Death records definition

Death records are a type of record that certify the death of an individual. They contain essential information regarding the deceased, like full name, date, and place of birth, time and place of death, cause of death, name of hospital and funeral home, burial information, spouse, and parents’ names, and since 1950, the Social Security Number.

Death records provide important information that can be especially useful for researchers, or genealogy purposes. Most researchers look first for death records because they provide more information than other records and, because some people that have death records may not have birth records or marriage records.

How to find death records

Death records are closed records that can only be obtained by close family members or by a person with a proven tangible interest, or with a court order. In most states, death records become public records 25 years after the date of death.

Keep in mind that while most U.S. states began recording deaths between 1900 and 1930, each one started a different year.

Read more: How to find public records

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