If your ancestors owned land, which is common in rural areas, you will want to search for probate records. Probate records do exist for women, although they are not as numerous as the records for men. If a woman was single, widowed, or divorced, it is likely that she owned property that would have gone through the probate process when she died. When you cannot locate a probate record for your direct ancestor, try looking for probate records for that ancestor’s relatives.
A list of Tennessee wills has been published in the book “Index to Tennessee Wills and Administrations, 1779-1861” by Byron and Barbara Sistler. A copy of this book is available at the Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center library. In addition, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will check the index by e-mail free of charge (https://sos.tn.gov/products/tsla/how-do-i-find-probate-records). Probate records dated after 1861 can be found in the records of each county. Contact the county courthouse clerk’s office for information on obtaining copies of probate records. At Ancestry.com there is a database titled “Tennessee Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008.” This database is also available to Tennessee residents through TEL. There are also probate records available at FamilySearch.org in the following databases “Tennessee Probate Court Books, 1795-1927” and “Tennessee Probate Court Files, 1795-1927." However, these databases are only able to be browsed as images, they are not indexed. For assistance in locating the records using these two databases, it would be a good idea to have information on your ancestor’s probate record from the “Index to Tennessee Wills and Administrations” book mention above.