Decatur County, Tennessee Genealogy
Guide to Decatur County, Tennessee ancestry, family history and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Decatur County, Tennessee|
Location in the state of Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
- 1 Decatur County Tennessee Quick Dates
- 2 Decatur County Tennessee Courthouse
- 3 Decatur County Tennessee History
- 4 Decatur County Tennessee Places / Localities
- 5 Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Resources
- 5.1 Getting Started
- 5.2 Research Guides
- 5.3 African American
- 5.4 Cemeteries
- 5.5 Census
- 5.6 Birth
- 5.7 Death
- 5.8 Marriage
- 5.9 Church
- 5.10 Court
- 5.11 Genealogy
- 5.12 Land
- 5.13 Law and Legislation
- 5.14 Local Histories
- 5.15 Maps
- 5.16 Military
- 5.17 Newspapers
- 5.18 Obituaries
- 5.19 Occupations
- 5.20 Periodicals
- 5.21 Prisons
- 5.22 Probate Records
- 5.23 Taxation
- 5.24 Vital Records
- 6 Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Societies and Libraries
- 7 Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Websites
- 8 Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy References
Decatur County Tennessee Quick Dates
Decatur County's civil records start the following years:
Decatur County Tennessee Courthouse
Decatur County Courthouse
P.O. Box 488
Decaturville, TN 38329-0488
Decatur County Clerk
Decatur County Register of Deeds
Circuit Court Clerk
Mon.-Tues. and Thurs.-Fri.8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Wed. and Sat. 8 a.m.-noon
Decatur County Tennessee History
West Tennessee county.
[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.
- Marriages lost 1845 to 1869
- Probate lost 1845 to 1869
- Nearly all records, except deeds, lost in 1869 fire.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
Decatur County Tennessee Places / Localities
Cities and Towns:
| Bath Springs
| Mount Carmel
| Red Walnut|
Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Resources
Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Decatur County biography and cemetery records. To determine which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.
- Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties: Decatur County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
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|
|See Tennessee Cemeteries for more information.|
1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal population censuses of Decatur 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.
1828 - 1939
- Porch, Deane Decatur County, Tennessee, 1850 census Nashville, Tennessee: D. Porch, 1970
FHL US/CAN Book 976.832 X2
1869 - 1909
- Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara 1880 Census, Decatur County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : B. Sistler and Associates, c1993 FHL US/CAN book 976.832 X2
1874 - 1955
1908 - 1958
1914 - 1955
1780 - 2002
1780 - 2002
1790 - 1950
1796 - 1950
1851 - 1900
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.
- Decatur County Church Records
- - FamilySearch Catalog - Decatur County Church Records
- Church histories tell when a church started in the area, who the early members were, give data about church leaders, etc.
- If the records you need are not found in the Family History Library collection, contact the church(es) in the area where your ancestor lived. Two sites that give information about churches in Bedford County are:
- - List of Decatur County churches with addresses and phone numbers (Yellowbook)
- - List of Decatur County churches (TN HomeTownLocator)
- In 1936, a helpful guide to early Decatur County church records was published by the Works Project Administration. Use this guide to locate which church records exist and where they were housed in 1936. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has filmed some of these records. To locate which records are available at the TSLA, go to the appropriate "county fact sheet" on the TSLA Web site and scroll down to "selected manuscript material". All filmed church records at the TSLA for Decatur County are listed. Many of these filmed records are also available at the Family History Library.
More than a dozen genealogies have been published about Decatur County, Tennessee Genealogy families. To view a list, visit Decatur County, Tennessee Genealogy.
Decatur County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1846 and is located at 22 West Main Street, Decaturville, Tennessee 38329, or P.O. Box 488, Decaturville, TN 38329-0488; Telephone: 731-852-3712. Land and property records may include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
The Family History Library has microfilmed deed records 1846-1896 with indexes to 1926 and survey books 1891-1918.
