Knox County Archives is the repository of non-current, permanent records created by Knox County government and is administered by Knox County Public Library.
The holdings of Knox County Archives are publicly accessible (except for juvenile records and those restricted by law) and serve as primary sources for court and government officials, legal professionals, historians, genealogists, and the general public.
Your search of Knox County Archives originates from the Doris R. Martinson Reading Room on the second floor of the East Tennessee History Center. Helpful archivists are available either in person or by postal service, email, or phone to assist you and retrieve records from closed storage. Archivists are also knowledgeable about the history of Knox County, its court system and records, and strategies for genealogical inquiry.
The earliest records held by Knox County Archives date to the county’s founding in 1792. The year before, the city of Knoxville was established and served as the capital of the Territory South of the River Ohio until 1796, after which it became the first capital of Tennessee. More than 200 years later, the county’s historical records–marriages and divorces, land records, tax records, court records, and more–remain remarkably intact and are available to you at Knox County Archives.
- Knox County Marriage Licenses and Bonds/Applications
- Knox County Divorce Records
- Knox County Register of Deeds Records
- Knox County Probate Records (Wills and Estate Settlements)
- Knox County Court Records
- Knox County Chancery Court Records
- Knox County Circuit Court Records
- Knox County Criminal Court Records
- Knox County Juvenile Court Records (restricted access)
- Knox County Tax Records
- Superior Court, Hamilton District Records 1793-1809
- Knox County School Student Records and System Records (all student records are confidential)
For many record groups listed above, Knox County Archives may only hold limited items from limited time frames. If Knox County Archives does not hold the record you need, archivists on staff can direct you to the agency that does.
Hamilton District Superior Court of Law and Equity index
Knox County Chancery Court index
Use of records
Knox County Archives takes seriously its charge to receive, process, and preserve the historical records entrusted to its care. To that end, the following guidelines have been put in place to protect the use of these records:
Upon entering Knox County Archives, please sign in at the patron registry.
If records are retrieved from closed storage and presented for use in the Doris R. Martinson Reading Room, backpacks, bags, briefcases, laptop bags/sleeves, notebooks, papers, purses, and totes are subject to physical examination by a team member when leaving Knox County Archives.
Knox County Public Library is not responsible for any personal items that are left unattended, nor is it responsible for damage to electronic devices arising from the use of the facility’s power.
Food and drink are not allowed in Knox County Archives.
Scanners and other forms of imaging equipment are not allowed in Knox County Archives. Cameras are permitted in the Doris R. Martinson Reading Room.
Regular copies are $2.00 for the first page and $0.60 for each additional page per request.
Certified copies are $5.00 for the first page and $0.60 for each additional page per request.
Knox County Archives accepts cash, checks, and credit/debit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa). A minimum convenience fee of $0.50 is assessed by the electronic processing company on credit/debit card transactions. For transactions over $20.00, the fee is 2.5% of the total amount. The fee does not go to Knox County Archives, Knox County Public Library, or Knox County government.
Knox County Archives requires that the following credit line be used to identify a record from its holdings when it is used/reproduced in a commercial or scholarly publication, in an exhibition, online, or during a film or television broadcast:
Courtesy of Knox County Archives, Knox County Public Library, Tennessee
Specific citation of the record’s location (e.g., court, book, page) should be made in a footnote, the bibliography, or the acknowledgements
Knox County Archives expects that its records are reproduced faithfully –that is, without substantial digital alteration and in the form and context inherent in the original. Adding material or color, deleting material, superimposing or manipulating text, or any other form of alteration is prohibited without express notation that the “Record has been altered from the original.”