Answered By: Brannen Varner
Last Updated: Jun 11, 2019     Views: 30

First, verify that the individual you seek died in Shelby County.

  • Go to the Shelby County Register of Deeds website.
    • For individuals expiring between 1949 and 2014, select the Death Records Index 1949-2014, under the Tennessee Vital Records header. Search for your information, and record the individual's death date. 
    • You may find Death Records (death certificate) for individuals between 1848 and 1967. Select the Death Records 1848-1967 link under the Shelby Country Records header. Search for your information, and download the TIFF or PDF of the death certificate.

Once you have verified that the individual died in Shelby County, you may be able to find their obituary in the Commercial Appeal.The Memphis Public Library's Main Library and the University of Memphis' McWherter Library holds Commercial Appeal microfilm for you to view and scan. You will need to visit these locations for access to the microfilm.

Your local public library may have access to a database, NewsBank, which will provide you digital access to the Commercial Appeal from June 1990 to present. 

View the Commercial Appeal obituaries surrounding the death date (1 or 2 days prior, 1 to 5 days after). The obituary may not have been published on the individual's actual death date.

If your local public library does not have access to NewsBank, utilize your local public library's interlibrary loan system to request the obituary information. Call your local public library for more information on interlibrary loan.

You may be able to find obituaries through websites such as Legacy.com.

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