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Court Records

COURT RECORDS

The Court Records available at the TNGenes Website include

  • Indexes to and transcriptions of Deed Records from Putnam County, Tennessee
  • Transcriptions of marriage records from Putnam and Jackson Counties in Tennessee
  • Transcriptions of Tax Records from Putnam County, Tennessee
  • Indexes to and transcriptions of Wills and Probate Records from Putnam and White Counties in Tennessee

PUTNAM COUNTY, TENNESSEE

The Putnam County Courthouse is located in Cookeville, Tennessee at 29 North Washington Ave (it is located at the intersection of the following roadl Jefferson Ave, Washington Ave, Spring Str and Broad Street). The courthouse burned in 1898. As a result, many of the records prior 1898 were lost in the fire. Some important links/information pertaining to Putnam County include:

JACKSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

The Jackson County Courthouse is located in Gainesboro, Tennessee at 101 East Hull Ave. The courthouse burned in 1872. As a result, many of the records prior to 1872 were lost in the fire. Some important links/information pertaining to Jackson County include:

WHITE COUNTY, TENNESSEE

The White County Courthouse is located in Sparta, Tennessee at 1 East Bockman Way. This courthouse has never had a fire. Most of the records are still available. Some important links/information pertaining to White County include:

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Chancery/Circuit

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Chancery/Circuit Court Transcriptions

The Chancery/Circuit Court Records of Jackson County, Tennessee are a gold mine of genealogical information. The index to the list of available cases and some individual cases have been transcribed.

The Jackson County, TNGenWeb site has and abstract of the genealogical information contained in each case available at their site.

The FamilySearch Site now has online the complete Putnam County, TN Chancery/Circuit Court Records. As of 1 October 2014, these records have yet to be indexed.

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Land

"Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything for 'tis the only thing in this world that lasts..... 'Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for - worth dying for."

-Gerald O'Hara to Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind

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Deed Database

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Deed Abstracts

Putnam County was formed in 1854. Although a courthouse fire in 1899 claimed many of her early records, the Deed Books are extant except for Deed Books K & L which were consumed in the fire. Early Deed Books and the years they cover are as follows:

  • A:  21 Jul 1854 - 06 Nov 1856
  • B:  10 Nov 1856 - 28 Jul 1858
  • AA: 16 Feb 1869 - 11 Nov 1876
  • D:  07 Nov 1859 - 17 Dec 1865
  • E:  27 Sep 1865 - 21 May 1866
  • F:  08 Jun 1866 - 04 Jan 1869
  • G:  04 Jan 1869 - 30 Jun 1872
  • H:  07 Jun 1899 - 22 Sep 1903
  • I:  15 Apr 1875 - 05 Jan 1880
  • J:  17 Jan 1880 - 01 Nov 1882
  • M:  22 Sep 1903 - 20 May 1904
  • N:  05 Feb 1890 - 01 Jun 1891
  • O:  01 Jun 1891 - 24 Apr 1893
  • P:  01 May 1893 - 12 Mar 1895
  • Q:  12 Mar 1895 - 22 Jan 1897
  • R:  22 Jan 1897 - 25 Aug 1898
  • S:  27 Aug 1898 - 01 May 1906
  • T:  02 May 1900 - 14 Dec 1901
  • U:  11 Dec 1901 - 20 Feb 1903
  • V:  24 May 1904 - 27 Jan 1905
  • W:  28 Jan 1905 - 26 Oct 1905
  • X:  27 Oct 1905 - 09 Jun 1906
  • Y:  09 Jun 1906 - 19 Jun 1907
  • Z:  20 Jun 1907 - 26 Sep 1908
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Deed Transcriptions

Transcriptions of various deeds.

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Marriages

For as much as John and Mary have consented together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before this company of friends and family, and have given and pledged their promises to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands. By the authority vested in me by the State of Tennessee, I pronounce this couple to be husband and wife. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."

