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Tennessee Death Records: How to perform a Tennessee Death Records Search

Tennessee Death Records: How to perform a Tennessee Death Records Search
December 11, 2022

The Tennessee Office of Vital Records maintains and disseminates death records in Tennessee and has since 1914 when statewide registration of deaths began. 


Before death registration became fully mainstream in Tennessee, however, several counties in the state kept those records and still do to date.


Unlike most other states in the US, Tennessee death records are accessible to members of the public who need them. 


Tennessee death records may be obtained in person, by mail, or in some cases, even online. 


The first step to finding death records in Tennessee is to know the right places to look, and that’s what this guide teaches.

How to Access Tennessee Death Records Online

The Office of Vital Records, which is the official repository of death records in Tennessee, does not maintain or provide an online database for Tennessee death records.


That being said, anyone interested in looking up Tennessee death records online may check with the Tennessee State Library and Archives. 

a man sitting behind a stack of files


The State Archives maintains a publicly accessible index of death records between 1908 and 1912, and between 1914 and 1933.


Alternatively, interested members of the public can also view Tennessee death records online through third-party websites. 


Interested parties can request access to and copies of Tennessee death records from these platforms.


The record subject's name and most current address are all necessary to conduct a search on a third-party website. 


These third-party websites have no regional limits, so users can conduct searches for Tennessee death records from any location in the US.

Who Can Access Tennessee Death Records?

In Tennessee, death records are categorized as public records. 


This makes death records in Tennessee generally accessible to members of the public. 


Having said that, some records may be restricted, or some parts of the record may be redacted.


All anyone who’s interested in accessing a Tennessee death record needs to do is submit their application at the relevant quarters and pay the applicable processing fees.

hands going over files

How to Obtain Tennessee Death Records:

Parties interested in obtaining death records in Tennessee must apply in person or via mail to the State’s Office of Vital Records. 


This only applies to death records from 1971 to the present. For earlier records, interested parties must check with the Tennessee State Library and Archives. 


Requesters can access death records filed between 1848 and 1908 through this means.


To request Tennessee death from records from the State’s Office of Vital Records in person, interested parties must submit their requests at:


Tennessee Vital Records,
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower,
710 James Robertson Parkway,
Nashville, TN 37243


The Office of Vital Records offers a Customer Service Window for those who wish to submit in-person requests. 


Upon arrival at the Customer Service Window, the requester must complete a paper order form and show proper identification. 


In order to establish their eligibility for records, non-relative applicants must provide supporting documentation.


The identity of the applicant is automatically verified when they make inquiries in person, regardless of whether they present valid identification. 


The requester must present identification documents at the front desk if their identity cannot be verified once the order has been submitted.


You can also visit any county health department if you are looking for Tennessee death records. 


State-registered death certificates are now available from all county health departments since the electronic system was implemented. 


Because of this, it is not necessary to travel to the county where the death occurred in order to obtain a copy of a Tennessee death record.


For mail-in requests, eligible requesters must download and fill out the application for a certified copy of a Tennessee certificate of death form, then attach a valid ID and payment (in the form of a check or money order). 


Next, the package must be mailed to the same address listed above.


Only the decedent's parents, spouse, child, or an attorney or agency acting on behalf of the decedent's estate or another qualified family member is permitted to request a copy of the cause of death from the Office of Vital Records. 


Where required, further paperwork proving eligibility for the death certificate must be presented.

shelves filled with folders

Tennessee Death Record Search: How Much Does it Cost?

The Tennessee Office of Vital Records charges $15 for every Tennessee death record search request. 


This fee covers a single certified copy of the death record. Additional copies of the same record requested will also attract the same charge.


Search fees are not refundable, even if the Office is unable to find the death record requested. If this happens, the Office will issue a letter attesting to the absence of the requested record.


Requesters who send their Tennessee death record requests by mail must make their payments (in the form of checks or money orders) in favor of Tennessee Vital Records. 


In-person requesters at the Customer Service Window may pay in cash or with their cards, in addition to the other payment methods.

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