Difference between revisions of "McNairy County, Tennessee Genealogy"

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(added info box)
Line 5: Line 5:
{{Infobox U.S. County
{{Infobox U.S. County  
| seal =
| county = McNairy County  
| seal size =
| county_map =  
| county = McNairy County
| boundary_map=TN_McNairy_County_Boundary_Map.JPG
| county_map =McNair County Tennessee.png
| state = Tennessee
| state = Tennessee
| state_map = Tennessee.png
| state_map = Tennessee.png  
| latd =  
| latd =  
| longd =  
| longd =  
| founded title=Founded:
| founded year = 1823
| founded year=1823
| founded date = October 8
| founded date=October 8
| seat = Selmer  
| motto =
| seat= [[Selmer, Tennessee|Selmer]]
| seat wl =
| building image =  
| building image =  
| building image size =
| building address = McNairy County Courthouse]<br>170 Court Ave.<br>Selmer, TN 38375<br>Phone: 1-731-645-3511 [http://www.mcnairycountytn.com/ '''McNairy County Website'''] }}
| building address =  
| web =
| named for =
| flag =
| flag size =
| logo =
| logo size =
| ex image =
| ex image size =
| ex image cap =
| adoption_sign = Adoption TNGenWeb
| footnotes =
== Quick Dates  ==
== Quick Dates  ==
Line 172: Line 153:
== Resources  ==
== Resources  ==
==== Getting Started  ====
==== Getting Started  ====

Revision as of 01:45, 9 May 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Tennessee Gotoarrow.png McNairy County

McNairy County, Tennessee genealogy and family history research page. Guide to McNairy County (established 1823) genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

Hand and keyboard.jpg Tennessee
Online Records

McNairy County, Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded October 8, 1823
County Seat Selmer
Address McNairy County Courthouse]
170 Court Ave.
Selmer, TN 38375
Phone: 1-731-645-3511 McNairy County Website

Quick Dates

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

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1881 1861  1908  1830  1823  1872 

County Courthouse

McNairy County Courthouse, Selmer, Tenn. Courtesy: Collection: County Court Houses, Flickr by Jimmy Emerson. Used by permission.

McNairy County Courthouse
170 Court Ave.
Selmer, TN 38375
Phone: 1-731-645-3511

County Clerk has marriage records from 1861, some birth, death and cemetery records.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [2]

McNairy County Archives
170 Court Ave., Basement level
McNairy County Courthouse
Selmer, TN 38375
Phone: 1-731-645-7095

Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays and weekends


West Tennessee county. Established 1823.

The county is named after "John McNairy, judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee."[3]

Parent County

1823--McNairy County was established 8 October 1823 from Hardin County.
County seat: Athens [4]

County Pronunciation

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

Boundary Changes

"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.

Record Loss

1881--Fire damaged records
  • Lost census: 1890
  • Lost marriages: 1823 to 1860
  • Lost probate: 1823 to 1871

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Populated Places

Acton Falcon Liberty Pebble Hill
Adamsville Finger McNairy Purdy
Bethel Springs Forty Forks Michie Ramer
Caffey Gilchrist Milledgeville Rose Creek
Chambers Good Hope Mount Vinson Selmer
Chewalla Gravel Hill Mount Zion Statonville
Copeland (hist.) Guys Needmore Tulu
Cypress Hickory Flats New Hope West Shiloh
Eastview Leapwood Old Lawton

Neighboring Counties



Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published McNairy 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.

Research Guides

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans


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

  • 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.


1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of McNairy 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 McNairy, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. [The USGenWeb Census Project®].


  • Brown, Albert 1830 and 1840 census index for McNairy Co., Tennessee Bethel Springs, Tennessee : Albert Brown, c1998 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X22


  • Brown, Albert 1830 and 1840 census index for McNairy Co., Tennessee Bethel Springs, Tennessee : Albert Brown, c1998 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X22

1840 Pensioners




  • McNairy County Genealogical Society (Selmer, Tennessee) McNairy County, Tennessee, 1870 census Selmer, Tennessee : McNairy County Genealogical Society, 1992 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X2m 1870


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census McNairy County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : B. Sistler and Associates, 2002 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X29
  • Brown, Albert McNairy Co., TN, 1880 census: McNairy County Tennessee record Bethel Springs, Tennessee : A. Brown, 1995 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X28 


  • Brown, Albert McNairy County, Tennessee, research records : the 1890 tax record of McNairy county Bethel Springs, Tennessee : A. Brown, c1994 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 R4b (Contents: Index to Confederate Veterans pension application, index of widows who applied for Confederate pensions, index to B.G. Brazeltons, 1885 history of Hardin County, Tennessee and funeral records of McNaire County, Tennesse, 1947-1957.)


