Death Records Can Include Important Information

Article summary: Death records contain more than just a date of death. You can find out important information about a relative searching these vital county records.

When searching county vital records in an effort to trace your family history or just out of curiosity, you probably look at birth record and marriage records. You may think that death records contain little information about a person except for when they died. That is not the case. Death records will provide you with important information about a person and may help you trace your family lineage back more steps than you could have imagined—even though it may seem morbid. Here’s some of the information you can find in death records:

  • The birthplace of the person. You may not have known that your grandfather was born overseas until you looked at his death record. Sometimes a county coroner will not check other county vital records to verify the deceased’s birth place and will assume that the person was born in the town they died. Most of the time a family member or relative will be able to give someone the correct date of birth to be included on death records.

  • The name of the deceased person’s parents. Have you always wondered who your great-great grandmother was? You can find her name on your great grandmother’s death certificate.

  • Date of birth. Some people lie about their ages their whole life. However death records must be as accurate as possible and even if a person lied to everyone, the death record will reveal the truth. You may also find out that you share a birthday with a relative!

  • Cause of death. If a person died tragically, you may not want to know this information. However if your ancestors lived to be very old and the cause of death on the death records is listed as “natural causes,” this can be encouraging to you. If your relatives lived to be very old, you will likely live long as well.

  • Where they died. If you are searching through very old county vital records, knowing where someone died is important. Death records are normally filed where a person died. Your great-great grandfather may have been born in one place, but moved to and lived out his years in another place, where he died. If you know an ancestor died in the Civil War but you don’t know where, the place of death (and possibly the name of the battle), will be listed on the death record.

Searching through county vital records is not always easy. If you don’t know where someone died, you may have to call or visit many agencies and counties to find death records. This can be time consuming and expensive. However, many online record search companies compile this information in one place. You can search for death records in California or Florida. These searches can be relatively inexpensive, costing as little at $5 for a single search and as little as $100 for multiple searches. You don’t have to leave your home to find the death records you need and how to obtain a copy.


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