Holdings of the Grainger County Archives

Original County Records

Most of the oldest existing (pre-1960) Grainger County records are held at the Grainger County Archives, including hundreds of bound record volumes and thousands of loose papers.  Additionally, the Archives holds:


The Grainger County Archives holds a small collection of history and genealogy books and materials, generously donated in 2005 by the Rutledge Public Library.  Since that time, our collection has been increased by the generous donations of several authors and compilers of family genealogies.


Through the generous donation of the Rutledge Public Library, the Archives acquired the library’s extensive collection of microfilm of Grainger County records.  This microfilm collection includes all the county’s bound record volumes which still existed in the 1970s when the Tennessee State Library and Archives began microfilming the county records to ensure their preservation.

See the Tennessee State Library and Archives Web site for the inventory of Grainger County records on microfilm.  The Grainger County Archives holds all the microfilms listed in the TSLA inventory for Grainger County.

Other microfilms held include:

  • Birth records, 1908-1912
  • Buffalo Springs Bird Farm & C.C.C. Camp Scrapbook, 1937-1938
  • Chris Livesay Papers
  • Death records, 1908-1912, 1914-1925
  • Early Tennessee Tax Lists – 1797, 1799, 1805, 1810, 1826, 1836
  • East Tennessee Land Grants and Index
  • Federal Census, 1830-1930
  • Grainger County News, 1922-2007
  • Grainger Today newspaper, 2004-2019
  • Military Discharges, 1943-1982
  • Paul Grohse Papers
  • Shields Ferry Logbook, 1908-1909
  • Smith Funeral Home records, Rutledge, 1933-1988


The volunteers of the Grainger County Archives have created indexes of the following loose records collections:

Indexes of Loose Records
Records Group Years Covered
Marriage records (bonds & licenses) 1796 – 1950
Estate and guardianship settlements 1796 – 1915
County Court documents and cases 1796 – 1915
Circuit Court cases (mostly criminal cases) 1810 – 1915
Chancery Court cases (mostly civil cases) 1830 – 1925


 Loose vs. Bound Records

Stacks of bound record booksMost people have seen those large, dusty volumes, like those pictured here, kept in various clerks’ offices in county courthouses all over the country.  These are “bound records” — minute books, docket books, marriage books, deed books, etc., in which the clerks recorded the county’s business.  But many county records are loose papers, or “loose records,” such as the papers (original bills, petitions, orders, subpoenas, exhibits, depositions, decrees, etc.) filed in a court case, or the marriage license the clerk gives the couple to have signed by the minister or justice of the peace when the ceremony has been performed.  These “loose records” are often the original documents from which the clerk recopied the information into the record book.  An example is a person’s will, which is usually written on a piece of paper before the person’s death; then upon death, the loose will is taken to the courthouse where it is recopied into the bound Will Book.  Therefore, often there exists both a loose record and a bound record for the same event, but sometimes only one or the other still exists.  But both are equally valid and valuable.