  • McNairy County Genealogical Society (Selmer, Tennessee) McNairy County, Tennessee, 1900 census Selmer, Tennessee : McNairy County Genealogical Society, c1992 FHL US/CAN book 976.829 X2




Family Histories

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]


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in McNairy, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 46,000 entries.


  • [Auten] Langston, Kathryn. Auten News. [Newsletter] Lavon, Texas: K. Langston, 1997-2002. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.27305 Au81a.
  • [Ballard] Miller, Lynne D. Texas Ballards. Lincolnton, North Carolina: L.D. Miller, 2000. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 B212mtx; digital version at FamilySearch Books Online.
  • [Birchett] See Combs.
  • [Brooks] Brooks, Moses Edward. Descendants of James Brooks. Unknown: unknown, 1974. Available at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Cain] Truett, Earl A. William Hardin Cain, His Descendants and the Founders of Northwest Lafayette County, Mississippi. 2 vols. Oxford, Miss.: E.A. Truett, 1978-1980. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 C123t ff.
  • [Combs] Cooke, Katherine Joss. The House that Grew. Alexandria, Va.: K.J. Cooke, 1988. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 C733ck.
  • [Dawson] Ebrom, Janet Dawson and Gregory Alan Dawson. Dawson -- Deaton, Pioneers to Texas. San Antonio, Texas: Dawson Books, 1989. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D327e.
  • [Deaton] Wilson, Larry M. Genealogy of the Family of Deaton. Kansas City, Missouri: L. Wilson, 1993. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D349w; digital version at BYU Family History Archives.
  • [Donnell] Frame, Peggy Campbell. The Albert Franklin Donnell Family. Aztec, N.M.: P.C. Frame, 2005. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 D718f; digital version at BYU Family History Archives..
  • [Ellis] Family Records of the Ellis and Leonard Families. MSS., microfilmed in 1965; FHL US/CAN Film 414865.
  • [Harris] Crockett, Barbara Jean Harris. Barbara's Book: A Compilation of Harris History. Fenton, Michigan: B.J.H. Crockett, 1981. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 H24cb.
  • [Harris] Gohr, Glenn W. James David Harris: His Kith and His Kin: A Compilation of Harris History. Springfield, Missouri: G.W. Gohr, 1990. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 H24go.
  • [Hightower] Hales, Samuel Dale. A History of Some English Speaking People Called Hales, Hendricks, Hightower and Hearne Who Lived in the South and in Texas, 1634-1934. Shawnee Mission, Kansas: S.D. Hales, 1975. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 H137hs.
  • [Hurst] Branch, Virginia. The Hurst Nation: A Family History. 2 vols. Paragould, Ark.: V. Branch, 1987-1991. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 H943b ff.
  • [Richards] Richards, James P. Richards Family Genealogical Records, 1743-1978. Typescript, FHL US/CAN Film 1320608 Item 31.
  • [Wharton] Wharton, Richard. Richard Wharton papers, 1863 - 1906. Book contributor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A diary, letters and other writings including his service in the Confederate Army , letters relating to family matters, a genealogy of the Wharton family, poems and speeches. Free digital copy.


  • McNairy County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1823 and is located at the Courthouse, Selmer, Tennessee 38375-2194; Telephone: (731) 645-5446.  Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
  • The Family History Library has microfilm copies of deeds 1823-1903 with indexes 1835-1901; land grants 1823-1961.

Local Histories

  • Wright, Marcus Joseph. Reminiscences of the Early Settlement and Early Settlers of McNairy County, Tennessee. Washington, D.C.: Commercial Pub. Co., 1882. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 599232. Digital version at Google Books.

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.] 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 TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.



Revolutionary War

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

  1. 1835 Pension Roll
  2. 1852 Rejected or Suspended Pensions

Additional resources include:

War of 1812
  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan. 1961):20-23. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. [Includes McNairy County pensioners (pp. 20-21).]
Civil War

Civil War service men from McNairy 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 McNairy County.

