Death Records Search

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  • Databases Updated on May 20, 2018

Public Death Records Search Online - RecordsFinder.com A death certificate caps the phases of life that are accompanied by one thing: paperwork. For each of the 2.5 million people who pass away in the United States each year, the government documents the time, date, place and cause, capping documentation of a life that began with a birth certificate, records of immunizations, school attendance, marriage, businesses, and collection of Social Security in retirement.

Death records are comprised of many things, official and unofficial. Death certificates, obituaries and funeral home records can paint a detailed picture of a person's life if you are researching, including vital information like occupation, children's names and ages, educational background, place of birth, parents and siblings' names, and places he lived. But obituaries are unofficial, meant to memorialize a person, and are not considered unbiased information.

Death certificates are official records that can be two different things: the document that a physician signs attesting to a person's time, date, place and cause of death as well as the document that an office of vital statistics provides to authorities, family members, and others for legal purposes.

Purpose of Death Certificates

A death certificate is an official government document that notifies agencies to stop services to the deceased, including Social Security or Medicaid payments. It includes the Social Security number of the deceased for tracking purposes.

Estate executors may seek certified copies of death certificates that are issued by government authorities, usually a town or county clerk, to make legal claims such as cashing an insurance policy, initiating the probate process, or selling property that belonged to the deceased.

Government agencies such as the census bureau and Centers for Disease Control depend on the information provided on death certificates to track diseases, longevity, and other statistical information. That's why it's important for them to have an accurate cause of death on the document: to follow trends based on location, age, ethnicity, prevalence of disease and more.

Doctors aren't the only ones who may sign death certificates. In some instances, when the cause of death is certain and obvious, others with medical training like nurses or paramedics, or justices of the peace may bear official witness to a death. Even so, an autopsy may be performed to make a clear determination of the cause or contributing factors for record keeping purposes (such as alcohol use involved in a traffic accident or heat stroke in an elderly person). In the case of brain dead individuals on life support, a specialized medical professional (neurosurgeon) must establish brain death.

Death Records Statistics Infographic

Death Records Statistics
Number of deaths: 2,596,993
Death Records Statistics
Death rate: 821.5 deaths per 100,000 population
Death Records Statistics
Life expectancy: 78.8 years
Death Records Statistics
Infant Mortality rate: 5.96 deaths per 1,000 live births

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

Death Records Statistics
Heart disease: 614,348
Death Records Statistics
Cancer: 591,699
Death Records Statistics
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
Death Records Statistics
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
Death Records Statistics
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
Death Records Statistics
Alzheimer's disease: 93,541
Death Records Statistics
Diabetes: 76,488
Death Records Statistics
Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,227
Death Records Statistics
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 48,146
Death Records Statistics
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773

Obtaining death certificates

The availability of death certificates varies from state to state: some consider them public records while others consider them confidential and do not allow unlimited access. Many states have a "tangible interest" limitation that allows only those with a direct connection to the deceased to get records, but those individuals do not have to be related to the dead person as they may include private investigators, estate executors and others. This is done out of concern for identity theft.

Death certificates are filed in the location of the person's death, not necessarily his home state. Contact the city hall in the place of death for instructions on ordering a copy of a death certificate. If the document is not considered publicly available, you may be able to request a "review" copy that omits information like social security number, cause of death, and other details.

