The Tennessee State Library & Archives holds birth records that are older than 100 years. Birth records are confidential for 100 years under state law. Records less than 100 years old are held by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records and must be requested from that office.

Tennessee began requiring birth records be kept statewide in 1908. However, the law requiring records to be kept lapsed at the end of 1912, therefore no records were kept in 1913. Statewide recordkeeping resumed in 1914. The larger cities in Tennessee did keep earlier birth records: Nashville (beginning in 1881); Knoxville (beginning in 1881); Chattanooga (beginning in 1879); and Memphis (beginning in 1874).

Starting in 1935, Tennessee began issuing delayed birth records for Tennesseans born before 1908 who needed a birth record to apply for Social Security. Tennessee delayed birth records 1869-1909 are available online through a partnership with on at's Tennessee State Library and Archives web page. Tennesseans can access these records for free. Click here to learn more.

Indexes use the Soundex system, a code using the first letter of the last name and three digits based on the way a name sounds rather than the way it's spelled. An online Soundex converter can be found here:

If you need a certified copy of a birth record visit:

Items will be added to this collection as they are digitized.