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A Death Certificate Search - Where to Look?

Lots of Possibilities - Where to Start

A Death Certificate Search may be done in many different locations and sources. You, however, need to know where to search so here's help on possibilities.

Early 1900s ladies
Early 1900s my grandma and her friend

In some cases that means a death certificate search through the church records of the church your ancestor attended.

Sounds simple, but it usually is not. Many old churches have closed. Their records moved to the denomination's archives which are housed somewhere - but where?

Finding them can be a challenge both as where the records are now housed as well as finding any records that are about your ancestors.

Most old church records have not been indexed. Be prepared to spend a lot of time looking through old death registrations in books with no indexes.

More on Church Records

Governmental Records

At a point in time the government began to require the registration of all vital records including deaths. The date varies greatly from place to place, state to state, province to province, and even county to county.

So you face more death certificate searches as to where the records were required (which governmental authority), and where those records are now stored.

You may need to find some county or township records, or you may be able to find state- or province-wide records which are indexed, and point to the exact location to find your ancestor's death data.

Family Records

Sometimes there are no existing governmental or church archive records for your ancestor's death. But, you may have an old family bible in the hands of some member of your extended family which contains the vital records of the family - the births, marriages, and deaths, at least dates.

Before you rely heavily on these records, read the page on family bibles. Not all the information may be accurate, for a variety of reasons.

Old Newspaper Archives

In the "old days" (before radio and television, not to mention the Internet), people got much of their news from local newspapers, most often weeklies. Many of these papers published for a short period of time, folded, and then were replaced by a new newspaper.

In many areas, these old newspapers, at least the copies that were left, were gathered up by universities and archives and libraries, and microfilmed for posterity. Your death records search may find death announcements for your ancestors in such archives.

More on Newspaper Archives

Exhausting All Possibilities is Itself Exhausting
Just Do It



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And if you ever decide to discontinue, every issue has a form for stopping the newsletter.

How there's so much free information on this site ...

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How there's so much free information on this site ...

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