Zimbabwe, 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.


Record Description

This collection includes records of death registers, from 1890 to 1977, Death Notices from 1904 to 1976 and Index to Death Registers from 1890 to 1977.

The records included in this collection consist of death notices and registers obtained from the National Archives at Harare and Salisbury, Zimbabwe. The collection includes indexes of closed and open files. The records are written in English.

The following explains the abbreviations found in the image indexes:

  • DR - Death Register
  • W - Will
  • ADM - Administration

The death registers have the abbreviations "D.R." and followed by the volume number/page number. It appears those records that are labeled ADM are probably administrations which are separate from the death registers and they contain wills and living Trust records.

Zimbabwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia and became independent from Great Britain on April 18, 1980. Even though civil registration was established in 1890 it did not become mandatory until after independence. Birth registration began in 1891 and death registration in 1904. Birth and death registrations did not include African tribal members until 1963.

Birth and death certificates are currently registered through district registries in each town or city, but all records are kept at the National Archives in the capital city of Harare, formerly known as Salisbury. The address for the archives is at The National Archives - Zimbabwe. Marriage certificates are also recorded.

Registers of deaths of citizens of Rhodesia were created due to several laws (listed below) regarding vital records:

  • The Executor's Accounts Act of 1864
  • The Administration of Estates Ordinance No. 6 of 1907
  • The Administration of Estates Act, Chapter 47 of 1952, and Chapter 51 of 1965

The records in this collection are generally reliable, although they contain some problems, as listed further along this article.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in the Zimbabwe, Death notices, 1904-1976 collection, select the Browse.

For a list of records by surnames and dates currently published in the Zimbabwe, Death Registers, 1890-1977; Index to Death Register, 1892-1977 collection, select the Browse.

Record Content

Death notices usually contain the following information:

  • Full name, age and gender of deceased
  • Race, marital status, and residence
  • Occupation
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Duration of last illness
  • Intended burial place
  • Birthplace of deceased
  • Names of parents
  • Name of surviving spouse, if married
  • Number of children and whether they are major or minor
  • Medical attendant's name and residence
  • Informant and their qualifications
  • Informant's residence
  • Property left by the deceased

How to Use the Record

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Approximate year and place of death

Search the Death Registers/ Index to Death Register Collection

To search the "Zimbabwe, Death Registers, 1890-1977; Index to Death Register, 1892-1977" collection for a death record, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page. The Record Types listed can be grouped into four categories: (1) “Death Indexes Open Files” (one record set), (2) “Death indexes Surnames A-Z” (one record set), (3) a group of death indexes, each of which addresses a specific alphabetical surname range (16 record sets), and (4) “Death registers” (one record set).

The two categories of indexes (Nos. 2 and 3 above) must first be searched independently by surname. After locating the entry for an individual in an index, the death record can be found in the “Death registers” by using the reference information provided in the index. The reference information is different for each index category.

For category (2) above, the D[eath] R[egister] number is in the form of Volume/Page. Select the Volume number from the “Death registers” record set, then locate the specified page number to see the death certificate.

For category (3) above, the D[eath] R[egister] number is in the form of Certificate Number/Year. Select the year from the “Death registers” record set, then locate the specified certificate number to see the death certificate. Each of these numbers is preceded by the letter “B.”

Search the Collections

To search the Zimbabwe Death notices, 1904-1976 collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "District"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type and Years" which will take you to the images.

To search the Zimbabwe, Death Registers, 1890-1977; Index to Death Register, 1892-1977 collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type"
⇒Select the appropriate "Year Range and Volume or Certificate Number" which will take you to the images.

You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to find your ancestor.

Search for your ancestor by looking in the appropriate index. The numbers in the index match the volume, page and certificate numbers.
For example, if an ancestor was listed as D.R. 73/162 9572 the listing translates to:
D.R. is the abbreviation for the death registers
The volume number is 73
The page number is 162
The certificate number is 9572
Therefore your next step would be to search the Death Registers record type for 1941-1946, Vol. 73. The record should be on page 162.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

General Information About These Records

These civil registration records show the deaths occurring in Zimbabwe between (and including) 1904-1976. This information can assist those searching for death dates of family members who passed away in Zimbabwe during this time period.

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.

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: Zimbabwe, Death notices, 1904-1976

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 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.

"Zimbabwe, Death Registers, 1890-1977; Index to Death Register, 1892-1977" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Registrar General. National Archives, Harare.


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  • This page was last modified on 16 June 2014, at 17:07.
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