African American Interments: Introduction


African-Americans Interred in Nashville City Cemetery recorded in the Interment Records Volumes IV-VI: 1846–1979.

The information contained in these indexes was extracted from the Nashville City Cemetery Interment Database which includes 19,745 entries transcribed from the Nashville City Cemetery Interment Books, Volumes IV-VI, 1846-1979. The database can be accessed on the Nashville Public Library website by CLICKING HERE. The City Cemetery Association website also includes helpful background information including a glossary of terms used in the Interment Books. CLICK HERE for that page.

The City Cemetery Interment database is an exact transcription of the Interment Books and therefore contains misspelling and errors made by the cemetery sextons who originally recorded the information in the Interment Books. No attempt was made to correct the misspelling and errors in this index. If there is an obvious misspelled name, it was the spelling written in the Interment Book. The date listed was the burial date rather than the date of death.

In addition to the name, burial date and age of the individual, information from the Notes column was included. The information often included abbreviations written by the sexton. For example, “f.w.c.” indicated a free woman of color; “f.m.c.,” a free man of color; and “f.c.c.,” a free child of color. The terms “servant” or “serv’t” were used in place of slave during the Civil War. Some slave owners were businesses rather than individuals. In some cases, slaves were property of the estate of a deceased person.

Index I includes information dating from 1846 to 1979. It contains the names of 3,793 individuals who were identified as black in the column in which the sexton recorded race. Index II lists 2,977 African Americans buried at the City Cemetery from 1846 to 1979 without identifying names recorded. Of these 2,948 were infants.

Indexes III, IV, and V contain the names of those who were buried between 1846 and the end of the Civil War [April 9, 1865]. Index III lists those who were identified as slaves; Index IV, those who were identified as free; and Index V, individuals who were not identified as free or slaves.

Index VI contains the names of African Americans who were buried after the Civil War. All of these individuals were free. However, some who died in the years immediately after the Civil War had notations such as f.m.c. or free of color. It is unsure whether this made reference to being free before the end of the War. The last African American name found in the Interment Records Vol. IV-VI was John Henry Stevenson buried at the City Cemetery, January 31, 1945.

The original Nashville City Cemetery Interment Volumes are in the collection of the Metropolitan Government Archives. The new transcription was the joint project of the Metro Archives and the National Society of the Colonial Dames in America in Tennessee.

These indexes were compiled in 2008 by Fletch Coke and Bertie Shriver.