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 genealgy 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.


The Memphis Shelby County History and Genealogy Index

The History Department has created an online master index to many groups of historical and genealogical records in its archival and local history collections. The creation of this database makes these indexes universally searchable. This is a continuing project with new indexes being added as they are completed.

Go to the History and Genealogy Index


ANCESTRYLIBRARY GENEALOGY DATABASE

This database provides instant online access to more than 1 billion names, more than 3,000 databases, primary source documents, images and a variety of genealogy research aids.

This database is not accessible outside the library and no more than two library users may access the database at a time, if the license exceeded message is displayed, try again later.

Go to AncestryLibrary 

The core titles to found are:

The service also offers several easy-to-use research tools including:

 

Where to Get Genealogical Records in Shelby County, Tennessee

Death Certificates: 1902-1954
Available online
Shelby County Register
http://register.shelby.tn.us

Death Certificates: 1952-Present
Memphis and Shelby County Health Department
Office Of Vital Records
814 Jefferson Ave., Room 101- 103
Memphis, TN 38105
Death Certificate Information Line (901) 544-7691
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/dotContent/
Government/CountyServices/HealthServices/AdministrativeServices/birth_cert.htm
Death Certificates: 1848-1951
Shelby County Archives
980A Nixon Drive
Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 379-4499
email: Derrick.Mink@shelbycountytn.gov
Web site: http://register.shelby.tn.us/index.php

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 page at http://tempo.memphislibrary.org/dadabik/program_files/sform.php Note: This database is temorarily offline 09-10-09

Birth Records
Memphis and Shelby County Health Department
Office Of Vital Records
814 Jefferson Ave., Room 101- 103
Memphis, TN 38105
Birth Certificate Information Line (901) 544-7605
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/dotContent/
Government/CountyServices/HealthServices/AdministrativeServices/birth_cert.htm
Marriage Records
Marriage Licenses: 2000-present
Shelby County Clerk
150 Washington St.
Memphis TN, 38103
(901) 545-4244
http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/FirstPortal/dotShowDoc/
dotContent/Government/ElectedOfficials/clerk_index.htm

Marriage Licenses: 1820-1999
Shelby County Archives
150 Washington Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 545-4356
email: archives@shelbycountytn.gov>

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

 

 

US Federal Census Records Collection

Census Records in the History Department, Central Library

Census Chart 1

Census Chart 2

Other Area Genealogy Research Centers

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Family History Center 
4195 Kirby-Whitten Road
Bartlett, Tennessee 38135
(901) 388-9974
Hours: Monday - Closed; Tuesday - 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Thursday - 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Family History Center
8150 Walnut Grove Road
Memphis, Tennessee
(901) 754-2545
Hours: Monday - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Tuesday - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Wednesday - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Saturday - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tennessee Genealogical Society
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, Tennessee 38138
Phone Number (901) 754-4300
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Suggested Internet Genealogy Links

  1. General Genealogy Sites
  2. Deaths
  3. Cemetery Information
  4. Archives and Libraries
  5. African-American Genealogy
  6. Native-American Genealogy
  7. European Genealogy
  8. Immigration Sources
  9. Civil War
  10. Sources for Records
  11. Genealogical Studies
  12. Genealogical Societies and Organizations

1. General Genealogy Sites

Ancestry.com
http://www.ancestry.com
Census Online
http://www.census-online.com/
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
http://www.CyndisList.com
FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service-Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
http://www.familysearch.org
Genealogy.com
http://www.genealogy.com
National Endowment for the Humanities-My History is America's History
http://www.myhistory.org/
RootsWeb.com
http://www.rootsweb.com

2. Deaths

Memphis/Shelby County Public Library & Information Center's History and Genealogy Indexes on the Internet
http://history.memphislibrary.org/
The Commercial Appeal: Obituaries
http://www.gomemphis.com/mca/obituaries/0,1426,MCA_443,00.html
The Commercial Appeal: Archives
http://newgomemphis.com/newgo/core/archives.htm
Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3693
Vital Records Information: United States
http://www.vitalrec.com/

