Delaware, 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
Access the records: Delaware, Death Records, 1855-1961 .


Record Description

The collection "Delaware, Death Records, 1855-1961" consists of a name index and images of Delaware statewide death records. 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.

The collection "Delaware Church Deaths, 1750-1886" consists of an index to Delaware church records, mostly from the city of Wilmington.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Delaware Death Records, 1855-1961.

Record Content

Delaware death certificates usually include:

  • 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

They 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.

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.

  • 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?

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

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 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

Online Delaware Death Index

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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.

Citation For This Collection

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 Delaware Death Records, 1855-1961.

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Delaware, Death Records, 1855-1955." Index and Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Archives and Records Management. Hall of Records, Dover.
"Delaware, Church Deaths, 1750-1886." Index. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Archives and Records Management. Hall of Records, Dover.


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