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Dec 16, 2019

Tennessee, Shelby County, Memphis, Board of Health Death Records, 1848-1913

Example, 1905 Register of Deaths

About This Collection

Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Tennessee, Shelby County, Memphis, Board of Health Death Records, 1848-1913. This collection is searchable.

What’s in This Collection?

Fields indexed in this record collection include the name of the deceased, date and place of death, gender, age, estimated birth year and certificate number, however, because the documents within the collection are variable, the document image may contain more information such as occupation, birthplace, marital status, length of time in the city, names and birthplaces of parents and more.

Death records for the enslaved are listed under the name of the slaveholder and rarely include the name of the enslaved person.

Document Images

The document images are available for this collection. The collection is composed of thirteen different types of records, so the images attached to records are variable. Some are simply an index card with typewritten text, others are full page from a register of deaths, some are actual death certificates.

See the Collection Learn More page to see a list of the types of records included in this collection.

Sample Image

Example, 1856 Death Register
Example, 1856 Death Register
Example, 1905 Register of Deaths
Example, 1905 Register of Deaths
Example, 1912 Death Certificate
Example, 1912 Death Certificate

Researching From This Collection

To evaluate search results, compare the information to what you already know about your ancestor to determine whether or not this record is for your ancestor.

If you are confident that a record is for your ancestor, use any new information to add to your ancestor’s timeline. To learn more about creating a timeline for an ancestor, see the article “Timelines Keep Your Genealogy Research Moving Forward” by Dr. Shelley V. Murphy.

Use the information within the document to find other records related to your ancestor’s death. You can:

  • search newspapers for an obituary
  • note the funeral home, if listed, and check to see if the funeral home is still in operation, or if the records of the funeral home are preserved in an archive
  • note the cemetery, if listed, and check FindAGrave to see if the cemetery is listed there
  • search for church records, if the cemetery is connected to a church
  • visit the cemetery, locate your ancestor’s grave, and see if other family members are buried nearby

You can also use the information in the record to search for other records for your ancestor in national, state and city records.

Related Resources

The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for Tennessee provides an overview of African American genealogy research in Tennessee.

To learn more about African American research in Tennessee, you can watch BlackProGen LIVE! Ep 55: People of Color Genealogy Research in Tennessee.

Related FamilySearch Wiki Pages

The African American Resources for Tennessee page on the FamilySearch Wiki may help you locate other records for your ancestor. The Tennessee Record Finder page on the FamilySearch Wiki may help you locate records as well.

To learn more about researching in Tennessee, you can view the Tennessee Research page on FamilySearch. The Shelby County, Tennessee Genealogy page on the FamilySearch Wiki contains information about Shelby County history, the start dates for each type of record for Shelby County, contact information for local repositories and more.

To learn more about using vital records in your research, see the United States Vital Records page on the FamilySearch Wiki.

More Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy

Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.

Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.

Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state. 

African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.

What are your favorite resources for researching in Tennessee? Let us know in the comments below!