3. Cemetery Information

Tombstone Transcription Project: Tennessee
http://www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/tennessee/shelby.html
Interment.Net: Cemetery Transcription Library
http://www.interment.net/Default.htm
Elmwood Cemetery
824 South Dudley St., Memphis, TN 38104 (901) 774-3212
http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/main/index.htm
Memphis National Cemetery
3568 Townes Avenue, Memphis, TN 38122 (901) 386-8311
http://www.interment.net/data/us/tn/shelby/memnat/
Shelby County, Tennessee-Cemeteries: USGS GNIS National Mapping Information
This site gives the names and locations of cemeteries in Shelby County.
http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnis/web_query.gnisprod?f_name=
&variant=N&f_state=Tennessee&f_cnty=shelby&f_ty=cemetery
&elev1=&elev2=&cell=&pop1=&pop2=&my_function=Send+Query
&last_name=&last_state=&last_cnty=&page_cnt=
&record_cnt=&tab=Y

4. Archives and Libraries

State Archives Referral List
http://www.sos.state.ga.us/archives/rs/sarl.htm
State Library Web Sites
http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/dltcl/pld/statelib.html
Tennessee State Library and Archives
http://www.state.tn.us/sos/statelib/tslahome.htm
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/
Arkansas History Commission
http://www.ark-ives.com/
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.
http://www.nara.gov
New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA
http://www.newenglandancestors.org
New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, New York, NY
http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/

5. African-American Genealogy

AfriGeneas: African Ancestored Genealogy
http://www.afrigeneas.com
The African-Native American History & Genealogy Webpage
http://african-nativeamerican.com/
American Slave Narratives: An Online Narrative
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/wpa/wpahome.html
Christine's Genealogy Website
http://ccharity.com/
People of Color in Old Tennessee
http://www.tngenweb.org/tncolor/
Freedmen's Bureau Online
http://freedmensbureau.com/

6. Native-American Genealogy

Native American Genealogy
http://hometown.aol.com/bbbenge/front.html
All Things Cherokee: Genealogy-Helpful Links
http://www.allthingscherokee.com/genealogy_sites.html
Chickasaw Genealogy
http://www.rootsweb.com/~itchicka/
Cyndi's List- Native-American Links
http://www.cyndislist.com/native.htm

7. European Genealogy

Federation of East European Family History Societies - FEEFHS
http://feefhs.org
Western European Genealogy Links
http://www.cyndislist.com/westeuro.htm
Genealogy.net - German Genealogy
http://www.genealogienetz.de/gene/index.html
GENUKI - UK & Ireland Genealogy
http://www.genuki.org.uk
Irish Family History Foundation
http://www.irishroots.net/
The Italian Genealogy Home Page
http://www.italgen.com
JewishGen: The Official Home of Jewish Genealogy
http://www.jewishgen.org

8. Immigration Sources

Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center
http://www.ellisisland.org
Immigration and Ships Passenger List Research Guide
http://home.att.net/~arnielang/shipgide.html
ISTG - Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
http://istg.rootsweb.com

9. Civil War

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
http://library5.library.cornell.edu/moa/browse.monographs/waro.html
Cyndi's List of Civil War Genealogy Sites
http://www.cyndislist.com/cw.htm#General

10. Sources for Records

Bureau of Land Management - The Official Federal Land Patent Records Site
http://www.glorecords.blm.gov
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
http://www.nara.gov
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections
http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/nucmc.html
United States Railroad Retirement Board
http://www.rrb.gov
Vital Records Information - State Index
http://vitalrec.com/index.html

11. Genealogical Studies

National Institute on Genealogical Research
http://www.rootsweb.com/~natgenin/
Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
http://www.infouga.org
Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research
http://www.samford.edu/schools/ighr/ighr.html

12. Genealogical Societies and Organizations

Association of Professional Genealogists
http://www.apgen.org
Board for Certification of Genealogists
http://www.bcgcertification.org
Cyndi's List - Societies & Groups
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
Federation of Family History Societies (UK)
http://www.ffhs.org.uk
Federation of Genealogical Societies
http://www.fgs.org
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
http://www.dar.org