Talk:Fayette County, Tennessee Genealogy

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee  Gotoarrow.png  Fayette County
Location of Fayette County, Tennessee
Fayette County Boundary Map

West Tennessee county. Established 1824.

Getting started in this county in 4 EASY STEPS:

1.  What information do you wish to locate about your ancestor?  To choose the sources you need to search first, please click on  RECORD SELECTION TABLE: United States OR  RECORD SELECTION TABLE: United States 2, which will help you decide. 

2.  From the above Record Selection Table, which sources do you wish to check in this county?  To check the availability of your sources of interest as well as to check the websites that have them online, please click on this county's SOURCES LINKS TABLE.

3.  Do you know the location that you wish to search in this county?  If so, please check for some possible sources and some online information about your location of interest, by clicking on POPULATED AREAS TABLE for this county.

4.  For further information regarding your sources of interest, see "5 Resources" ABOVE in the "CONTENTS" tableand click on the source of interest.  Remember that you should always try to get an original copy of that source to verify information.

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County Courthouse

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

Fayette County Courthouse
P.O. Box 218
1 Court Square
Somerville, Tennessee 38068-0218
Phone: (901) 465-5219

Fayette County Clerk
Birth and Death 1925-1929
Marriage from 1838 except 1918 - 1925 lost in fire
P.O. Box 218
1 Court Square, Room 101
Somerville, TN 38068
Phone 901-465-5213

Fayette County Register of Deeds
Land records
P.O. Box 99
1 Court Square
Somerville, TN 38068
Phone: 901-465-5251

Fayette County Chancery Court-Clerk and Master
Court records
P.O. Box 220
Somerville, TN 38068
Phone: 901-465-5217

Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm


The Marquis de Lafayette

The county is named after Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834).[1]

Parent County

1824--Fayette County was created 29 September 1824 from Hardeman and Shelby Counties.
County seat: Somerville[2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

1925 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.

  • Lack of marriage records: 1824 to 1837
  • Lost probate records: 1824 to 1836

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

Places / Localities

Populated Places 

For a list of locations in this county and information about each location online, through some helpful websites, please click on Populated Places Table for Fayette County

Neighboring Counties


Research Guides

African American

The Runaway Slave Blog is a free online resource where runaway slaves listed in pre-1865 West Tennessee newspapers are identified. Some of the runaway ads appeared in Fayette County newspapers.


  • 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 Fayette 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 Fayette County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. [The USGenWeb Census Project®]


  • Carpenter, Mrs. V.K. Seventh census of the United States, 1850 : Fayette County, Tennessee, free population schedules Huntsville, Arkansas : Century Enterprises, 1969 FHL US/CAN book 976.821 X2


  • Felldin, Jeanne Robey and Tucker, Charlotte Magee 1860 United States census, Fayette County, Tennessee, surname index Tomball, Texas : Genealogical Publications, c1976 FHL US/CAN book 976.8 A1


  • Sistler, Samuel D. 1880 census, Fayette County, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee : Byron Sistler and Associates, 2003 FHL US/CAN book 976.821 X22



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]


  • Matthews, Paul A. Early Families of the Memphis Area: Profiles of 135 Families of Fayette, Shelby and Tipton Counties in Tennessee, Crittenden County, Arkansas and DeSoto and Marshall Counties in Mississippi: With Historical Time Lines and Photographs of Those Counties. Memphis, Tennessee: Descendants of Early Settlers of Shelby and Adjoining Counties, 2008. FHL US/CAN Book 976 D2m.


