Lake County, Tennessee Genealogy
West Tennessee county. Established 1870.
- 1 Quick Dates
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Research Guides
- 5.2 African American
- 5.3 Biographies
- 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 Occupations
- 5.16 Periodicals
- 5.17 Probate
- 5.18 Taxation
- 5.19 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Web Sites
- 8 References
Lake County's civil records start the following years:
116 South Court
- County Clerk has marriage and probate records
- Register of Deeds has land records
- Circuit Court Clerk has court records
Genealogy mail requests are forwarded to the County Historian
Mon., Wed. and Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Thurs. 8 a.m.-Noon
County boundaries have not changed since its creation.
"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.
Some county records were discarded and passed to the keeping of a private citizen. In 1995 they were given to the University of Tennessee at Martin, where they are now among the manuscript holdings. These include: Tiptonville city record book 1900-1926 (MS 61); Lake County licenses, registers, and misc records 1896-1920 (MS 62); Lake County tax record ledgers 1875-1915 (MS 63).
- Lost census: 1890
- Lost marriage records: 1870 to 1883
Although these are not burned records, applying strategies used for burned counties may aid in compensating for their loss. For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:
- Arlene Eakle, When the Records are Gone in Tennessee Genealogy Blog
- Burned Counties Research in FamilySearch Wiki
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle
|Blue Bank||Grays Camp||New Markham||Tiptonville|
|Cottonwood Grove||Haynes||Owl Hoot||Wynnburg|
|Estes Pond||Madie||Proctor City|
- Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Tennessee Counties: Lake County, courtesy: TSLA. (Identifies published county histories, published local records, census records, newspapers and local records on microfilm, and select manuscripts.)
- Douthat, James L. Lake County, Tennessee Biographies. 1887; reprint, Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free Surname Index and purchase details at Mountain Press website.
- 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 Lake County linking to the information about the people buried there,
- Lake County, TN Cemetery Records, part of the TNGenWeb Cemetery Database, lists many cemeteries in the county, often with indexes and transcripts of the burials.
- Lake County, Tennessee, part of 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 for Lake County. Some of the books or other books may be on Google Books or available at public libraries.
1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Lake 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.
- Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census Lake County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : Byron Sistler and Associates, 2002 FHL US/CAN book 976.812 X2
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. 3 1891. [Lake County is included in Vol. 3.]
- 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]
- Lake County Historical Society. History and Families Lake County, Tennessee: 1870-1992. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co., 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.812 H2h.
- [Shull] Algee, Isabelle Rogers. The Shull Family of Lake County, Tennessee and Allied Families. n.p.: I.R. Algee, 1998. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 Sh92ai.
- Lake County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1870 and is located at Courthouse, 116 S. Court, Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079; Telephone: (731) 253-7582. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries
- The Family History Library has microfilmed copies on deeds 1870-1914 with indexes 1870-1969; and land entry books 1893-1929.
War of 1812
There were no War of 1812 pensioners or widows of pensioners living in Lake 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 Lake County click on the following 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 Lake 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:
- Family Findings
- Genealogical articles with abstracts of Lake 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. Volume 2, No. 4 (Oct. 1970) was a special issue devoted to Lake County records in honor of its centennial anniversary.
- 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 to retrieve them.
- 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 Lake County.
The following Lake County tax records have been abstracted:
-  Moore, Leslie. "Lake County, Tennessee 1891 Voter's List," Districts 1-4 available online, courtesy TNGenWeb.
Marriages were not officially recorded in Lake County during the first few years of its existence. In 1838, 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 976.8 V2L.
The following Lake County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:
- [1883-1953] Lake County, Tennessee County Court Clerk Marriage bonds (Lake County, Tennessee), 1883-1953 Nashville, Tennessee : Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1976-1988. FHL US/CAN Film 1007781-83and 1928747
- 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. Lake, 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.
For deaths of Methodists in Lake County (or what became Lake 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
| Lake County Historical Society
122 LeDuke St.
Tiptonville, TN 38079
| Ridgely Public Library
134 N Main St.
Ridgley, TN 38080
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 1-5 p.m.
| Tiptonville Public Library
126 Tipton St.
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Hours: Mon - Fri 12:30 - 5 pm
|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 Library Catalog (FamilySearch)
- Lake County, TN Family History and Genealogy Message Board (Ancestry)
- Lake County, TN Genealogy Forum (GenForum)
- Lake County, TNGenWeb (USGenWeb)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: TNLAKE-L (Lake County, Tennessee List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: TN-NEWMADRID-QUAKE-L (1811 New Madrid Earthquake Genealogy List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: WEST-TNCHAT-L (West Tennessee Chat List)
- RootsWeb Mailing List: WESTTN-L (West Tennessee List)
- "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), 641. (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. 4 (Oct. 1960):90-93. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 7 (1960); digital version at journal website. [Discussion of Lake County on page 92.]
- The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
- Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL 973 B2ng v. 81