Chester County, Tennessee Genealogy
West Tennessee county. Established 1879.
- 1 Quick Dates
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places / Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Getting Started
- 5.2 Research Guides
- 5.3 African American
- 5.4 Cemeteries
- 5.5 Census
- 5.6 Church
- 5.7 Court
- 5.8 DNA
- 5.9 Family Histories
- 5.10 Land
- 5.11 Local Histories
- 5.12 Maps
- 5.13 Military
- 5.14 Newspapers
- 5.15 Periodicals
- 5.16 Probate
- 5.17 Taxation
- 5.18 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Web Sites
- 8 References
Chester County's civil records start the following years:
P.O. Box 205
133 East Main St.
Henderson, TN 38340
- County Clerk has marriage and probate records
- Register of Deeds has land records
- Clerk of Circuit Court has court records
Mon.-Tues.and Thurs.-Fri.8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Wed.and Sat.8 a.m.-noon
The county is named after "Tennessee state legislator Robert I. Chester."
"Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the My Tennessee Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.
1910 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.
For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:
- Burned Counties Research in FamilySearch Wiki
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle
- When the Records are Gone in Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Genealogy Blog
Places / Localities
Cities and Towns:
Center Point Lula
| Oak Grove|
Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Chester County biography 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: Chester County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
Cemetery records often include birth, marriage, and death information.
- Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried. Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone. May give obituaries, names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.
- Find A Grave also gives a list of cemeteries in Chester County linking to the information about the people buried there,
- Chester County, TN Cemetery Records, part of the TNGenWeb Cemetery Database, lists many cemeteries in the county, often with indexes and transcripts of the burials.
- Chester County, Tennessee, USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project lists many cemeteries in the county and has transcripts of the tombstones arranged by cemetery.
- The Family History Library Catalog lists some records of cemeteries in Chester county. Some of the books or others may be on Google Books or available at public libraries.
1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 Chester County federal population schedules 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.
1880 - See parent counties
1890 - Lost, but substitutes are available:
- Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 7 1891. [Johnson County is included in Vol. 7.]
- Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.
It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:
- Locate publications about direct ancestors
- Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
- Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]
- Chester County, Tennessee, 1882-1995, History and Families. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co., 1995. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8265 H2c. Publisher's description.
- [Baird] See McConnell.
- [Barber] See McConnell.
- [Martin] See McConnell.
- [McCall] See McConnell.
- [McConnell] McConnell, Newton Whitfield. Genealogical History of the Families of McConnells, Martins, Barbers, Wilsons, Bairds, McCalls and Morris. Unknown: Unknown, 1913. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 1031512 Item 8; digital version available at Heritage Quest Online ($).
- [Morris] See McConnell.
- [Wilson] See McConnell.
Chester County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1891 and is located at Courthouse, P.O. Box 205, Henderson, TN 38340-0205; Telephone: (901) 989-2233. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
The Family history Library has Chester County deeds 1891-1899.
War of 1812
There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Chester County on 2 January 1883.
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 Chester County click on the following city:
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 Chester 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 Chester 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.
- 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
Probate records are court records created after an individual’s death that relate to a court’s decisions regarding the distribution of the estate to the heirs or creditors and the care of any dependents. You may find the names of married daughters or other relatives and their residences; or information about the adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. Probate records do not always give an exact date of death, but the death usually occurred within a few months of probate. These documents are important to family history researchers, because they usually exist for time periods before civil birth and death records were kept.
The County Court has responsibility for the probate records of Chester County.
Marriages were not officially recorded in Chester County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice. The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:
- 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 Chester County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:
- [1891-1959] Chester County (Tennessee) County Court Clerk Marriages (Chester County, Tennessee) 1891-1959 Nashville, Tennessee : Filmed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, [197-?]-1988. FHL US/CAN Film 979716 and 1928630-31
- RecordSearch at FamilySearch now includes indexed Tennessee marriages. This is a free pilot site and still under construction. At this time, it is best to search from the home page titled Discover Your Ancestors; indicate a surname, marriage "event" and a county name (i.e. Chester, Tennessee). Browse through the results for that surname. You may need to supply any variant spellings of the surname in separate searches.
- 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.
In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Chester 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 Chester County (or what later became Chester 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.]
Societies and Libraries
| Chester County Historical Society|
P.O. Box 721
Henderson, TN 38340
| Chester County Library
1012 E Main St
Henderson, TN 38340
Hours: Mon.-Wed., Fri 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Thurs. 12-7 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
|The Chester County Library contains a Genealogy Room.|
| 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
- Chester County, TN Family History and Genealogy Message Board (Ancestry)
- Chester County, TN Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Chester County, TN Genealogy Forum (GenForum)
- Chester County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- Chester County, TN History, Records, Facts and Genealogy (MyTennesseeGenealogy)
- Family History Library Catalog (FamilySearch)
- Mailing List: SW-TN-L (Southwest Tennessee List) (RootsWeb)
- Mailing List: TNCHESTE-L (Chester County, Tennessee List) (RootsWeb)
- Mailing List: WEST-TNCHAT-L (West Tennessee Chat List) (RootsWeb)
- Mailing List: WESTTN-L (West Tennessee List) (RootsWeb)
- 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.
- "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 638. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
- Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
- Hermione D. Embry, "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. (For discussion of Chester County, see page 40.)
- 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)