Tennessee’s Department of Health Vital Records Division has delegated responsibility to maintain death records that date back the last 50 years on a statewide level. However, it’s vital to note that Tennessee death certificates exist in two very different types: non-certified and certified.
While the former are freely accessible public documents, the latter has restricted access limited to named decedents’ immediate family or legal representatives. As the vast majority of death certificate data are public records, non-certified copies are usually obtainable. Below is an outline of how to request both Tennessee death certificate types.
• In person
Certified death certificates are requested by visiting the Nashville Vital Records Office. Paper request forms are available at the front counter or an electronic version may be completed on a kiosk inside the office. Applicants must provide ID that matches a spouse, child, legal guardian or natural parent named on the original death certificate. All kiosk orders auto-authenticate applicants’ personal identities. Those who fail this ID auto-verification check must provide photo ID at the front counter once request form transmittal has completed. Non-qualified applicants must provide documentation to support legally entitled access before their request will be processed.
Processing fees, proper request forms and payment forms to expect
After providing all required information and supporting documentation, applicants must remit a modest fee to submit their request for processing. Acceptable payment methods include cash, money order, personal check and debit or credit card. Also, kiosk users should be prepared to pay a nominal non-refundable vendor surcharge. Customers who pay by credit or debit card must order via kiosk. Finally, if a three-year search fails to locate the desired certified death record, the fee is the same as for a certified copy.
• Via “snail mail”
Mail-ordered certified death certificate requests must include all the following items:
o Completed request form signed by the applicant
o Notarized copy of a government-issued picture ID with the applicant’s signature
o Personal check or money order payable to “Tennessee Office of Vital Records” for the full processing fee
The Tennessee Vital Records Office physical address is:
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
Business hours are published as below:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time (excluding holidays)
Of date, the State Vital Records Office doesn’t accept direct online requests for death certificates. Fortunately, it does offer the option to submit online requests via an independent service provider. However, be advised that an additional vendor fee applies to all online orders placed online.
Great ways to get death records from good ole’ days that date way back in Tennessee
Genealogy buffs on desperate hunts to learn new stuff about distant kin who’ve been deceased for over 50 years are in luck. Many localized Tennessee municipalities offer easy access to death records dated longer than a century ago. While such antique gems won’t be found in a single centralized venue, at least one consolidated online reference source is freely accessible.
There is an online Tennessee death indexes and death certificates site that offers a very exhaustive list of virtual platforms with valuable historical and genealogical data. Featured sites range from databases that contain localized countywide death records, to various cemetery records, to state Probate Court files and several dozen newspaper obituary publications.