Historical Death Records on May 20

  • 685 King Ecgfrith of Northumbria (b. 645)
  • 1277 John XXI, [Petrus Juliani/Hispanus], Port Pope (1276-77), dies
  • 1277 Pope John XXI (b. 1215)
  • 1285 John II of Jerusalem, King of Cyprus (b. 1259)
  • 1444 Bernardinus van Siena, Italian saint, dies at 63
  • 1449 Peter, Prince/regent of Portugal/writer (Virtuosa Benfeitoria), dies
  • 1471 Henry VI, king of England (1422-61, 70-71)/France (1431-71), dies
  • 1503 Lorenzo de Medici, Italian patron (b. 1463)
  • 1506 Christopher Columbus, explorer, dies in poverty, in Spain at 55
  • 1509 Catharina Sforza, Italian duchess of Forli, dies at 45
  • 1550 Ashikaga Yoshiharu, Japanese shogun (b. 1510)
  • 1597 Matthijs Heldt, dies in battle
  • 1622 Osman II, sultan of Turkey (1618-22), dies
  • 1648 Wladyslaw IV Wasa, King of Poland, dies
  • 1650 Francesco Sacrati, composer, dies at 44
  • 1669 Joris van der Hagen, landscape painter, dies
  • 1677 George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol, British statesman (b. 1612)
  • 1713 Thomas Sprat, English writer (b. 1635)
  • 1717 John Trevor, British statesman (b. 1637)
  • 1722 Sébastien Vaillant, French botanist (b. 1669)
  • 1732 Thomas Boston, Scottish church leader (b. 1676)
  • 1751 Domingo Miguel Bernaube Terradellas, composer, dies at 38
  • 1782 Carlo Giovanni Testori, composer, dies at 68
  • 1782 Christoph Gottlieb Schroter, composer, dies at 82
  • 1782 William Emerson, British mathematician (b. 1701)
  • 1793 Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist (b. 1720)
  • 1795 Ignác Martinovics, Hungarian physicist/revolutionary, beheaded
  • 1825 Papaflessas, Greek priest and government official (b. 1788)
  • 1834 Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert de Motier, nobleman, dies
  • 1834 Marquis de Lafayette, French general, dies
  • 1841 Joseph Blanco White, theological writert, dies
  • 1847 Mary Lamb, writer, dies
  • 1864 John Clare, English poet (Little Trotty Wagtail), dies at 70
  • 1873 Sir George-Étienne Cartier, French-Canadian statesman (b. 1814)
  • 1875 Amalia, wife of King Otto of Greece, dies at 58
  • 1876 Harold, grandson of English queen Victoria, dies at 8 days old
  • 1876 Khristo Botev, Bulgarian poet, dies
  • 1880 Eugene LFC prince the Ligne, Belgian prince of Ambise, dies at 76
  • 1883 William Chambers, author/publisher, dies
  • 1896 Clara Josephine Wieck Schumann, composer/pianist, dies at 76
  • 1900 Gustav Heinrich Graben-Hoffman, composer, dies at 80
  • 1909 Ernest Hogan, blackface comedian and musician (b. 1859)
  • 1910 Jean-Baptiste Theodore Weckerlin, composer, dies at 88
  • 1911 E M Grace, cricketer (one Test v Australia 1880, 36 & 0), dies
  • 1917 Philipp von Ferrary, Italian philatelist (b. 1850)
  • 1917 Valentine Fleming, Scottish politician (b. 1887)
  • 1919 Jacob Verdam, philosopher, dies
  • 1923 Hans Goldschmidt, German chemist, dies
  • 1926 Dick Pougher, cricketer (17 & 3-26 in only Test for Engld 1892), dies
  • 1935 Ivans, [Jacob van Schevichaven], lawyer/detective writer, dies at 68
  • 1939 Joe Carr, NFL hall of famer/NFL president (1921-39), dies at 59
  • 1940 Amar Singh, cricketer (of pneumonia Indian pace bowler 1932-36), dies
  • 1940 Joris [Georges] van Severen, Flem fascist/Member of parliament, dies
  • 1946 Jacob Ellehammer, Danish inventor (b. 1871)
  • 1947 Philipp Lenard, Austrian physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1862)
  • 1949 Randolph West, American biochemist, known for the Dakin-West reaction (b. 1890)
  • 1956 Andre Eugene Maurice Charlot, actor (Summer Storm), dies
  • 1956 Max Beerbohm, caricturist/writer (Yet Again), dies
  • 1959 Alfred Schutz, Austrian/US architect/philosopher, dies at 60
