archives@shelbycountytn.gov>

Probate minute books (1867-1900) and loose papers including wills (1820-1900) for Shelby County and for many other Tennessee counties (various dates) are available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library.

Local Land Records

Land Deeds: earliest-present
Shelby County Register
160 N. Main St., Room 519
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 545-4366
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/
dotContent/Government/ElectedOfficials/register_index.htm

Land Deeds: earliest-present

Shelby County Archives
150 Washington Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 545-4356
email: archives@shelbycountytn.gov

Deed records for Shelby County (earliest-1850) and deed indexes (earliest-1933) are available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library.

Naturalization Records

Naturalizations and Declarations of Intent (1907-present)
US Immigration Naturalization
1341 Sycamore View Rd
Memphis, TN 38134 (901) 544-3508

Naturalizations and Declarations of Intent (1856-1906)
Shelby County Archives
150 Washington Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 545-4356
email: archives@shelbycountytn.gov

Naturalization records for Shelby County (1856-1906) are indexed in the Tennessee Biography Index and available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library.

Quarterly Court/County Commission Minute Books
Shelby County Board of Commissioners Office
Suite 619, 160 N. Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone – (901) 545-4301
FAX – (901) 545-4283
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/
Government/ShelbyCountyCommission/index.htm
Quarterly Court/County Commission minutes for Shelby County (1820-1977) are available on microfilm in the History Department of the Central Library.

Divorce Suits
Circuit Court Clerk’s Office
140 Adams Avenue
Room 324
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 545-4006

Chancery Court
140 Adams Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103