Questions for the History/Social Sciences Department

Questions for the History/Social Sciences Department

The staff of the History/Social Sciences Department will answer concise, brief requests for information by mail or electronic mail, but they are unable to conduct historical or genealogical research.

Upon request, staff will provide a list of individuals who conduct research for a fee. The work of these individuals is not endorsed by the Memphis Public Library & Information Center. You are advised to ascertain fees and length of time required before hiring a researcher.

You may use this form to e-mail inquiries to the History/Social Sciences Department, or call (901) 415-2742.

Vital Record Requests
Vital records may be requested from either the Shelby County Archives or Shelby County Health Department. (see “Where To Get Vital Records In Shelby County”)

Options for newspaper research


Commercial Appeal Online Archives
In addition to the Newsbank database available at all Memphis Public Library locations (as well as many other libraries), an online archive is available at the Commercial Appeal’s web site. A free registration is required to access the site. The archive contains news stories from June 27, 1990 to the present. You can view citations (headline, date, first few paragraphs) for free, then view and download or print the full text for a fee. Photographs are not included.


Tennessee State Library and Archives
View the holdings of Memphis and Shelby County newspapers held by the State Library and Archives. 


Options for genealogical research


Cyndi’s List
Look-ups and free searches by volunteers 


Where to Write for Vital Records
National Center for Health Statistics