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Tennessee Public Records

The Tennessee Open Records Act, found in Title 10, Chapter 7, Part 5 of the Annotated Code, mandates that all government records are “public records” and therefore shall be open for inspection by citizens.

Some exceptions noted in the Act include law enforcement emergency contingency plans, investigative records, medical records, Department of Agriculture records, student information, attorney general work product, appraisal information, animal health certificates & tracking programs, trade secrets, and personal private information.

Assembled below for your convenience are Tennessee databases of popular public records.  Need records from a city or county?  Access those from the menu options on the left.

  • Court System - The Tennessee court system has four levels. First are: Courts of General Sessions (civil, domestic relations, mental health, estate, small claims, misdemeanor, traffic); Municipal Courts (city violations, traffic, preliminary hearings); and Juvenile Courts (paternity, juvenile). Second are trial courts: Circuit Courts (domestic relations, civil, criminal); Criminal Courts (in 13 districts, felony trials & misdemeanor appeals); Chancery Courts (courts of equity for civil & domestic relations); and Probate Courts (estates, wills, conservatorships & guardianships). Third are the Court of Appeals (civil, agency & juvenile appeals); and Court of Criminal Appeals (capital, felony, misdemeanor & juvenile criminal appeals). Fourth is the Supreme Court, which reviews decisions from lower courts.  Tennessee Court Records
  • Criminal Records - Misdemeanors, infractions, and traffic violations are handled by the Courts of General Sessions. Traffic and other violations occurring within a city are handled by Municipal Courts. Felony cases can be handled in Circuit Courts or Criminal Courts, depending on the judicial district.  Visit our Tennessee Criminal Records page for more information and searchable database access.
  • Vital Records - Birth, death, marriage & divorce certificates are provided by: Tennessee Vital Records, Central Services Building, 1st Floor, 421 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37247, (615) 741-1763, Fax: (615) 741-9860.  Visit our Vital Records page for historical birth indexes; the Social Security Death Index for Tennessee; historical statewide death record databases; death records, cemetery indexes & obituaries from available cities & counties; statewide historical marriages, marriage databases from available cities & counties; and divorce databases from two counties.

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