  • 1961 Josef "Pips" Priller, German fighter ace (b. 1915)
  • 1968 Albert Hartkopf, cricketer (one Test for Australia), dies
  • 1968 Kees van Dongen, Dutch/French painter, dies at 91
  • 1969 Fred Sherman, actor (Chain Lightning), dies after a stroke at 64
  • 1969 Royal Beal, actor (Death of a Salesman), dies of cancer, at 69
  • 1971 Waldo Williams, Welsh poet (b. 1904)
  • 1972 Cornelis J van der Klauw, Dutch biologist/zoologist, dies at 78
  • 1972 Walter Winchell, columnist/narrator (Untouchables), dies at 75
  • 1973 Jarno Saarinen, Finnish motorcycle racer (b. 1945)
  • 1975 Barbara Hepworth, sculptor, dies
  • 1975 Dame Barbara Hepworth, English sculptor, dies in fire at 72
  • 1975 Jacques Stehman, composer, dies at 62
  • 1976 Syd Howe, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1911)
  • 1976 Zelmar Michelini, Uruguayan politician, member of the Christian-Democrat party, and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz "disappeared"
  • 1980 Jack Walsh, cricketer (at Wallsend)/commentator (NBN), dies
  • 1984 Peter Bull, British actor (Dr Doolittle), dies of a heart attack at 72
  • 1985 George Memmoli, actor (Earl-Hello Larry), dies at 46
  • 1986 Bernard Naylor, composer, dies at 78
  • 1986 Willem Pee, Belgian linguistic, dies at 83
  • 1989 Anton Diffring, actor (Zeppelin, Fahrenheit 451), dies at 70
  • 1989 Gilda Radner, comedienne (SNL, Haunted Honeymoon), dies at 42
  • 1989 John R Hicks, English economist (Nobel 1972), dies
  • 1991 Julian Orbon De Soto, composer, dies at 65
  • 1992 Roger Keith Coleman, American convict
  • 1993 Max Klein, inventor (paint by numbers), dies at 77
  • 1994 Dallas Pratt, collector, dies at 79
  • 1994 Ronald Russell, actor/manager (We Are Angels), dies at 83
  • 1994 Vivien John, artist, dies at 79
  • 1996 Eric Davidson, comedy scriptwriter, dies at 65
  • 1996 George Malcolm Thomson, journalist, dies at 96
  • 1996 Jack Wyngaard, dancer, dies at 37
  • 1996 Janaki Ramachandran, PM of Indian state of Tamil Nadu (1988), dies
  • 1996 John Pertwee, actor (Dr Who), dies at 76
  • 1996 Julius Marmur, biochemist/geneticist, dies at 70
  • 1996 Lewis B Combs, naval commander/civil engineer, dies at 101
  • 1997 Virgilio Boat, president of Colombia (1986-90), dies
  • 2000 Jean Pierre Rampal, French flutist (b. 1922)
  • 2000 Malik Sealy, American basketball player (b. 1970)
  • 2001 Renato Carosone, Italian musician (b. 1920)
  • 2002 Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist (b. 1941)
  • 2005 Paul Ricoeur, French philosopher (b. 1913)
  • 2005 William Seawell, United States Army Brigadier General (b. 1918)
  • 2007 Norman Von Nida, Australian golfer (b. 1914)
  • 2008 Hamilton Jordan, former Carter White House Chief of Staff (b. 1944)
  • 2009 Arthur Erickson, Canadian architect (b.1924)
  • 2009 Lucy Gordon, British model and actress (b. 1980)

Death Records Search

  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death
  • Death Cause
  • Certificate Filing State
  • Certificate Filing County
  • Certificate Filing City
  • Deceased's Address
  • Deceased's Date of Birth
  • Deceased's Place of Birth
  • Deceased's Father Name
  • Deceased's Mother Name
  • Deceased's Sibling Names
  • Deceased's Household Size
  • Deceased's Relative Names
  • Deceased's Family History
  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death
  • Death Cause
  • Certificate Filing State
  • Certificate Filing County
  • Certificate Filing City
  • Deceased's Address
  • Deceased's Date of Birth
  • Deceased's Place of Birth
  • Deceased's Father Name
  • Deceased's Mother Name
  • Deceased's Sibling Names
  • Deceased's Household Size
  • Deceased's Relative Names
  • Deceased's Family History