This database is an index to death records for New Orleans (which is coextensive with Orleans Parish) between the years 1804-1949. New Orleans was one of the first cities to establish the keeping of vital records, which they began doing in 1790. Although New Orleans began keeping vital records in this year, the recording of these events was sometimes inconsistent. It was not until 1914 when the keeping of vital records became a state-wide mandate that this inconsistency faded. This index provides the following information: name, age, sex, color, death date, and a reference to the original record. A microfilmed copy of the index was obtained from the State of Louisiana, Division of Archives, Records Management, and History. In some instances the microfilmed copies were hard to read and the information from those pages could not accurately be keyed to be included in this database. Due to this and also the inconsistency in keeping records, if you do not find your ancestor in this index it does not necessarily mean that they did not die in New Orleans.
Vital records can be great sources of genealogical information. Besides providing the name of the person whom the record was created for, vital records can provide a wealth of other information. Birth records at a minimum will generally include the name of the child, the date and place of birth, and the parents' names. Often birth records will include the race of the parents, their ages, occupations, birthplaces, and marital status. Death records at a minimum will contain the deceased person's name, and the date and place of death. However, they often will also include the cause of death, age at time of death, place of birth, parents' names, occupation, name of spouse, name of the person giving the information, and the informant's relationship to the deceased. Information found in marriage records can range from just the bride and groom's names and the date and place of marriage to including the bride and groom's ages, birthplaces and dates, their residences, and their parents' names.
To obtain copies of vital records prior to 1914 you can write the Louisiana State Archives at 3851 Essen Lane PO Box 94125, Baton Rouge, LA 70804. To obtain copies of vital records after 1914 you can write the Louisiana Vital Records Registry at PO Box 60630 New Orleans, LA 70160. For more information about how to obtain copies of Louisiana vital records visit the Louisiana Vital Records Information website.
Taken from Chapter 3: Research in Birth, Death, and Cemetery Records, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Johni Cerny; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).