Davidson County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Davidson County

Guide to Davidson County, Tennessee ancestry, family history and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Davidson County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Davidson County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Davidson County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: October 6, 1783
County Seat Nashville
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Davidson County Tennessee Quick Dates

Davidson County's civil records start the following years:[1]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1881 1789 1881 1820 1784 1784

Davidson County Tennessee Courthouse

Davidson County Courthouse, Nashville, TN .
Davidson County Courthouse
700 2nd Ave South
Nashville, TN 37210
Phone: 615.862.5710

County Clerk has marriage records and probate records.
Clerk Circuit has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records[2]

Lake Watauga, Centennial Park, Davidson County, Nashville, TN.
Davidson County Courthouse
700 2nd Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Phone: 1-615-862-5710

Davidson County Clerk
Marriage and Probate records
P.O. Box 196333
Nashville, TN 37228
Street Address:
523 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN 37228
Phone: 1-615-862-5710

Davidson County Register of Deeds
Land records
501 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 1-615-862-6790

Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk
Court records
P.O. Box 196303
Nashville, TN 37219-6303
Street Address:
1 Public Square, Suite 302
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: 1-615-862-5181
Mon.-Fri.8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Metropolitan Government Archives
3801 Green Hills Village Drive
Nashville, TN 37215
Phone: 1-615-862-5880
Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Houses original Davidson County and Nashville City records up to about 1996

Davidson County Tennessee History

Davidson County was officially established in April of 1783 by an act of the North Carolina legislature. It was named for Gen. William Davidson, an officer of North Carolina in the Revolutionary war.

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, that all that part of this State lying west of the Cumberland Mountain where the Virginia line crosses, extending westward along the said line to Tennessee River, thence up said river to the mouth of Duck River, thence up Duck River to where the line of marked trees run by the commissioners for laying off land granted the Continental Line of this State intersects said river (which said line is supposed to be in thirty-five degrees fifty minutes north latitude) thence east along said line to the top of Cumberland Mountain, thence northwardly along said mountain to the beginning, shall after the passing of this Act be and is hereby declared to be a distinct county by the name of Davidson."

In 1780, the Cumberland Compact referred to the settlement on the bluff above the Cumberland River as Nashborough. Nashborough was also the name used in the minutes of the Davidson County court which commenced in the fall of 1783. Although Nashborough was the formal name given to the fort, the pioneering settlers, by and large, referred to it as French Lick Station. (Eastin Morris' TENNESSEE GAZETTEER, 1834)

In April of 1784, the legislature of North Carolina passed an act that made the town official, changing the name to Nashville. The bill set aside "two hundred acres of land, situate on the south side of Cumberland River, at a place called the Bluff, adjacent to the French Lick, in which said Lick shall not be included, to be laid off in lots of one acre each, with convenient streets, lanes, and alleys, reserving four acres for the purpose of erecting public buildings, on which land, so laid off according to the directions of this act, is hereby constituted and erected, and established a town, and shall be known and called Nashville, in memory of the patriotic and brave Gen. Nash." Five Trustees were appointed to handle the business of the town and a treasurer was named. A plan of town lots of one acre each and a public square of four acres was surveyed. Proceeds from the sale of the lots were to be used to build a courthouse and a jail on the public square.

Middle Tennessee County. Davidson County was at the heart of the pioneer Cumberland Settlements.[3]

Parent County

1783--Davidson County was created 6 October 1783 from Washington County.
County seat: Nashville [4]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[5] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[6] (male)

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Tennessee county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

1856 Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.[7]

  • Lost censuses: 1790, 1800, 1810

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Davidson County Tennessee Places / Localities

Populated Places

Cities and Towns:

Belle Meade
Berry Hill
Charlotte Park
Crieve Hall
Cumberland Heights
East Nashville

Forest Grove
Forest Hills
Green Hills
Hermitage Hills
Ivy Point

Lincoya Hills
Little Creek
Merry Oaks
Mount View
Oak Hill
Old Hickory
Paragon Mills

Priest Lake
Rayon City
Rural Hill
Smith Springs
Union Hill
West Meade
West Nashville
Whites Creek

