The State of Tennessee did not require the filing of birth and death certificates until about 1914. To obtain copies of either of these documents contact:
Tennessee Vital Records
421 Fifth Avenue North
First Floor, Central Services Building
Nashville, TN 37247-0450
If the birth or death did not occur in Tennessee, contact the Department of Health in the state where the birth or death took place. Many of them have Web sites that can be accessed via that state's "home" page. Links to these sites can be easily found using one of the Internet search services.
Copies of birth and death certificates can be obtained from the Knox County Health Department, Vital Records Office, 140 Dameron Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917, phone: 865-215-5100.
Both the State and Knox County charge a fee for providing certified copies. They also will not provide copies unless specific information is given such as date of birth, parents' names, place of birth, etc.
SPECIAL NOTE: Many older individuals who were born at home or in rural areas never had birth certificates submitted to Vital Records. In these cases, one can obtain a "delayed" registration of birth. The Tennessee Department of Health has promulgated rules which govern the issuance of these certificates. Contact Vital Records at the number given above for more information on this process.
The Knox County Archives has a limited number of birth and death records (NOT certificates) for Knoxville which go back to 1881. The Archives can be contacted at 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, phone: 865-215-8800. Their hours of operation are 9:00 am until 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.