Search the Index to the Surveys of the Second District
of Middle Tennessee for a single name

Catalog number 2-SUR-1


This service searches the index of the records of the Second Surveyor's District of Tennessee for a single name and returns a list of all the surveys and entries where that person was the grantee. Copies of the surveys can then be ordered using service 2-SUR-2. A description of the records of the Second Surveyor's District of Tennessee and how to use them in your research is available. This description also includes complete example survey index searches as well as copies of actual surveys. Click here to order a survey index search.

The records of the Second Surveyor's District of Tennessee are found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) in Nashville, Tennessee. Many of the records have been microfilmed by TSLA as part of series number 11 (Other Land Records), Record Group 50 (Early Land Records). The records of the Second Surveyor's District include a total of 9,091 surveys and accompanying plats. The records also include a corresponding entry for each survey, but these entries generally contain less information than the corresponding surveys. The dates of the records begin in 1807 and continue until about 1825. The Second Surveyor's District included most of the present-day counties of Marshall, Bedford, Coffee, Lincoln, Moore, and Franklin as well as parts of Rutherford and Giles Counties as illustrated in Figure 1..

Figure 1. Approximate location of the Second Surveyor's District

The records of the Second Surveyor's District include a total of 9,091 surveys and accompanying plats. The records also include a corresponding entry for each survey, but these entries generally contain less information than the corresponding surveys. The dates of the records begin in 1807 and continue until about 1825. There is a 244 page handwritten index to these surveys. It is the third volume recorded on Roll 24 of Record Group 50, and is therefore difficult and time-consuming to access and use.

Land grants are a well-known source for genealogical and historical research in Tennessee. A number of books have been published indexing North Carolina's grants and what is now the state of Tennessee as well as Tennessee's own grants. Unfortunately land grants themselves often contain little information of genealogical interest. A lesser-known source of information on early land history in Tennessee is the records of the Second Surveyor's District of Tennessee. While land grants typically contain little information of genealogical interest, surveys and accompanying plats contain the names of the chain carriers and/or markers for the survey. These chain carriers and markers were often relatives or members of families associated with the individual for whom the survey was done. Surveys also describe the location of the land and owners of abutting properties. Surveys also may identify the tract where a person "now lives", and this is important and distinctly valuable information far more interesting than just who owned (but may never have lived on) a tract.

The time period covered by these records (from 1807 until 1825) is one in which it is difficult to do research in middle Tennessee. The year 1807 was the date that the land covered in the records of the Second Surveyor's District was first settled following the cessation of Native American claims to that land by the First and Second Treaties of Tellico. Many early settlers did not record the deeds (or grants) for their land in county deed records. Therefore the only records that show they acquired the land are the entries and surveys of the Second Surveyor's District. The further, the information provided with these surveys is often a key to establishing that a family settling in Middle Tennessee was the same of family that moved from another state.

Today, the records of the second surveyors District are only available at TSLA. This microfilm in not in the LDS library system, so it is not widely accessible through local family history centers. No books have been written indexing or abstracting the records of the Second Surveyor's District.

The type of information found in plats and surveys includes:

  1. the legal basis for conducting the survey (for example, the grant or warrant authorizing issuance of title to the land),
  2. the date of the survey,
  3. the names of the chain carriers and/or markers for the survey,
  4. the name of the grantee,
  5. a description of the location of the land, and
  6. a plat or drawing illustrating the location of the land and often including significant landmarks as points of reference.

An example of a Second District survey and the accompanying plat is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Example Survey and Plat

Although we ask you to supply a single individual name, in most cases we will also search and return to you all records for that surname in its various spellings. Table 1 shows the data you would receive by e-mail from a survey search on the name Michael Fisher:

name Book & Page Acres Location Survey number Date
John Fisher Jr. C 253 150 West fork of Elk 1409 27 January 1809
John Fisher C 454 135 West Fork of Rock Creek 1697 30 June 1809
John Fisher D 236 50 S side of Duck River 2147 2 February 1810
Michael Fisher D 324 70 Falling Creek 2226 9 May 1810
Charles Fisher D 379 240 S side of Duck River 2350 16 June 1810
Michael Fisher E 560 50 W waters of Rock Creek 3291 23 November 1812
John Fisher E 561 70 W waters of Rock Creek 3293 17 October 1812
John Fisher E 568 55 W waters of Rock Creek 3302 17 October 1812
Charles Fisher E 656 240 S side of Duck River 3399 14 May 1813
William Fisher G 5 50 waters of Rock Creek 4384 13 August 1814
Michael Fisher G 44 25 waters of North Duck 4465 17 June 1814

Michael Fisher

G 51 46 waters of North Duck 4479 7 June 1814
Joseph Fisher G 102 10 waters of west fork of Flint 4586 9 September 1814
Frederick Fisher G 129 10 Cedar Creek of Duck River 4641 9 August 1814
Frederick Fisher G 130 40 Cedar Creek of Duck River 4644 9 August 1814
John Fisher G 132 8 Cedar Creek of Duck River 4647 11 October 1814
John Fisher G 462 28 waters of Cedar Creek 5364 10 November 1814
John Fisher G 462 4 waters of Rock Creek 5365 10 November 1814
George Fisher G 134 50 waters of Cedar Creek 4652 11 October 1814
Michael Fisher H 251 50 Rock Creek of Duck River 6035 18 July 1815
Frederick Fisher H 435 5 waters of Cedar Creek 6420 16 November 1815
Michael Fisher I 279 20 North side of Duck River 7222 12 March 1817

Michael Fisher

K 418 6 S side of Duck River 8369 1 January 1820
Michael Fisher L 76 6 Bedford County 8734 16 July 1822

Table 1. Survey search example for Michael Fisher

The information in survey indices is not always accurate. Surveys may: not be indexed at all, mis-indexed to the wrong page number and/or book number, indexed under only one of a set of names (such as "Smith and Jones" is only indexed under "Smith"), or indexed under the wrong name entirely (such as under "Morton" rather than "Martin" or "Meaders" rather than "Medearis".)

Once a survey of interest is identified in the index or by a list of surveys returned by this search service, a copy can be ordered from us using the grantee, survey book letter, page number and survey number given in the index (see 2-SUR-2).

Before ordering, you should review the license agreement.


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