Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee State Library and Archives Partners with Ancestry.com to Make State Records More Widely Available
(Published: October 25, 2011)

Millions of Tennessee historical records will be readily available to genealogists throughout the country as a result of the State Library and Archives’ new partnership agreement with Ancestry.com, an online family history resource which has 1.7 million paying subscribers.

The State Library and Archives is commencing the relationship by sharing Tennessee death records from 1908 through 1959 with Ancestry.com and its users. This database includes 1.2 million digital images and indexes 3.4 million names that appear in those records.

The records are available free to Tennesseans by visiting the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) main web page at http://tntel.tnsos.org/, then clicking on the “genealogy” tab and then the “Tennessee Death Records” tab.

Gale Williams Bamman, a professional genealogist from Cross Plains who has been using resources at the State Library and Archives for decades, said the partnership with Ancestry.com should pay big dividends for researchers.

“While there is nothing better than doing research in person, having the original documents scanned and online is a great convenience,” Ms. Bamman said. “The indexing that Ancestry.com has provided makes the records more accessible than they have ever been. And making the data free to Tennesseans through TEL is an excellent service.”

In addition to being able to research their own family histories, researchers can also use the records to learn about notable Tennessee figures such as Scopes Monkey Trial lawyer and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, former governor Austin Peay, Grand Ole Opry star Uncle Dave Macon and Gladys Presley, the mother of Elvis Presley – all of whose death certificates are part of this online collection.

“The State Library and Archives is dedicated to sharing Tennessee’s history and the vast store of information contained in our archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “The best genealogical and historical research is based on documentary evidence and we are delighted to share this vast collection of documents in a new way. Our partnership with Ancestry.com will help people with Tennessee heritage learn about their ancestors more easily than ever before.”

The Tennessee death records from those years, along with other vital records collected from other states, are also available to Ancestry.com subscribers at www.ancestry.com/vitals

“We are proud that our new relationship with the State Library and Archives will enable more Tennesseans and others to discover greater details of their family history,” said Josh Hanna, Executive Vice President and GM, Ancestry.com. “We are looking forward to continuing to offer valuable content from the state of Tennessee on Ancestry.com in the near future.”