District of Columbia Deaths (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: District of Columbia Deaths 1874-1959] .
Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The District of Columbia Deaths collection is available only to those using an LDS FamilySearch Account or a FamilySearch Account
This Collection will include records from 1874 to 1959.
The records were recorded by hand on pre-printed forms.
Registration of vital statistics began in 1874 for the District of Columbia and was generally complied with by 1880 for deaths. Some earlier records of deaths exist from 1855-1860, and 1865-1949. They can be obtained from the following address:
This collection covers the years 1874 to 1959.
Birth and deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. Death records were used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.
Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. Death certificates were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.
Department of Health Department of Human Services
Vital Records Division
800 9th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
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.
- "District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Health Department. District Records Center, Washington D.C.
These death records usually contain the following information:
- Name of deceased
- Date and place of death
- Age and gender of deceased
- Cause of death
- Name of person(s) who removed the body
- Name of undertaker
How to Use the Record
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
To search the collection by name, fill in the requested information in the boxes on 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.
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Name indexes to deaths make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
Be sure and view the image. There is often additional information on the image.
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 birth year or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth year or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
- Use the place and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
- 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 for the name of the informant. This is often a family member.
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.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
- District of Columbia Databases listed on Rootsweb.org _Free
- USGenweb.org site for Washington D.C. or District of Columbia - Free
- Progenealogists Links for the United States. Press Ctrl + F on the keyboard to search for District of Columbia or DC - Free/ ($)
- Vitalcheck.com ($) Express ordering of vital record certificates
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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 Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X227-PJ7 : accessed 23 May 2012), Anna Christina Jensen, 1931; citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 2,116,832; Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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