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Marriage Database

Bettie Goolsby Doyle and her mother, Nancy Goolsby, have transcribed many years of the available marriage records for Putnam County, Tennessee. Bettie has generously donated her transcription to this website. There are over 8700 marriage records in this database.

The database is searchable by the groom's and/or bride's names.

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Marriage Transcriptions

Marriage dates from the Jackson County Marriage records and from Confederate Pension Applications are transcribed in this section.

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Reconstructed Marriages

This database is an attempt to reconstruct the marriage records from Putnam County, Tennessee using alternate sources for marriages. Some of the sources include:

  • Bible Records
  • Military Pension Applications
  • Census Records (year) & Dead Records (bride's maiden name)
  • Newspapers
  • Court Records
  • Divorce Records

STATUS: The research for this database has JUST BEGUN and is ongoing.

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Marriage Announcements

Marriage dates were often mentioned in obituaries, anniversary announcements, and various other items in the local newspapers.These announcements have been transcribed in this section.

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Divorces

Marriage dates and maiden names are mentioned in divorce records. Transcriptions of the records from the Chancery Court Minutes of Putnam County are provided here.

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Taxes

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Estate

All of the records that pertain to the disposition of an estate after it's owner's death are referred to as probate records. If a person died leaving a valid will, he is said to have died testate. In this case, he generally named an executor/executrix in his will to handle his affairs. To prove and admit a will, i.e. probate a will, a relative took the will to Chancery Court. If the court approved the probate, the will was transcribed into a Will Book.

If he died without leaving a valid will, then he is said to have died intestate. In this case, the court appointed an administrator to handle the estate, if he left real or personal property. The court issued a Letter of Administration. During the process of settling the estate, the administrator was required to periodically appear before the court and provide settlement statements. If the deceased left minor children, a guardian was appointed to act in their behalf. The guardian was, also required to appear before the court and provide periodic statements. These records could all be recorded in the Will Book, or they may be recorded in Settlements and Guardian Books. Although these records are usually indexed, the case is generally not listed under the name of the decease, but rather under the name of the person requesting permission to administer the estate.

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Will Indexes

The following pages contain indexes to various Will Books.

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Will Transcriptions

The following pages contain transcriptions of various Wills in Putnam, Jackson and White Counties in Tennessee.

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Deaths

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Cemeteries

DEAR ANCESTOR
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiselled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.
--Author Unknown

Beginning in the summer of 2006, I began photographing various cemeteries in Putnam County, TN. My hobby quickly became an addiction. The resulting photos are posted in an online photo gallery called Virtual Cemetery. Currently, there are over 150 cemeteries photographed, and at least 10,000 individual tombstone photos. More photos and cemeteries are being added monthly, as weather permits.

Each Virtual Cemetery Page contains the following information:

  1. Directions to the Cemetery: Text directions to the cemetery from a well-known starting location
  2. Cemetery Condition: Some cemeteries are well-kept and cared for. Others are overgrown and potential snake pits.The condition of the cemetery is noted here.
  3. Date Photographed: The date that the photos were taken.
  4. Status of the Photographic Census: This tells whether all of the tombstones have been photographed or not. In most cases, the photos are complete. Some cemeteries have to be visited again in the winter when the foliage is down.
  5. Surnames: Complete list of surnames taken from the tombstone photos.
  6. Location of Gallery: The photos are displayed in a SmugMug Photo Gallery. The link to the cemetery photos is given here.
  7. Google Map Directions: A google map is displayed to show the location of the cemetery. Using the directions form, google map directions can be obtained from anywhere to that cemetery.
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: While the tombstones themselves are not copyrightable, my photos are of them are. You are free to download and use the photos in your research of your ancestors. You are not free to upload them to third party sites, such as find-a-grave, etc. While I feel that these sites are wonderful sites for sharing and displaying research, I have chosen my own database and gallery to display my work. Please respect my copyright. You are free to view the photos and make a textual transcription of the tombstones and cemeteries.
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Death Certificates

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Miscellaneous

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Database

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Obituaries

Early newspapers for Putnam County have been microfilmed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Two of these papers are The Cookeville Press and the Putnam County Herald.

