Death Certificates and Where to Find Them

By Sherry Stevens, professional genealogist

October is upon us again, the month when all things “deathly” are fun! And what could be more fun than finding your long-lost ancestor’s death certificate? Here is my handy guide for “haunting” it down:

These sites offer free death certificates:

Arizona Includes 1844-1960 & Birth Index 1855-1935. Also includes images of the certificates, although the early years are incomplete.
California- Includes 1940-1997.
Georgia- Includes 1914-1927. The years 1928-1930 are available at
Kentucky Project is ongoing and not complete at this time.
Michigan Includes 1897- 1920.
Missouri Includes 1910-1960 and free downloadable images of each death certificate.
Utah Includes 1904-1958
West Virginia Includes 1853-1970.

These sites offer free indexes, but charge a fee for a copy of the original certificate:

Idaho Includes 1911-1956.
Illinois Includes 1916-1950.
Indiana- Includes pre-1882 deaths.
Kentucky Includes 1911-1986.
Louisiana Includes 1911–1960, certified copies only.
Maine Includes 1960-2009.
Maryland- Includes the twenty-three counties other than Baltimore City for 1898-1944, and for Baltimore City from 1875 to 1972.
Michigan Includes 1867-1897.
Missouri Includes pre-1910 birth & death records.
Montana Includes 1882-2002. Incomplete.
New Jersey Includes June 1878-June 1887.
New Mexico Includes 1899-1949.
North Dakota Includes 1881 to one year ago.
Ohio Includes 1913-1944.
Oregon Includes 1903-1930.
South Carolina- Includes 1915-1960.
Tennessee Includes 1908-1932.
Texas- Includes 1964-4998.
Washington Includes 1907-1960.

If your state is not listed above:

Check the following free sites: Death certificates are also available at for a subscription fee, but access to some of Ancestry’s records is free at your local library or FamilySearch center. Also try Googling the name of the state in which your ancestor died, followed by “death certificates”. You will usually be able to find the website of the state’s department of heath or vital statistics in this way, where you can order a copy of your ancestor’s certificate. Fees usually range from $5.00-$25.00 for uncertified copies, and slightly more for certified copies.

Sherry StevensSherry Stevens is a professional researcher, writer, lecturer, and the owner of GenPro’s, a genealogical research firm. A descendant of Danish immigrants, she specializes in the records of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the United States. For more information on research services in these or other locations, please contact Sherry at:

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