Neighboring Counties

Cheatham • Robertson • Rutherford • Sumner • Williamson • Wilson

Davidson CountyWilson CountyRutherford CountyWilliamson CountyCheatham CountySumner CountyTrousdale CountyRobertson CountySmith CountyMacon CountyCannon CountyDickson CountyMontgomery CountyCanon CountyMaury CountyDeKalb CountyHickman CountyHumphreys CountyAllen CountySimpson CountyLogan CountyTodd CountyTNDavidson.JPG

Davidson County Tennessee Genealogy Resources

Research Guides

African Americans

United States African Americans go to Tennessee African Americans

In 1862 Nashville built a series of forts around the city. The project was built by Union soldiers and impressed slaves and free black workers in just five months. This site lists the laborers employed August 1, 1862 to April 1, 1863. The site gives the name of the slave, the slave owner and the file number.

For a case study of how to trace a slave family in early Nashville, study:



Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
TNGenWeb WorldCat BillionGraves
TNGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
TNGenWeb Cemeteries
See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 3,459
1800 9,965 188.1%
1810 15,608 56.6%
1820 20,154 29.1%
1830 28,122 39.5%
1840 30,509 8.5%
1850 38,882 27.4%
1860 47,055 21.0%
1870 62,897 33.7%
1880 79,026 25.6%
1890 108,174 36.9%
1900 122,815 13.5%
1910 149,478 21.7%
1920 167,815 12.3%
1930 222,854 32.8%
1940 257,267 15.4%
1950 321,758 25.1%
1960 399,743 24.2%
1970 448,003 12.1%
1980 477,811 6.7%
1990 510,784 6.9%
2000 569,891 11.6%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Davidson County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Davidson County, TN census assignments including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project®

1790- Lost, only statistics survive [8], but substitutes are available:


1800 - Lost, but a substitute is available, see Taxation.

1810 - Lost, but a substitute is available:

1810 - 1891


1820 Manufactures

The original manufactures schedules for the Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee are kept at the NARA, Washington, D.C. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 1024517-1024518.

The following book is a useful aid for finding the original records. A free online index, provided by Lineages, will help researchers determine if this resource can be of assistance:

1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners



1890 --Lost, but a substitute is available:

1891 Male Voters


Church records include baptisms, marriages and burials, as well as information about family members and clues about family migration. For additional information about church records, religions, and religious archives in Tennessee, see Tennessee Church Records.

- FamilySearch Catalog - Davdison County Church Records
- FamilySearch Catalog - Davidson County Church History
- List of Davidson County churches with addresses and phone numbers (Yellowbook)
- List of Davidson County churches (TN HomeTownLocator)


Disciples of Christ



Methodist Episcopal


Roman Catholic



Nashville City Directories are available for most years between 1853 and 1997 at the Tennessee State Archives. Digitized copies are available online for the following years:

Family Histories


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Davidson, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 65,000 entries. A query for persons born in Nashville, Tennessee results in more than 45,000 entries.



During the War of 1812, American officials reported finding 35 British aliens, many of whom had families, living in Nashville and Davidson County.[10]

Jewish Records



Davidson County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1784 and is located at 700 2nd Ave. S, Nashville, Tennessee 37210; Telephone: (615) 862-6050. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries

Local Land Entries Issued by North Carolina

The original Davidson County land entries issued by North Carolina are kept at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. On their website, users can bring up a list of land entries issued in Davidson County, both before and after it became a part of the state of Tennessee. Years covered: 1783-1824.


  1. Follow this link to conduct a "Call Number Search" using the MARS Catalog on their site.
  2. Using the pull down window, change "Call Numbers starting" to "A MarsID matching."
  3. Type 12.14.2 (Windows Vista users may need to include a period after the last digit, for example 12.14.2.) and click Search. This is the specific MarsID for Davidson County.
  4. Click on the entry that is returned: "Tennessee, Davidson County."
  5. In the window that pops up, click Show List of Child Records and a list of Davidson County land entries will be produced. Browse to find abstracts of the original records.[12]

N.B. You can also search by name through the Basic Search, but it lacks soundex capabilities.

