As one of Tennessee’s major cities, Knoxville began keeping vital records earlier than some other parts of the state. Knoxville started recording births and deaths in 1881. Indexes and/or scanned images of this data are available in two Ancestry.com databases, Tennessee, City Birth Records, 1881-1915 and Tennessee, City Death Records, 1872-1923. These databases are available to Tennessee residents through TEL. Marriage records as early as 1792 are available for Knox County. The Knox County Public Library has an excellent set of web pages linking to online vital record databases for Knox County and much of Tennessee.
Knoxville first published a City Directory in 1859. City directories from 1859-1943 are available at Ancestry.com. Hardcopies of the directories from 1859-2018 are available at Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) and the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection located on the 3rd floor of the East Tennessee History Center.
More information about Knoxville/Knox County history and genealogy research can be found through the Knox County Public Library, the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, the Knox County TSLA Fact Sheet, FamilySearch wiki, and the East Tennessee Historical Society.