Michigan 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: Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897 .
The state of Michigan required registration of deaths beginning in 1867. This collection covers deaths registered through 1897.
The deaths are recorded on a two page ledger form provided by the Michigan Secretary of State. The registration ledgers are bound in volumes by year. The counties are listed alphabetically within each volume.
From 1867 to 1897, the township supervisor or city assessor or supervisor annually canvassed their area and recorded the deaths that took place the year preceding the first Monday in April. The supervisor or assessor returned the results to the county clerk within 30 days of completing the canvass. Each year the county clerk forwarded the records to Secretary of State. The Secretary of State had the records bound in books, one for each year, and made an annual report to the Governor. Registration was initially very incomplete. Some counties did not report any deaths during the first three years of this statute. This law remained in effect until 1897, when the state required a death certificate be issued. It is believed that approximately half of the deaths were missed in the time period from 1867 until 1897.
Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They are also used to probate wills and administer the deceased person’s estate.
Death information was collected during the year following the death of the individual. The assessor or supervisor could obtain the information from anyone who had knowledge of the death. Normally it would be the spouse, parent, or child, but could be another relative, neighbor, physician, or undertaker. The information would only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Secretary of State. Department of Vital Records, Lansing.
A full bibliographic record is available in the Family History Library Catalog.
Record ContentInformation found in the Michigan death records includes:
- Name of deceased
- Date and place of death
- Gender and race
- Age in years, months, and days
- Marital status
- Cause of death
- Birthplace of deceased
- Parents' names and their residence
- Date record was made
How to Use the Record
Use death registers to obtain death information. You may also find burial information. The registers normally provide clues for further research, such as; names of parents, birth date, birthplace, and place of residence.
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. 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.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Known Issues with This Collection
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This Library of Michigan collection of Michigan death certificates features nearly 1 million records. This statewide collection offers researchers critical information in tracking Michigan ancestors during this time period. Information includes the decedent's birth date and place, parents' names and birthplace, cemetery name and location, and much more.
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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: Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897
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.