Shelby County, Tennessee
Genealogy and Facts

Shelby County was founded on November 24, 1819 from Chickasaw Nation lands acquired through the Jackson Purchase. This county was named in honor of Isaac Shelby (1750–1826), commander at Kings Mountain, first governor of Kentucky, and negotiator of the purchase of the western district from the Chickasaws.

The Shelby County Seat is located in Memphis also, the county government website is www.shelbycountytn.gov .

Areas bordering to Shelby County are Tipton County (north), Fayette County (east), Marshall County, MS (southeast), DeSoto County, MS (south) and Crittenden County, AR (west) .

Cities and towns located in Shelby County include Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Cordova, Eads, Fisherville, Germantown, Lakeland, Memphis, Millington .

Shelby County vital records can be found at the Tennessee Department of Health (VDH) Office of Vital Records which has copies for copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Tennessee for current fees and application process.

Marriage license records are available from the county clerk who issued the marriage license. Court divorce orders may be obtained from the clerk of the court that granted the divorce.

You can search online for Shelby County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Tennessee Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificates to mail.

Shelby County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Shelby Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Shelby Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Shelby Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. The Slave Schedules exist for 1850 & 1860. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Shelby County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Shelby County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

  • Memphis & Shelby County Archives, 150 Washington Ave., Suite 205, Memphis , TN 38103; Phone: (901) 545-4356
  • City of Germantown Municipal Archives, 1930 S. Germantown Rd., Germantown , TN 38138; Phone: (901) 757-7260
  • History and Travel Department (Genealogy), 1850 Peabody Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, (901) 725-8821
  • Memphis-Shelby County Health Dept, Division of Vital Records, 814 Jefferson Ave., Memphis, TN 38105
  • Memphis/Shelby County Public Library Archives
  • West Tennessee Historical Society, PO Box 111046, Memphis, TN 38111 901-678-8242
  • Bartlett Historical Society, Bartlett Museum, Gotten House, 2969 Court Street, Bartlett, TN 38134 901-373-8433
  • Center for Southern Folklore, Archives, 119 S. Main Street, Suite 106, PO Box 226, Memphis, TN 38101 901-525-3655
  • Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island, Mud Island Park, City of Memphis, 125 N. Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103 901-576-7230
  • LeMoyne-Owen College, Hollis F. Price Library, 807 Walker Avenue, Memphis, TN 38126 901-942-7381
  • Rhodes College, Burrow Library, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112 901-323-9063
  • Christian Brothers University, Brother O'Donnell Archives, 2455 Avery Ave., Memphis, TN 38104 901-278-0100
  • Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, 692 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105 901-476-7079
  • Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1978 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 901-276-8602
  • Temple Israel Archives, (Jewish Historical Society of Memphis & Midsouth), 1376 East Massey, Memphis, TN 38120 901-761-3130
  • Tennessee Genealogy Community (plus.google.com)
  • Tennessee State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
  • Shelby County Tennessee Archives (usgwarchives.net)
  • Shelby County, Tennessee Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Shelby County
  • Shelby County, Tennessee Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Shelby County
  • Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Shelby County (tn.gov) The purpose of these fact sheets is to help determine what sources are available for genealogical research about the people and places in Shelby County. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the possible places one might search, it does cover the major publications and microfilms available at TSLA on the Shelby County.

Shelby County Courthouse and Government Records


Shelby County Courthouse

Genealogist frequently overlook the value of County court, probate, and land files as a useful resource of genealogical details. Buried away in Tennessee courthouses and archives everywhere could be the dreams and worries of many Tennessee residents.

The chances are great that your particular ancestors and forefathers have left a in-depth record of at least quite a few factors of their lives in the County court records. Even if your forebears is not referred to in a Court case, consider all of the other procedures which often can have lead to her or him appearing in court records.

The following information and facts indicates whatever birth, death, marriage, land, wills, and courtroom records will be in Shelby County or in the Tennessee State Library & Archives. The dates indicated below could be the first widely known documents for this county.

Please get in touch with the clerk's office to affirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of in some cases changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The records are accessible to interested parties, barring confidential issues. A lot of workers will guide individuals in obtaining the resources, however it's up to the individual to complete the basic research.
  • Shelby County Clerk maintains Marriage & Divorce records. It also has jurisdiction over probate cases. Wills, administrations, and all other records pertaining to probate are recorded in the respective county clerk's office. If the will or administration was contested, the records of these actions may be filed in the circuit court or chancery court.
    • Address: 150 Washington Ave., Memphis, TN 38103
    • Phone: (901) 222-3000
    • Marriage Records: 1820  
    • Probate Records: 1820 (Some Shelby County Probate Court records are available at the Shelby County Public Archives–see Archives, Libraries, and Societies. This includes probate minute books, 1867—1900 and loose papers and wills, 1820-1900 for Shelby County. The Probate Court Clerk’s Office has wills, 1900-present; minute books, 1900-present; and loose papers, 1900-present.)
  • Shelby County Register of Deeds has land records beginning with county organization, land records are available from the register of deeds at the Sevier county courthouse. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
    • Address: 160 North Mid America Mall, Suite 519, Memphis, TN 38103
    • Phone: (901) 545-4366
    • Land & Deed Records: 1821
  • Shelby County Clerk of Circuit Court has jurisdiction over property disputes, and circuit courts oversee criminal cases, divorces, and adoptions. Early courts included courts of common pleas and quarter sessions.
    • Address: 140 Adams Street, Room 324, Memphis, TN 38103
    • Phone: 901-545-4710
    • Chancery Court Minutes: ?
    • Circuit Court Minutes: 1828
    • County  Court Minutes: ?
  • Shelby County Property Assessor is responsible for the evaluation of all real property, the cadastral mapping of the county, valuation of all business personal property and maintaining ownership records. The property assessor prepares the tax rolls for the trustee and all the municipalities. Tax lists can be used to locate families, document historic properties and study community history. Early tax lists generally include all white males over 21 and indicate whether they owned land or slaves.
    • Address: 160 N Main, Ste 600, Memphis, TN 38103
    • Phone: (901) 222-7001
  • Tax Records: 1837, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1850, 1852, 1856-1863, 1865, 1867-1880, 1883, 1891-1900 (located at the Tennessee State Library and Archives)
  • Shelby County Health Department, 814 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105-5099; (901) 544-7600 , issues birth certificates and death certificates (deaths which occurred in that county within the past three years, and a few county health departments keep death records for longer periods of time).

Shelby County Links

The following are links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Shelby County. A majority of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Personal Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some call for a payment. This is merely a collection which has been collected or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site over another. Feel free to suggest your own most popular Shelby County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Shelby Co. TN Books, Newspapers & Publications

Shelby Co. TN Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Shelby Co. TN Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Shelby Co. TN Census Records

Shelby Co. TN Cemeteries & Graveyards

Shelby Co. TN Church & Bible Records

Shelby Co. TN Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Shelby Co. TN General and History Websites

Shelby Co. TN Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Shelby Co. TN Military Records

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