Michigan Death Records (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.
Access the records: Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897 .

Contents

Record Description

The state of Michigan required registration of deaths beginning in 1867. This collection covers deaths registered through 1897.

This Library of Michigan collection of Michigan death certificates features nearly 1 million records. This statewide collection offers researchers critical information in tracking Michigan ancestors during this time period. Information includes the decedent's birth date and place, parents' names and birthplace, cemetery name and location, and much more.

The deaths are recorded on a two page ledger form provided by the Michigan Secretary of State. The registration ledgers are bound in volumes by year. The counties are listed alphabetically within each volume.

From 1867 to 1897, the township supervisor or city assessor or supervisor annually canvassed their area and recorded the deaths that took place the year preceding the first Monday in April. The supervisor or assessor returned the results to the county clerk within 30 days of completing the canvass. Each year the county clerk forwarded the records to Secretary of State. The Secretary of State had the records bound in books, one for each year, and made an annual report to the Governor. Registration was initially very incomplete. Some counties did not report any deaths during the first three years of this statute. This law remained in effect until 1897, when the state required a death certificate be issued. It is believed that approximately half of the deaths were missed in the time period from 1867 until 1897.

Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They are also used to probate wills and administer the deceased person’s estate.

Death information was collected during the year following the death of the individual. The assessor or supervisor could obtain the information from anyone who had knowledge of the death. Normally it would be the spouse, parent, or child, but could be another relative, neighbor, physician, or undertaker. The information would only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897.

Record Content

Information found in the Michigan death records includes:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Gender and race
  • Age in years, months, and days
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death
  • Birthplace of deceased
  • Parents' names and their residence
  • Date record was made

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Identifying information such as the death date, death place, age or residence

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Film Number (Digital Folder Number)" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use death registers to confirm or provide death information.
  • Use the place and names to locate census records for the time period.
  • Use the age to calculate the birth date.
  • Use the birth date and place to locate a birth record.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
  • You may also find burial information.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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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.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Secretary of State. Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897.

Image citation:

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 Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 2 December 2014, at 19:43.
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