Genealogy Friday—Vital Records: Death Certificates

posted in: Genealogy, Vital Records | 0

Some death certificates are easier to obtain than birth certificates.certificate of death

Like birth certificates, the death certificate was not a legal document until the early 20th Century. This has also proven to be a frustration in many of the earlier records that have been destroyed.  For instance, I’ve tried to find death certificates in Western North Carolina for a number of relatives.  However, flooding and fire have destroyed many of the records prior to the 1930s, leaving just as many unanswered questions.

death certThe death certificate usually includes the full name of deceased, parent’s names, birth and death dates, spouse’s name, and place of burial.

The information on death certificates are usually provided by a relative and the information should be backed up by other records such as census records, newspaper articles, etc.   The reason for this is because I have found death certificates where the informer did not know or confused family lines and provided inaccurate information.

Once again, the availability is based on the state.  Most states do not release these records to the general public until at least 50 years after the death.   Some states may be even longer.

Some states have put their death records on the larger genealogy sites, such as and Fold3.   I know SC, TN, and NC have their death certificates on the site.

What gems have you discovered on a death certificate?


*Some links may be affiliate links

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.