The majority of Tennessee birth records date to 1914, though some areas will have older records that go back to 1874.
Privacy laws in Tennessee restrict the issuance of certified copies of birth records to the spouse, parent, or child of the person on the record. The person themselves may also make a request for a certified copy. There are 2 types offered: the long form or the short form. The long one is a complete copy of the original birth record and the short one is just a transcript of the pertinent information, which may be missing some details, depending on the original. For example short forms before 1976 will not have the parent's names. For births before 1949, there are only long forms available.
There is an alternative if you are not an immediate family member. You can also order a verification of a Tennessee birth record, which is a hand-written note that outlines the basic information on the record. The certified documents are legal forms of identification, but a verification is not. There are also different fees associated with each type of record.
To make an order for a Tennessee birth record of any type, you will have to fill out the proper forms and apply to the Vital Records Office. You can get the certified form (http://health.state.tn.us/vr/ph-1654.pdf) and there is another form for the verification (http://health.state.tn.us/vr/ph-3061.pdf). Both will require that you fully identify the person whose record you are seeking, by full name, birth date, place of birth and parent's full names. Additional information can be helpful to pinpoint the right record, because there are no refunds should your desired Tennessee birth record not be found.
The second page of the verification form is to be left blank. That is where the Vital Records officials will fill in the necessary information for you. With the Tennessee birth record application, you have to either include a copy of your own photo identification or have your signature notarized.
A certified long form birth certificate is $15 USD, the short form is $8 and the hand-written verification is also $15. They don't take cash, so get a check or money order made out Tennessee Vital Records. Additional copies of any type are $5 each if ordered at the same time.
Then the entire package can either be dropped off or sent to Tennessee Vital Records, Central Services Building, 1st Floor, 421 5th Avenue N, Nashville TN, 37243 USA. Their counter service is open during normal business hours and provides while-you-wait service. Mailed applications can take between 4 to 6 weeks to be processed.
You can also send in your application for a Tennessee birth record to any local county health department office if that is more convenient for you. There is a list of these offices on the Department of Health website (http://health.state.tn.us/Vr/issue.pdf) with contact phone numbers.
Older records can be further researched through the Tennessee State Archives (http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/). They have some searchable indexes for certain counties.
Follow these steps to request Tennessee birth certificates by mail:
Complete a Tennessee Birth Certificate form with all of the required information.
Include a signed copy of your government-issued photo ID. All information on the ID must be clearly legible.
Return the application and identification to the Vital Records office. You will also need to include a check or money order covering the appropriate fee. For photocopies, the fee is $15. If the record is dated 1949 or later, then you can request a computer-generated copy for $8.
For additional information regarding accessing Tennessee birth records, you should contact the department below:
Tennessee Department of Health
Tennessee Vital Records
Central Services Building
421 5th Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Requesting Your Tennessee Birth Certificate
The Tennessee Department of Health can help all persons looking for copies of Tennessee birth records. Tennessee birth records have been filed since 1914 to the present day.
How To Order Tennessee Birth Certificates
If you need to request Tennessee birth records, there are three methods for doing so. You can visit the Department of Health in person or you can mail in a request for the record. You can also order Tennessee birth records online using an independent company. An additional fee is charged for this service.
Parties Who May Access Records
Tennessee birth records are considered private information and are only available to the person listed on the record, immediate family members, and legal representatives. You must be able to prove your need for the record and your identity when you make your request.