  • [Alexander] Irwin, Frank Lewis. The Irwins and Their Kinfolk the Alexanders and Crawfords Who were Early Settlers (1837) in Fayette County, Tennessee. MSS., Fayette County Library.[3]
  • [Allen] Moore, Elizabeth Allen. The Allens of Fayette County, Tennessee and Related Families. 1980.
  • [Crawford] Irwin, Frank Lewis. The Irwins and Their Kinfolk the Alexanders and Crawfords Who were Early Settlers (1837) in Fayette County, Tennessee. MSS., Fayette County Library.[4]
  • [Irwin] Irwin, Frank Lewis. The Irwins and Their Kinfolk the Alexanders and Crawfords Who were Early Settlers (1837) in Fayette County, Tennessee. MSS., Fayette County Library.[5]
  • [Ivy] Hamilton, Hance H. The Genealogy of the Ivy/Ivey Family of Hickory With, Tennessee. 1998.
  • [Jones] Shaw, Dan. Mange and Jennie Jordan Jones: The Saga of a Fayette County Couple. 1995.
  • [McCraw] McCraw, Carol J., Joy Rushing, and Joyce AuBuchon. It is McCraw Not McGraw. Bountiful, Utah: Family History Publishers, Inc., 1998.
  • [Reeve] See Rives.
  • [Rives, Rivers] Morris, Whitmore. The Descendants of William Christopher Rives and Mary Rivers. San Antonio, TX: Unknown, 1934. Available at FHL US/CAN Film 873458; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Rogers] Rogers, Robert W. Rogers Genealogy with Ancestry of Rogers Families at Belmont; District 4, Fayette County, Mason, Tennessee. 1982. Available at Fayette County Library. [6]
  • [Thurman] Thurman, John P. John P. and Sallie Ecklin Thurman Papers1884-1896. Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Free digital copy.
  • [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, courtesy: Internet Archive.


Fayette County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1825 and is located at Courthouse, P. O. Box 99, Somerville, Tennessee 8068-0218; Telephone: (901) 465-5251. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.

The Family History has microfilm copies od deed books 1825- 1890 and land entries 1821-1881.

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 Tennessee State Library and Archives 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 Tennessee State Library and Archives; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories



Civil War

  • Lynn, H.M. H.M. Lynn Papers, 1858-1882. Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Dept., Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Free digital copy.  9th Tennessee Regiment, Company C.
  • Thurman, John P.  John P. and Sallie Ecklin Thurman Papers1884-1896. Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tennessee 3rd and 4th Calvary. Free digital copy.


Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. 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 Fayette 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 [Includes Fayette 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

Several genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Fayette 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

Several genealogical articles with abstracts of Fayette 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 Fayette County ancestors went to prison!


The following Fayette County probate records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1836-1861] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s. [Includes an index to this county's probate records.]


The following Fayette County tax records have been abstracted:

  • [1836] West, Betsy F. "Fayette County, Tennessee Tax List - 1836," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring 1975):30-35; Vol. 22, No. 2 (Summer 1975):90-95; Vol. 22, No. 3 (Fall 1975):140-144; Vol. 22, No. 4 (Winter 1975):188-192. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1874] Taxpayers, 1874, Old Timer Press. Ripley MS: Mar 1982. Vol. 1 Iss. 9.

Vital Records


Marriages were not officially recorded in Fayette County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice.[7] 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 Fayette County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1838-1873] 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.]


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

Societies and Libraries

Somerville-Fayette County Library
216 W Market St
Somerville, TN 38068
Mon - Wed, Fri - Sat 9 am - 5 pm
Thurs 12 pm - 8 pm
The Historical Room contains county records, state records, family histories, obituaries, cemetery records, and church records
Fayette County Historical Society
PO Box 304
Somerville, TN 38068
West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
Phone 901-475-6608

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Fayette County, Tennessee


  1. "List of Counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002), 639.
  3. Fayette County, Tennessee: A Partial Bibliography, updated 12/30/2002.
  4. Fayette County, Tennessee: A Partial Bibliography, updated 12/30/2002.
  5. Fayette County, Tennessee: A Partial Bibliography, updated 12/30/2002.
  6. Fayette County, Tennessee: A Partial Bibliography, updated 12/30/2002.
  7. 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)