Law and Legislation
- Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. January 25, 2005. [In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service.] The TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at the TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.
War of 1812
- Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Apr. 1960):40-45. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 7 (1960); digital version at journal website. [Includes Decatur County pensioners (p. 43)]
- 1861-1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - Tennessee, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1891-1965 - Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891-1965 at FamilySearch — images
- Civil War Research Database $
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
Regiments. Civil War service men from Decatur 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 Decatur County:
- 10th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry (DeMoss') - CSA - Company C.
- 27th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry - CSA - Company E.
- 31st Regiment, Tennessee Infantry (A. H. Bradford's) - CSA - Company H.
- 51st Consolidated Regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Companies A and E.
- 52nd Regiment, Tennessee Infantry - CSA - Company A, D, and I.
- Cox's Battalion, Tennessee Cavalry, Company C
- 2nd Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry - Companies C, D, and E.
- 6th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry - Companies G and H.
Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Decatur County:
- Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications: Decatur County, (accessed 30 Jan 2012). Index includes Soldier's Name, County, Pension #, Unit or widow.
- United States Pension Bureau, List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883: Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for ... (Washington Printing Office; 1883), (accessed 30 Jan 2012). Online at Internet Archive. Decatur County, page 331.
Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the 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 Decatur County click on the following cities or towns:
- Miller, Alan N. West Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1821 to 1889. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2man. Purchase at Genealogical.com. [Includes Decatur County.]
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 Decatur 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.
- Family Findings
- Genealogical articles with abstracts of Decatur County, Tennessee records have been published in Family Findings, the quarterly of the Mid-West Tennessee Genealogical Society (42+ vols.). The Family History Library has most issues of this quarterly FHL US/CAN 976.8 B2f.
- Tables of contents for some volumes are available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb Project:
- Many articles from this publication have been reproduced on the TNGenWeb Project website, try this specialized Google search.
- West Tennessee Historical Society Papers
- Family History Library has Volumes 1 - 16 and 30 FHL US/CAN Book 976.81 B5w. The West Tennessee Historical Society Papers are indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
To view Table of Contents and complete articles from 1947 - 2005 see Shelby County Register of Deeds
Learn if your Decatur County ancestors went to prison!
- Inmates of the Tennessee State Penitentiary 1851-1870, free index available online, courtesy: TSLA.
The County Court has responsibility for the probate records of Decatur County.
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:
- Wills, 1869-1927 (Vol. 1)
- Bonds, 1869-1975
- Bonds, Letters, 1869-1930 (3 vols.)
- Insolvent estate records, 1869-1941
- Inventories, 1869-1905
- Settlements, 1869-1913 (4 vols.)
The following Decatur County tax records have been abstracted:
-  "1849 Land Sales Held in 3 West Tennessee Counties for Unpaid Taxes," [1848 taxpayers in Decatur, Carroll, and Henderson counties], Ansearchin' News, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Winter 1997):12. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
- [1852-1882] Hill, Phyllis. "Decatur County, TN - Misc - Tax Receipts of W.G. Riggs," available online, courtesy: USGenWeb Archives. [Abstracts of receipts Riggs received for paying his taxes, various years between 1852 and 1882.]
-  Hill, Phyllis. "Decatur County, TN - Land - Property Tax Records, District 12, 1888," available online, courtesy: USGenWeb Archives.
-  Hill, Phyllis. "Decatur County, TN - Land - Property Tax Records, District 12, 1889," available online, courtesy: USGenWeb Archives.
-  Hill, Phyllis. "Decatur County, TN - Land - Property Tax Records, District 12, 1896," available online, courtesy: USGenWeb Archives.
- 1881-1903 - Decatur County Birth Index 1881-1903 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - free. Batch C710351.
Marriages were not officially recorded in Decatur County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice. The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:
- 1794-1851 - Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2L.
The following Decatur County Courthouse marriage records have been indexed:
- 1790-1950 - Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950 - covers all counties in Tennessee.
