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Finding Washington Death Records

The Washington Territory was established in 1853. Statehood was granted in 1889. Statewide registration of deaths in Washington began in 1907.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1891

Washington did not record deaths on the state level at this time. Before 1891, deaths were not required to be recorded by the county or the state. Search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Probate (wills, etc)
Tax Records
Church Records
Census
Bible Records
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths 1891 to 1907

  • 1848 - Oregon Territory created, including present day Washington state
  • 1853 - Washington Territory organized
  • 1889 – Washington granted statehood as the 42nd state of the Union
  • 1891 – Washington law required counties to record deaths
  • 1907 - Statewide registration of deaths began on July 1

For deaths recorded during this time period, try the following databases.

Washington Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images

Try 1st:


1891-1907
Washington State Digital Archives
Free – dates vary by county; includes death records and returns, city death registers, U.S. Mortality Schedules
Try 2nd:


Washington, County Records Free – dates vary by county; includes death records from the county clerks for early Washington. This is a browse collection, search for your county and then the Death Records.
Try 3rd:


Washington, Deaths, 1883–1960 Ancestry.com – $

Ancestryinstitution.com – free at Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers and some public libraries. Find your local FamilySearch Center
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths 1907 to present

The state of Washington began recording deaths July 1907.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information

For deaths recorded during this time period, try the following database.


Washington Deaths Databases – Index and Digital Images





Washington Deaths, 1883–1960

Washington Deaths, 1883–1960

Ancestry.com – $



Ancestryinstitution.com – free at Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers and some public libraries. Find your local FamilySearch Center

If you can't find the death record in the above database, try the following:

Washington Deaths Databases – Index Only





Washington Death Index, 1940-1996

Washington Death Index, 1940–1996

Ancestry.com – $


Ancestryinstituion.com – free at Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers and some public libraries. Find your local FamilySearch Center


Washington, Death Certificates, 1907–1960

FamilySearch.org – free

SSDI, 1937 to present GenealogyBank.com – free  Social Security Death Index, most current version; few records before 1962; lists place where lat benefit was sent
Or try:
SSDI at FamilySearch Historical Records Free
Or try:
U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 at Ancestry.com Subscription required, can use for free at FamilySearch Centers.






Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information


FamilySearch Microfilm Collections:

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

PART A: You know the exact date of death

If the image was not included in the index entry above, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From County of Death From Washington State Department of Health
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

The State of Washington is an open record state. Anyone may order copies of Washington death certificates, as long as they can provide the required information.

If you do not want to order the death record, search other records with death information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of death

If you do not know the exact date or place of death the Washington State Department of Health will do a search for a fee.

If you do not want to order the death record, you can search other records with death information.

Return to top: Choose another death year


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  • This page was last modified on 28 October 2014, at 22:41.
  • This page has been accessed 1,074 times.