Land Grants

Law and Legislation

Local Histories


The TSLA (TSLA) is in the beginning stages of posting digital copies of historical maps on their website through the Tennessee Virtual Archives (TEVA). Among the collection is a 1907 historical map showing Davidson County civil districts and the plotted residences of families living within those districts.

Additional Nashville and Davidson County historical maps include:


Revolutionary War

The following Davidson County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

Additional resources include:

War of 1812
Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Davidson County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment)that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Davidson County:

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Davidson County:

Civil War Battle

The following Civil War battle was fought in Davidson County:

Map showing Civil War battles fought in Tennessee.
Spanish American War
World War I

Gilmore, Rose Long. Davidson County Women in the World War 1914-1919. Nashville, Tennessee: Foster and Parkes, 1923.



Nashville Retrospect - The Nashville Retrospect is a free monthly newspaper devoted to Nashville nostalgia and history. It features reprints of long-forgotten news, articles by local historians, and remembrances by older Nashvillians. Also available by subscription if you are not local.

Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Davidson County click on the following cities:



Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Davidson County, Tennessee have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.
Harpeth Gleanings
Covers Bellevue and the Harpeth River Valley in southwest Davidson county. Family History Library US/CAN Book 976.855 H25h
The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Giles County, Tennessee have been published in The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, the quarterly of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society (23+ Vols.). To view a list of these articles, visit their online Index to Articles (1988-2005). Surname indexes are also available online for Vols. 2-22. The website also offers back issues for sale in paper and on CD. The Family History Library has a complete collection of this quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.85 D25m.



Learn if your Davidson County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!

Private Papers

Probate Records

The Davidson County Court and the County Clerk have responsibility for the probate records, most available at the Metropolitan Government Archives.

Online Records

FamilySearch has placed scans of the following records online in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 collection. These are browse-only collections. Handwritten indexes may be found at the front or back of some volumes:

The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Davidson County probate records. They offer a research service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:

The following Davidson County probate records have been abstracted or indexed:



The following Davidson County tax records have been abstracted:[13]

Vital Records

See also How to order Tennessee Vital Records or order electronically online.


The following Davidson County marriage records are microfilmed:

The most complete index to Davidson marriages after 1905 is found at FamilysSearch RecordSearch:

The following Davidson County marriage records have been indexed:


In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Davidson County divorce papers in diverse manuscript collections, including some separate divorce dockets, see:


For deaths of Methodists in Davidson County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Davidson County Tennessee Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

100 Brown Rd
Burns, TN
Phone: 1-615-441-1006
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Wed 6 p.m.-8 p.m.;
Thurs. 3:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; 3rd Sat 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Closed: closed all holidays. The need for any other closing will be posted on the door at the building.

107 Twin Hills Dr
Madison, TN
Phone: 1-615-859-6926
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 7 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
These are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Davidson County Tennessee Genealogy Websites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Davidson County, Tennessee

Davidson County Tennessee Genealogy References

  1. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey (W.P.A.), 1941; "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Davidson County, Tennessee page 639, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Founding of the Cumberland Settlements: The First Atlas 1779-1804.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 639. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  5. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  6. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  7. Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 13 March 2016).
  8. Arlene Eakle, "Reconstructing the 1790 Census of Tennessee," Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Genealogy Blog, 20 May 2010.
  9. WPA. Guide to Church Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville: Tennessee State Planning Commission, 1942. FHL 976.8 K23w
  10. Kenneth Scott. British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979, 372-378 (see West Tennessee). FHL US/CAN 973 W4s; digital version at Ancestry ($).
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/60/Igitennesseea.pdf.
  12. J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  13. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  14. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/60/Igitennesseea.pdf.
  15. Orem, Utah: Automated Archives, 1994. (Family History Library compact disc number 9 part 2.) Does not circulate to Family History Centers.
  16. Orem, Utah: Automated Archives, 1992. (Family History Library compact disc number 9 part 229.) Does not circulate to Family History Centers.
  17. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/60/Igitennesseea.pdf.
  18. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/60/Igitennesseea.pdf.
  19. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/60/Igitennesseea.pdf.

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