Confederate Soldiers

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from McNairy County:

Civil War Battle

The following Civil War Battles were fought in McNairy County

Map showing Civil War battles fought in Tennessee


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 McNairy 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 McNairy 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 McNairy County, Tennessee records 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.
Back Trackers
Publication of the McNairy County Genealogical Society, Selmer, Tenn. The Family History Library has Vols. 1-4 (1991-1994): FHL US/CAN Book 976.829 B2b.
Family Findings
Genealogical articles with abstracts of McNairy 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 to retrieve them.
McNairy County History and Genealogy Newsletter
The Family History Library has volume 12 no. 3 and 4 FHL US/CAN 976.829 D25n
The Newsletter is indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
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 McNairy County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!


The County Court has responsibility for the probate records of McNairy County. Many records are held by the McNairy County Archives.

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, 1872-1936
  • Bonds, 1861-1947
  • Bonds, Letters, 1865-1932
  • Insolvent estate records, 1873-1941
  • Inventories, 1865-1931
  • Settlements, 1865-1936

The following McNairy County probate records have been abstracted, indexed, or both:

  • [1865-1896] Brown, Albert. McNairy Co., Administrators Record Index, 1865-1896. Bethel Springs, Tennessee: A. Brown, 1994. (FHL book 976.829 P22b.)
  • [1858-1967] Brown, Albert. McNairy County, Tennessee Record, Will Index, 1858-1967: From Court Minute Books and Will Books. Bethel Springs, Tennessee: A. Brown, 1993. (FHL book 976.829 P28ba.)
  • [1872-1936] Kennedy, Nancy Wardlow. Will Book Abstracts of McNairy County, Tennessee. Selmer, Tennessee: N.W. Kennedy, [199-?]. Indexed. (FHL book 976.829 P28k.)


The original McNairy County Tax Books 1867-1882 were microfilmed by TSLA. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 983095-983096.

The following McNairy County tax records have been abstracted:[8]

  • [1890] Brown, Albert. McNairy County, Tennessee, Research Records: The 1890 Tax Record of McNairy County. Bethel Springs, Tenn.: A. Brown, 1994. FHL US/CAN Book 976.829 R4b.

Vital Records


Marriages were not officially recorded in McNairy County during the first few years of its existence. In 1838, a law was passed mandating the practice.[9] 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 McNairy County marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1758-1958] Brown, Albert. Husbands, Wives, Marriages, 1758-1958. Bethel Springs, Tenn.: Albert Brown, c1998. FHL US/CAN Book 976.829 V2b. [Reconstructed marriage records, prepared by genealogists.] 
  • [1861-1865] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early West Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: B. Sistler & Associates, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 V2sb v. 1 ff. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.]
  • [1861-1869] Historical Records Survey (Tennessee) Marriage records, 1861-1869, McNairy County, Tennessee Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1943. FHL US/CAN Film 24750 items 4-6
  • [1861-1961] McNairy County, Tennessee County Court Clerk Marriage records (McNairy County), 1861-1961 Nashville, Tennessee : Tennessee State Library and Archives, [19-]-1988. FHL US/CAN Film 983068-76 and 1928775-78.
  • [1896-1950] Tennessee County Court (McNairy County) Marriage licenses (McNairy County, Tennessee), 1896-1950 Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1999. FHL US/CAN Film 2155958 and 2156162 item 1
  • [1911-1926] McNairy County Genealogical Society (Selmer, Tennessee) Marriages of McNairy County, Tennessee, 1911-1926 Selmer, Tennessee : McNairy County Genealogical Society, c1992. FHL US/CAN Book 976.829 V2m
  • Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950 - covers all counties in Tennessee.
  • 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 McNairy County divorce papers in diverse County Courthouse records, 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 McNairy County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Societies and Libraries

Irving Meek, Jr. Public Library
204 W Main St.
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: 1-731-632-3572
Email: adamsvillelibrary@centurytel.net
Mon., Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues., Thurs. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Jack McConnico Memorial Library
225 Oak Grove Rd
Selmer, TN 38375
Phone: 1-731-645-5571
Mon., Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues., Thurs. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Phone: 1-731-881-7060
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
Phone: 1-901-475-6608
E-mail: efrank@memphis.edu

Family History Centers

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: McNairy County, Tennessee


  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), McMinn County, Tennessee page 642, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 642. (FHL Collection Ref 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. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 22 August 2012)
  8. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  9. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL 973 B2ng v. 81