You May not Find a Death Record Online
You have heard about how easy it is to find death
records using online records search companies that list vital records.
But when you are sure your friend or loved one has died, sometimes
you cannot find a record of the death. Many people will automatically
assume that this is the fault of the records search company. But
there are many reasons that death records may not be listed.
The death was suspicious in nature.
If your loved one was killed, either by someone or in an accident,
medical examiners want to make sure the exact cause of death
is listed in the death record. This could require an autopsy,
an investigation and in some cases a “trial” called
a coroner’s inquest. A jury is selected and the coroner
presides over the inquest. Investigators and family members
testify. Once the testimony is heard, the “jury”
debates and then rules on the cause of death that will be listed
on the death record.
A backup in the state crime lab
delays the autopsy. Because of strained budgets, state
medical examiners can have several autopsies in one day. In
the case of some deaths, this can delay the issuance of the
death certificate since a cause of death must be listed.
Some states allow a certain amount of time
before the death certificate has to be filed. In some states,
coroners or physicians may have up to 60 days to file a death
certificate depending on the circumstances.
The agency in charge of filing death certificates
has a backlog and has not been timely in recording the information.
Not all government agencies are run efficiently. Sometimes clerks
are careless and in extreme cases are negligent. This can delay
the recording of a death certificate.
Some county offices have out-of-date computers.
Particularly in rural areas, many county offices may file by
hand and have someone input the data into a state system or
they simply may have computers systems that are slow. In rare
instances, a county official may have balked at entering the
technological age and still prefers doing everything by paper.
Whatever the reason for the delay, online records
search companies spend hours researching agencies across the nation.
If the death record is available, most often it will be listed.
There are advantages to using an online records search company when
looking for death records. If the death record has not been recorded,
you will not waste time driving to an agency to find out the record
is not there. And while you may think online record searches are
expensive, they are not. The cost ranges from as little a $5 but
rarely cost more than $100, even if you do multiple searches. Online
record search companies give you the ability to search from your
home so you don’t have to answer any questions that may stir
emotions because of the death. This benefit alone leads many people
to research death records online.