Using Death Records For Family Trees

You may not be all that interested in history. Who cares about relatives who lived 100 years before you? Does it really matter when your great-great-great-grandmother was born? In reality, family genealogy is about more than birth dates and death dates, of course. You can learn about your genetic markers for certain diseases or disorders, which can clue you in on tests that you may need to get sooner than later. Some families have a long history of cancer, so finding out this information through death records of the family can prompt many to get tested for cancer early, thus living long, healthy, cancer-free lives after all.

The death certificate will tell you many things about a person. It will list the full name of the deceased, the date the death occurred, the address at which the death took place, the age of the deceased and, most importantly, the cause of death You’ll also learn the name, address and relationship of the person who reported the death and the maiden name of a widow left behind.

Once you have the death certificate number, you will be able to find the microfilm records associated with that death, which can provide other family history research information. Some death certificates will even list the parent’s names, the number of children left behind, the former residence, the physician, contributing causes of death and the place/date of burial. Not all this information will be on every certificate, as it depends when the death was filed.

Death records are often found at local libraries. If you know the year of death and the death certificate number, you can usually look up death certificates, death notices and death obituaries on the library’s microfilm machine. The death certificate will tell you the cause of death.

The death notice will tell you surviving kin, funeral information and the place of burial. An obituary may tell you narrative, biographical data about the deceased too. These services are usually free if you have a library card, although printing charges and official copy charges will apply if you require them for your family history book.

The most obvious of the death records is the death certificate. However, you can also look up information from local cemeteries, church records to find out where the funeral was held, probate records to let you know about inheritances given, obituaries, newspaper articles, military records, court records and land/property records for added information on your family history genealogy. Understanding your family’s past can help you see where you fit into the historical fabric of society and can inspire your family for generations to come.

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