This category includes civil, church, cemetery, obituary, and other death-related collections. In addition to details about the death, they can contain birth information, family origins, cause of death, and more.
Death records are primary resources for details about the death, since they were typically created relatively near the time of the death. This collection includes indexes that can help you request the actual record, and in some cases, actual images of the death records. Use the information you find in one type of death record to seek out other death-related records.
- Follow your ancestors through census records and city directories. Sometimes when they disappear from these records, it can narrow their death date. You’ll want to cover all bases though and check to make sure they didn’t move in with grown children, siblings, or other family members.
- Seek out the death records for all family members. Information found on the records of siblings may include helpful details that aren’t found on your ancestor’s record.
- You’ll typically find a variety of records were created for your ancestor’s death. Once you locate one, you’ll want to use information in that record to explore other types of records. Use the date of death to find obituaries, cemetery records, civil and church records, and probates.
- Don’t limit your obituary search to the area in which your ancestor lived. Newspapers in areas where your ancestor formerly lived, or where other family members lived may have run an obituary–and sometimes you’ll find more detail.