Interspersed throughout these papers were the details of the passing of some of the citizens. Although some of the obituaries were elaborate articles providing many details of the deceased, most obituaries were only one or two sentences simply announcing the passing of a loved one. Due to the erosion of tombstone inscriptions over time and the failure to record many deaths during the early part of the century, the newspaper obituary was the only record of an individual's passing.

One such individual is my g-g-g-grandfather, Willis Davis, who lived south of Cookeville. He is buried in the Davis Cemetery, but over the years, the inscription on his tombstone has been lost. Census records indicate that he died between 1900 and 1910. A deed recorded in Putnam County Deed Book H on the 29th day of August 1903 indicated that he had recently passed away. His children, Johnnie C. Davis, Martha Chote, Malissa Chote, and Harriett Price sold their inheritance in the land to his youngest child Lonnie Bussell. Beginning with that date and surveying the published papers before that, I found the following announcement on the page 1 of the Putnam County Herald dated August 12, 1903:

Willis Davis died at his home 3 miles south of Cookeville on the night of 10th, inst.

This was the only surviving record of his death.

Knowing that others may have ancestors whose death dates have been lost, I began reading and transcribing the obituaries from the Putnam County Herald and The Cookeville Press. Since the obituaries are not located in a standard spot in the paper, finding them required scanning each column of the paper. It is possible that some may have missed although I made every attempt to record them all. Some obituaries were quite lengthy often describing his/her character and/or describing the his/her relationship with God. The genealogical information was abstracted from each obituary. The notation ". . ." indicates that there was additional information, but it did not contain any genealogical information. In many cases, the paper extracted "County Happenings" from newspapers in the surrounding counties. In parentheses at the end of the obituary is recorded which county the obituary was from.

The format of the obituary is as follows:

LAST NAME, FIRST NAME: Obituary (County, if available) [Date, Volume of the Paper, Number of the Paper, Page Number]

This abstract is dedicated to Willis Davis and ALL citizens for which there is no other record of his/her death except for the brief mention in the newspaper.

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The Cookeville Press

The Cookeville Press was published by J. E. Gore and Rutledge Smith from approximately 1887 to 1917. It was a weekly paper that came out every Thursday. Prior to 1894, relatively few issues still exist. However, from 1894 to 1903, the majority of the issues are available on microfilm.

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Putnam County Herald

Elmer Lincoln Wirt published the first issue of the Putnam County Herald on February 11, 1903. It was a weekly newspaper that sold for 25¢ per year and detailed the activities of the local citizens. Former citizens often wrote letters describing the events going on in their current locale.

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Miscellaneous Papers

On Roll #101, The Cookeville Press (Miscellaneous) 1894 - 1896, the following papers and issues were microfilmed

  • The Cookeville Press - May 2, 1889
  • The Cookeville Press - March 27, 1890
  • The Cookeville Press - July 17, 1890
  • The Cookeville Press - June 15, 1899
  • The Cookeville Press - April 5, 1900
  • The Cookeville Press - June 7, 1900
  • The Cookeville Press - December 12, 1901
  • Cookeville Times - May 22, 1858
  • The Cookeville News - March 8, 1873
  • The Middle Tennessean - April 16, 1876
  • Cookeville Courier - June 1, 1893
  • The Citizen - May 19, 1897
  • Upper Cumberland News - January 31, 1923
  • Montery News - no date
  • Upper Cumberland News - October 29, 1924

All of the above issues were read for obituaries. Only those in bold contained an obituary.

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Military

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Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War was fought during the years 1775 - 1783. Many veterans of the war applied for a pension from the Federal Government later in life. This section contains transcriptions of a few of the pension applications.

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Mexican War

The Mexican War was fought from April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848. The US Government rewarded it's soldiers of this war with pensions and bounty land warrants. This section contains transcriptions of some of those records.

