How to find the death of someone

This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Works, contact us. Step 2 Go to Rootsweb. Step 3 Enter as much information on the individual as possible. Tips If you fail to locate the individual you seek in the SSDI, try searching in different ways—such as last name and birth date or even first name and birth date.

These tricks can help you locate women who have remarried or individuals whose names are recorded incorrectly. You might need to look at the death index of the state where you suspect they died. See Resources for a link to these indexes.

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E-Mail Address. Cancel Login. If you have the minimum information required to find one of these documents, select the name of that document. The items in the list are ordered from most to least important. If you do not have the minimum information required, read the paragraph below this list.

Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. See the topic Finding information at home for more information. Also check for local histories. See the topic Finding previous research. An individual's death certificate is the best place to look for a death date, because it is a primary source for that information. Death certificates are available from either the county or the state where the death took place, depending on the year of the death. To get the address where you must write to obtain a vital record, see the topic Resources by state.

To find an individual's death date on a vital record, such as a death certificate, you must at least know the individual's name at time of death, the approximate year of the death, and the state or county of the death, depending on when the death took place. Even if you don't have the minimum information required to find the original records, you're not completely out of luck. Indexes to vital records, including death records, have been made for some states and counties.

These indexes provide you with the information you need to access the original record. Check with libraries and genealogy societies in the area -- they may know if any indexes exist for the records that you need.

What do I need to do straight away?

You can usually find an individual's death date or age on church death records. When you have an individual's age at death, you can usually estimate the death date. The books listed below can help you locate your ancestors' church records by telling you who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors" church. You can find these books in a public or genealogical library. Depending on the book that you use, you can look up either the name of your ancestors' church or the name of the clergyman and find out who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors' church.

Of course, if you live close to your ancestors' church, you should go directly to the church and ask the staff for assistance in locating the records that you need.

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Once you locate the records that belong to your ancestors' church, the current custodian of the records should be able to direct you in your search for the death record that you need. Another good place to look for both American and foreign church records is among the microfilm records at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their church records are organized first by state, then county, and then town. Unless the town that you are searching for had very few churches, knowing a denomination will make your search easier. To find an individual's death date in church death records, you must at least know the individual's name, and either the name of the church where the ceremony was performed or the name of the clergyman that appears in the church death records.

Death date

If you can find out the denomination of your ancestor's religion, you can try contacting all of the churches of that denomination in the area where you believe your ancestor lived. If they have records from the corresponding time period, they should be able to tell you whether or not your ancestor was a church member.

If their records do not go back far enough, they may be able to tell you if any other churches of that denomination existed in the area at the time and where their records may be. Try finding a marriage certificate -- it will probably list a clergyman or church.

If the individual lived in the same area throughout his or her life, the same church may have performed both the marriage and the burial ceremony.

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An obituary normally lists an individual's death date, or at least an approximate age at death. If the obituary doesn't give a death date, the publication date of the newspaper can indicate an approximate death date. The most interesting part about looking up obituaries is that you may also find a picture of the individual. The directories listed below will help you find the current owners of old newspapers from the time and place when the obituary was published. If the individual spoke a foreign language, check to see if there was a newspaper in that language, too.

Once you have located the current owners, you can request to search the appropriate copies. The current owners should be able to direct you in your search. Newspaper Program National Union List. You can access the OCLC at most university libraries and some community libraries. To find an individual's death date in an obituary, you must at least know the approximate date of death, the full name of the deceased, and the state and city or town where the death took place or where the obituary was likely to have been published.

Family Bibles often include family members' death dates. Make sure that you have asked your family members whether or not they are aware of any old Bibles that are still in the family. When you find information in actual Bibles, check the publication date of the Bible. If the Bible was printed in, for example, , but a death is recorded for , you know that the date of that particular death was not written down at the time of the death, but was written down several years later.

Dates recorded after the fact are less likely to be accurate. When you cannot find family Bibles among your own family members, check with genealogical societies in the area where the family lived. They may have or be aware of the location of local Bible records. When you are searching for Bible records, be sure to look under both the maiden name and married name.