Delaware, Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Delaware, Death Records, 1855-1961 .
The collection consists of a name index and images of Delaware statewide death records. It covers the years 1855 to 1955. From 1855 to 1910, the death records are arranged by year then alphabetically by the name of the deceased person. From 1910 to 1955, the death records are arranged by year then by certificate number.
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.
- "Delaware, Death Records, 1855-1955." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Vital Statistics. Hall of Records, Dover.
- Name of deceased
- Date of death
- Place of death
- Age, gender and race of deceased
- Father's name and place of birth
- Mother's maiden name and place of birth
- Marital status of deceased
- Occupation of deceased
- Cause of death
- Place of residence
- Date and place of burial
Delaware death certificates may also include:
- Name of undertaker
- Date of burial
- More place of death information, (name of village, hundred, etc.)
How to Use the Records
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
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 look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images 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.
- Use the information from this index to locate the original death record which usually contains additional information.
- 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 census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
- The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
- 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 at the name of the informant. This is often a relative.
- Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search the related collection Delaware, Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
General Information About These Records
Death records include certificates, returns, physicians’ certificates and coroner’s returns. Death returns were turned into the State by county clerks prior to creation of death certificates.
On July 1, 1913, the state of Delaware established a law requiring the registration of births, deaths, and marriages and created the Bureau of Vital Statistics as an agency of the State Board of Health. Death records have been submitted to the Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics since 1913. The city of Wilmington also has a register of vital statistics.
The Delaware Public Archives has death certificates created since 1913 up to 1967. The Archives also hosts files of early death records that were compiled from sources including tombstones, newspapers and family Bibles. The Public Archives also has records of some deaths that have not been indexed.
Death records are considered to be primary source records. Information in these records is usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant. For example, a coroner would be able to give reliable information about the date, time, and cause of death, but might not know personal details about the deceased.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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Contributions to This Article
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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
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: Delaware Death Records, 1855-1961
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.
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