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Civil War

The Civil War

The Civil War was one of the most tumultuous periods in American History. At the onset of the war, young men eagerly enlisted in the military, fighting for the cause in which they believed. Both sides sincerely believed that the war would last only a matter of months and that each side would be victorious. The romanticized illusions of war and glory were soon dispelled, replacing them with the harsh realities of war. Approximately 620,000 men lost their lives during the war, more lives lost than in all the American wars from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War, combined. Many men returned home with loss of a limb, eyesight, or in very poor health.

This research is an attempt to identify the men from Putnam County who served during the four years of war. It is not an attempt to completely transcribe the records, but rather to outline the significant events in the soldier's life.

Confederate Veterans

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Confederate Veterans

This section contains brief bios of the veterans from Putnam County who served in the Confederate Army. This research is not intended to be an exhaustive biography of the veterans, but rather it is intended to highlight events from his life.

The veterans in this research were identified from a variety of sources. The research is far from complete and is currently ongoing. Where possible copies of documents have been included with the bio.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has online a brief description of the history of Pension Board and a complete list of Soldier's, Widow's, and African-American's pension applications filed from Tennessee. The list of applications abstracted in this research was obtained from their website.

STATUS: Ongoing Research

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Union Veterans

This section contains brief bios of the veterans from Putnam County who served in the Union Army. This research is not intended to be an exhaustive biography of the veterans, but rather it is intended to highlight events from his life.

The veterans in this research were identified from a variety of sources. The research is far from complete and is currently ongoing. Where possible copies of documents have been included with the bio.

The National Archives does not have pensions from Union Veterans on microfillm. All of the pensions included were ordered from the National Archives.

STATUS: Ongoing Research

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Pensions

Complete transcriptions and abstracts from various pension applications, Confederate and Union.

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Confederate Rosters

Transcriptions of various Tennessee Confederate Military Rosters. This data is obtained from National Archives microfilm.

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Union Rosters

Transcriptions of various Tennessee Union Military Rosters. This data comes from the Report of the Adjutant Generals Office - Tennessee 1866.

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Photos

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Old Photos

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Historical Markers

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Other Records

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Bible Records

"And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: ..." Genesis 5:3-7

"I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich." --M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

Families recorded significant events in their lives, such as births, deaths, and marriages, in the Family Record portion of their Family Bibles. Often, these notations were the only written record of these events. Upon the death of the owner of the Bible, the Family Bible was generally passed down to a child. Many of these "old" Bibles exist today. They are an excellent source of genealogical information.

In examining old Bible records, there is one caveat: check the title page to see "when" and "where" the Bible was published. Why? It is important to establish when the entries were written. If the Bible was printed in 1875 and the first entries are given as 1825, then you will know that the entries were copied from another older source, possibly another Bible. In this case, they are subject to errors from copying or transcribing another record. When discrepancies in records occur, it is more reliable to choose the records that were recorded closest to the time of the event.

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Census Records

Census records are the staple of genealogical research. Ancestry.com and Footnote.com are two subscription services that have the entire Census Images online. Various USGENWEB and TNGENWEB sites have census transcriptions available.

Below are transcriptions that I have done over the years.

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Putnam County

The 1890 Federal Census was destroyed during a fire in 1921 (Read More Here). Tennessee generally uses the 1891 Enumerations of Male Citizens as it's replacement. This section contains a transcription of the 1891 Enumeration of Male Citizens for Putnam County, Tennessee.

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Jackson County

Before the 1880 Census came out at various online sites, I transcribed District 11 of the Jackson County, Tennessee Census. The transcription is given here.

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White County

The 1890 Federal Census was destroyed during a fire in 1921 (Read More Here). Tennessee generally uses the 1891 Enumerations of Male Citizens as it's replacement. This section contains a transcription of the 1891 Enumeration of Male Citizens for White County, Tennessee.

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Family Biographies

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Maps

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FAQs

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History

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Showcase

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Help

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Personal

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