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Death Records: Online and Off

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  1. Death Records: Online and Off

  2. The internet is a tool of the last days.However, the most important guide for using the internet is to listen to the spirit of the holy ghost.

  3. Finding Death Records What records are created when someone dies? Time and Place determine available records. Find the records online and off

  4. What records are created when someone dies?

  5. Newspaper announcing illness and family gathering • Will draw up, land and possessions dispersed • Doctor in attendance, hospital records, death certificate or death record • Mortician, funeral home, cemetery and sexton • Obituary or death notice or estate notice in newspaper • Funeral- mortuary or Church arranges funeral, writes notice of death in newspaper or church news • Family Bible record made by family or minister • Probate will to appoint executor, if no will appoint administrator, Widow’s portion • Taxes paid by heirs or administrator • City directory notes death, changes wife’s status to widow • Census year has morality schedule • Pension canceled, social security notified widow reapplies • Social Clubs such as Masons will note death, may have bio-sketch.

  6. Start by Narrowing the place and time period of death • Find ancestor in the census, land and or tax records • Look at all the children’s census and cemetery records because parent move close to their children in their old age. • Look at sibling’s census and cemetery records • Estimate age of death, siblings usually live to the same decade.

  7. Determine what possible records are available online and off

  8. Time and Place determine available records • Use wiki or the Red Book or Handybookto determine when records start in city, county, and state • Social Security Death Index is only good for deaths after 1937, 98% Death indexed in 1962. The index does not include everyone that registered for Social Security. • Death certificates mandated by Federal Government 1911, some states didn’t comply until 1930. Some large cities have death records or registers as early as 1790. • Obituaries became more common in the later part of the 1800’s and early 1900s. During the depression period obituaries declined. • Church records • Funeral homes • Cemetery • Newspapers • Bible Records • Taxes • Land Records • Probate

  9. The earliest cities to require civil registration were New Orleans (1790), Boston (1848), Philadelphia (1860), Pittsburgh (1870), and Baltimore (1875). Fourteen states also initiated registration before 1880:

  10. ONLine Search

  11. Look for Indexes then originals • Check Catalog and Wiki (Titles in Catalog- maybe the same index or record online . Donot look at a record twice.) • Wiki- look at date records started, look for links to repositories as well as online indexes

  12. INDEX links • www.Progenealogists.organd • Death Index Online • • Note which books, films or sources have been searched to save time later • Search both Vital Record Search Engine and Use the card Catalog •

  13. INDEX Printed in Periodicals • CHECK PERSI (AncestralQuest or Many local historical and genealogical societies have published birth and death records in their periodicals, newsletters, and journals; they should be examined whenever available. • CHECK PERSIBible Records, Cemetery Indexes, Obituary Indexes

  14. INDEXES created by Locals Local Archives and Libraries • Google: name of city or county + library • Call and ask names of local cemeteries, newspapers and obituary indexes

  15. Problems finding Names in Indexes, i.e. Death certificates • Common or nick names • Spelling of name especially surname changed, • Initials • Women listed as Mrs. • Indexers misread name such as “L” for “S” • Right-of-privacy laws restrict access to certificate

  16. Off Line Search

  17. Sexton’s Records Tombstone or Gravestones 2 Types of Cemetery Records

  18. Sexton’s Records Provide ~ Names and dates of those buried. They are not obliged to share these records.

  19. Sexton may also provide Maps of burial plots Salt Lake City Cemetery

  20. Google, Rootsweb sites Books @ BYU “Cemeteries of the United States” Organized by County “United States Cemetery Addressbook” Organized by State and Town How to Contact Sextons

  21. After checking online go to the Libraries

  22. Local lookups • LDS ward clerks can get the phone number of the local branch president or bishop. Call and ask for a local genealogist, or someone who might do a look up. • Random Acts of Genealogical • Association of Professional Genealogist • ICAPgen

  23. Example of a complete and informative Death Certificate

  24. How to Find Vital Records • What you need to know: • Ancestor’s name, time period and locality of vital event. • How do you find this information?

  25. Search other records, if necessary, to find clues about these events. Records which may contain at least the year of a birth or death include: • Land records. • Local histories. • Naturalization records. • Newspaper notices. • Pension files. • Probate files. • Censuses. • Biographies. • Cemetery records. • Bibles. • Court records. • Funeral homes. • Genealogies.

  26. How to Find Vital Records • •

  27. How to Find Family History Library Catalog Death Records • Look in by • Locality: town, county and state • Use Topic of “Vital Records Index” and Vital Records” • Use Indexes to locate your individual then go to actual records • Sometimes FHL ONLY has index • Look at Cemetery, Obituaries, Newspapers, Probate, Land

  28. Some Examples by States • Connecticut – an early state • Records by town by 1658 • Special collections available • Barbour Collection • Hale Collection

  29. Some Examples by States • Nebraska • No records per se at Family History Library • Look at Catalog for Vital Records in Nebraska. We find: • Substitute Records are Newspaper Abstracts • Nebraska Vital Records Index

  30. Other Sources for Vital Records at the Family History Library • DAR and Genealogical Organizations publish extractions

  31. Can look like this…

  32. Records at the Family History Library • Newspaper Abstractions [book form many times]

  33. Can look like this… “Abstracts of Cazenovia, NY” Newspaper Extractions FHL 974.964B32a

  34. Or like this…

  35. U.S. Newspaper Program Index both existent papers and location of microfilms or digital links.. Look at local university library catalogs for microfilm. Example: FHL, BYU, U of U, Utah State Newspapers in microfilm. You can borrow the films through Orem City or BYU Interlibrary loan. Newspapers


  37. Each state's largest newspaper repository. inventoried holdings in public libraries, county courthouses, newspaper offices, historical museums, college and university libraries, archives, and historical societies. Online links Projects to identify Newspapers

  38. Click on state or scroll down

  39. Millions of dollars to digitalize

  40. Link to state collection: Georgia


  42. Other Sources for Vital Records • Collections and Postings on the Internet such as: • www.

  43. Internet Sites that link to vital records • • www. Progenealogist. com/genealogysleuthb.htm