D is for Death (Records)


Death records

  • Most states began recording deaths between 1900 and 1930, but each started a different year. For example,
  • New England states started recording deaths on the town level starting as early as the first residents of the town. New England states consist of ConnecticutRhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont,and New Hampshire.
  • Some states began recording deaths on the county level as early as the 1860s.
  • Restrictions: some states have restrictions on who can see them. Each state has its own laws. One state may have deaths for some years available to everyone while other states may limit access to relatives.

From the information supplied on a death certificate, one could determine the deceased’s birth date (age at time of death, if the actual birth date isn’t supplied), next of kin (“informant”), and if you are really lucky, the parents’ names and where they were born.

This information may not be the most accurate, as it is the farthest removed from the events such as birth, and the informant may not be very well informed!

Some information here is taken from How to Find US Death Records wiki page at FamilySearch.org

Family Vignette

D is for Dustin. Every parent feels their child is special, but we had some early indicators that our son was pretty smart. He didn’t think like we did and got easily bored in school. We had him tested and learned he had a photographic memory, among other things. He was put in some Gifted and Talented classes where he could be more challenged. Today I will share one example of a time when we just shook our heads (again) and said, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

Dustin was about eight years old and we were at a cub scout carnival. One of the booths was a challenge to get as many pennies as possibly into a milk bottle, by holding the pennies a certain distance above the opening and dropping them into the bottle. Dustin watched a few kids trying and not experiencing much success. When his turn came, he took all 10 of his allotted pennies, held them together stacked one on top of the other, and dropped them all at once. Their combined weight allowed them to drop straight down and all made it into the bottle! Genius!

related posts:


Part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Family, Genealogy & Family History, Life Lessons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to D is for Death (Records)

  1. Having a very intelligent child makes every day a learning experience for the parents!!

  2. Marie Abanga says:

    Dear Gail,

    Here I am once again to share another side to complement your story on Death Records!

    Hmm, in Africa and my country it is a known fact that some people still die and are buried without the death recorded into what is called a death certificate especially in rural areas or even some cities.

    Imagine what happens when a person is hurriedly buried behind or in his house when he dies (this happens no joke) and then it is later found out he had a bank account of some money or etc and they need to claim that…

    An #AtoZ er at http://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/

    • gapark says:

      This is a situation where it would be important for the family to keep some kind of record of these major events. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  3. That’s pretty genius of Dustin!

    Deeply Shallow

  4. dianatierney3 says:

    I know this may sound morbid but I actually enjoy reading death certificates. (I am estate planning paralegal so I see a lot of them) they have a lot of interesting information on them.

    • gapark says:

      Not morbid at all. I agree that they are fascinating. One death certificate in Russia listed the cause of death of a father, who had recently lost his six children and his wife to an epidemic, as a “broken heart.”

      • dianatierney3 says:

        Aww… I like seeing the ones where we have the parents of the decedent from other states or countries. I like to imagine what brought them here to California and when

  5. Deaf Mamma says:

    A bright child raises a pair of bright parents. Hugs to Dustin.


  6. Angela Tague says:

    Another interesting post!! Dustin sounds amazing! I’d love to have a photographic memory! ~ Angela, A to Z participant from Web Writing Advice (http://www.webwritingadvice.com/) and Whole Foods Living (http://wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/)

  7. anneyoungau says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. I wrote about birth, death and marriage records at letter B. In Australia we are lucky with the system but you are right the information is only as good as the informant’s knowledge. Death records are the least reliable as the subject can’t add to or correct the information.

  8. Great post. I filed some of that info away in case I need it for a story. =)

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

  9. What a smart kid. Great post, by the way. Uniquely interesting. Thanks for the read.
    Silvia @

  10. Leslie says:

    That is an awesome story about Dustin. One of my sons is three, and although he is a handful now, I believe he has a very bright future ahead of him…maybe not “genius” though;)

  11. Aditi says:

    Wow! He IS a genius! Great post! 🙂

  12. Many death certificates list the cause of death. This is good information for family medical history.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Let's chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s