In a few of the death records collections on Ancestry, you will find the indexes that link to images of actual birth records. In other cases, there are indexes that contain information that will help you request the record. If you find your ancestor in an index, be sure to click on the database title and look at the description to learn how to request the actual death record. The full record will typically include details not found in the index. We also maintain a list of links to state vital records agencies in the Ancestry Library.
This category includes civil, church, cemetery, obituary, and other death-related collections. In addition to details about the death, they can contain birth information, family origins, cause of death, and more.
Death records are primary resources for details about the death, since they were typically created relatively near the time of the death. This collection includes indexes that can help you request the actual record, and in some cases, actual images of the death records. Use the information you find in one type of death record to seek out other death-related records.
- Follow your ancestors through census records and city directories. Sometimes when they disappear from these records, it can narrow their death date. You’ll want to cover all bases though and check to make sure they didn’t move in with grown children, siblings, or other family members.
- Seek out the death records for all family members. Information found on the records of siblings may include helpful details that aren’t found on your ancestor’s record.
- You’ll typically find a variety of records were created for your ancestor’s death. Once you locate one, you’ll want to use information in that record to explore other types of records. Use the date of death to find obituaries, cemetery records, civil and church records, probates, Social Security, and where applicable body transit records.
- Don’t limit your obituary search to the area in which your ancestor lived. Newspapers in areas where your ancestor formerly lived, or where other family members lived may have run an obituary–and sometimes you’ll find more detail.