- 1780-2002 - Many county marriage records are indexed with images at Ancestry's Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 ($). Be aware that this index is not complete for all counties.
- 1838-1888 - Tennessee Civil Marriages, 1838-1888 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1851-1900 - Tennessee Marriages, 1851-1900
- 1869-1895 - Decatur County Marriage Index 1869-1895 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - free.
- 1869-1898 - Historical Records Project Marriage records, 1869-1898, Decatur County, Tennessee Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1939. FHL US/CAN Film 24638 items 3-7,11
- 1869-1921, 1927-1992 - Alexander, Fred and Margie Early marriage records of Decatur County, Tennessee Decaturville, Tennessee: F. Alexander, [1987?] FHL US/CAN Book 976.832 V2a volume 1 and 2 "Early Marriage Records of Decatur County, Tennessee covered all recorded marriages from 1869 to 1921. A fire on March 25, 1927 destroyed all records between March 23, 1921 and March 25, 1927. This book begins with the records following the fire and continues through the year 1992."
- 1869-1921, 1927-1959 - Decatur County (Tennessee) County Court Clerk Marriages (Decatur County, Tennessee), 1869-1921, 1927-1959 Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives and History, [197-?]-1988. FHL US/CAN Films 979648-650, 979652 items 1-2, 1928661-663
In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Decatur County divorce papers in diverse manuscript collections, see:
- W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.
For deaths of Methodists in Decatur County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:
- Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, the Nashville Christian Advocate. [1847-1914] 10 vols. [Jackson, Tenn.]: J.K.T. Smith, 1997-2003. FHL US/CAN Books 976.855/N1 V48s 1847-1851 ff; digital versions at David Donahue Memorial: Tennessee Records Repository. [Website expands upon the publications and includes deaths from the 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s.]
Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Societies and Libraries
| Decatur County Public Library
20 W Market St
Decaturville, TN 38329
Mon., Thurs., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
|The Tennessee Room holds birth and marriage records, census records, cemetery records, county histories, military records, county deeds, court minutes, newspapers, etc. The director of the Library has volunteered to take pictures of headstones in Decatur county. Check out the Library's website for more information.|
| Parsons Public Library
535 Tennessee Ave South
Parsons, TN 38363
Mon., Thurs., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wed. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
| Decatur County Historical Society
PO Box 700
Decaturville, TN 38329-0700.
| West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Hours vary by semester
|The Heritage Study Center holds a variety of genealogical resources including materials relating to the following counties in Tennessee: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, Wayne, Weakley and Carlisle, Fulton, and Hickman counties in Kentucky.|
| West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
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.
Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy Websites
- The Decatur County Obituary Project
- Decatur County, TN Family History and Genealogy Message Board (Ancestry)
- Decatur County, TN Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Decatur County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- FamilySearch Catalog (FamilySearch) — The catalog is genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) This catalog is different than the indexed Historical Records.
- Mailing List: TNDECATU-L (Decatur County, Tennessee List) (RootsWeb)
- Mailing List: WEST-TNCHAT-L (West Tennessee Chat List) (RootsWeb)
- Mailing List: WESTTN-L (West Tennessee List) (RootsWeb)
- Yesterday's Tennessee
Decatur County Tennessee Genealogy References
- 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.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Decatur County, Tennessee page 639, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- "List of counties in Tennessee", Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 639. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
- Voice of Louise Lynch, Archivist, Williamson County, Tennessee Archives (2010).
- Lost Records: Courthouse Fires and Disasters in Tennessee in Tennessee State Library and Archives in Tennessee Secretary of State (accessed 31 March 2014).
- Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee States Library and Archives, 1966), 20.
- WPA. Guide to Church Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville: Tennessee State Planning Commission, 1942. FHL 976.8 K23w
- The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
- 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.
- Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL US/CAN Book 973 B2ng v. 81 (1993)