District of Columbia Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians.

The District of Columbia collections are available only to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using the FamilySearch website but can be viewed by all users at a FamilySearch Center near you. Indexes to the records are still free to all users online.

Original images can also be ordered or viewed through the following mediums.
1. Microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library are available via Online Film Ordering in most parts of the world. The film number is included in the source information found on the index of the record. A catalog search for the District of Columbia provides a rich variety of available records. 

Instructions on how to order microfilm are found on the research wiki.

2. The research wiki includes links to several websites which offer vital records for the District of Columbia 

3. Request a digital copy of items found in the FamilySearch Catalog services from the Family History Library (photoduplication). Include source information found on the index of the record in your request. 

Record Description

The collection consists of an index and images of death records from the District of Columbia. The records cover the years 1874 to 1959. The records were recorded by hand on pre-printed forms.

Registration of vital statistics began in 1874 for the District of Columbia and was generally complied with by 1880 for deaths. Some earlier records of deaths exist from 1855-1860, and 1865-1949. They can be obtained from the following address:

Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. Death certificates were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.

Department of Health Department of Human Services
Vital Records Division
800 9th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
Telephone: 202-645-5962

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959.

Record Content

Death records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Age and gender of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Name of person(s) who removed the body
  • Name of undertaker

How to Use the Record

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the death occurred
  • The name of the person at the time of death
  • The approximate death date

Search the Collection

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • The name of the deceased
  • Other identifying information such as the date or place of death

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the birth year or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth year or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the place and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Look for the name of the informant. This is often a family member.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
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Don't overlook FHL Place District of Columbia items or FHL Keyword United States, District of Columbia items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see District of Columbia Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

“Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the “Show Citation” box: District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.


Citation for This Collection

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959.

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Health Department. District Records Center, Washington D.C.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 18 July 2014, at 23:35.
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