California, Death Index, 1940-1997 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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This collection consists of a name index of death records. The index was created by the California Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Section in Sacramento.
The index includes the following:
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Father's last name
- Mother's maiden name
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The name of the person at the time of death
- Other identifying information such as the death date or place
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
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 death date to obtain a death certificate.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in other records such as census and church 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.
- If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Remember that indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
California. Death Index,1940-1997. California Department of Health Services. Vital Statistics Section, Sacramento, California.
Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Examples for a Record Found in a FamilySearch Historical Collection
The following are examples of records found in different collections. Please help us by replacing these examples with a citation for a record you have found in this collection.
- “Delaware Marriage Records,” database and digital images, FamilySearch ([]: 4 March 2011), William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, 1890; from Delaware, State Marriage Records 23 November 1913, no. 859, Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover; FHL microfilm 2,025,063.
- “El Salvador Civil Registration,” database and digital images, FamilySearch ([]: 21 March 2011), Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, 1880; from La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal, San Salvador.
When the citation has been replaced with a citation specific to the collection being described, the heading should be changed to one of the following:
- “Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection” in Heading style 5 for a single citation
- “Citation Examples for Records Found in This Collection” in Heading style 5 for more than one citation example
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