When searching for Tennessee marriage records, look at the Indexes, online and offline–be sure you are thorough. Include the typed extracts made by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Working diligently since the late 1800’s, the DAR members in Tennessee compiled more than 1500 volumes of information from Tennessee courthouses, newspaper collections, and local genealogists.
Check the original records available on microfilm or now digitally scanned at FamilySearch.org or on the internet. If you visit Tennessee, bring your extracts and index entries for comparison with the originals. And don’t forget to ask for and search the loose documents that were filed alphabetically. Bonds and licenses survive in many counties on shelves or in file cabinets. Note that compilers’ of indexes may miss these records because they are not in bound volumes.
Then scan the periodicals, where marriages are among the first records that are abstracted. Almost every Tennessee county has one or more genealogy periodicals of considerable merit. Members of local societies supply copies of interesting documents or family Bible entries where marriages are hand-written between the scripture texts. And memo books or diaries/journals of ministers and local justices of the peace are often transcribed in quarterlies and bulletins.
Preservation efforts during the Civil War carefully secreted documents and notebooks into hollowed out fence posts and in cracks in the walls of rooms or cellars not currently used. Records reported missing during the days of the Works Progress Administration have been found when new construction revealed the papers peeking out of rotted wood. So the old inventory may say the record was destroyed. Be sure to ask, especially if a new inventory has not been completed.
Since the marriage record is the official beginning of the family, you want to find it–marriage records supply the maiden name of the mother, and may provide the names of parents, ages, places of residence as well as place of the marriage, names of siblings or even grandparents who stood up with the bride or groom. And when you reflect that there are at least 16 official, legal documents citing the marriage, you know that you have a good chance of finding one or more if you search carefully. Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS I’m preparing a marriage index for online access at my website. These marriages include many from Tennessee and other parts of the South where Tennesseans are connected. Watch for my announcement that it is ready for searching.