Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Texas has recorded deaths from 1903 to the present, plus about 250 registrations from 1890-1939 and nearly 2,000 delayed registrations of death from 1890s-1990, as reported from obituaries and probate records.
The collection consists of images of Texas statewide death certificates--including delayed certificates, foreign deaths, and probate obituaries--from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin. The delayed records are grouped with regular death certificates and, although frequently located in the final few volumes of a given year, can sometimes be found interspersed throughout a volume set.
For the years 1903-1909, two small pre-printed “report of death” forms are on one page. From 1911 on, each death was recorded on a one-page pre-printed “standard death certificate” form. The year 1910 has a mixture of reports of death and standard death certificates.
Death Certificates 1903-1909 are arranged by County and Year, then are listed alphabetically by the first letter of the surname only. After the certificates were arranged in this manner, they were numbered in a single sequence running through that arrangement (Certificates 1-61,752 in 141 volumes).
Certificates for 1910 are generally arranged by Surname and then Given Name(s). The certificates were then numbered.
Certificates beginning with 1911 were arranged by year, month, then county. The arrangement below that appears to vary: Bexar county certificates appear to be generally in reverse alphabetical order by surname; some other counties appear to be in proper alphabetical order, while others appear to be in random order.
Beginning with 1911 and continuing at least through 1976, the certificates were bound in volumes by year and numbered with a repeating sequence of numbers for each year.
Standard forms for death certificates and report of death were filled out by a county clerk, mortician or medical professional, who talked to the informant. The certificates were filed with county clerks or local registrars, who forwarded the information to the Texas Department of Health, now known as the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Information pertaining to death is reliable; including cause of death, name of the attending physician or medical professional, name and address of the funeral home used, and the exact date and place of burial. The other information is usually provided by the informant (often a family member). The reliability of this information depends upon the following:
- Length of time since the event. Birth information or age for an adult may not be exact.
- If the informant knew the answers to the questions. An adult child or sibling of the deceased was more likely to know the answers. Women tended to learn and remember family information more often than men.
- The informant’s interest in giving accurate information. Some information may have been colored by family secrets, etc.
- Emotional state of the informant. Emotions generated by death may have degraded the quality of the information.
Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. They were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.
For a list of film numbers currently published in the Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976 (New Images) collection, select the Browse.
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.
- Bureau of Vital Statistics. Texas Deaths Records. State Registrar Office, Austin, Texas.
Important genealogical facts found in death entries:
- Date of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the burial and birth dates and places.
- Place of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the cemetery name where buried, as well as the birthplace (the state and sometimes town or county).
- Name of the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the name of the spouse and parents, often with maiden surnames of women. The informant, who is often a child or other family member, is also named.
- Starting around 1911, the records increasingly note the names of the spouse and parents.
- Starting around 1911, they;indicate whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death.
- Starting around 1911, records give the occupation of the deceased and may identify the employer.
How to Use the Records
To begin your search you will need to know the following:
- The place where the death occurred
- The name of the person at the time of death
- The death date
Search the Collection
Fill in the "Search Collection" area with the requested information and click on the "SEARCH" box. The search feature will return a list of possible matches to your supplied information.
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. It may be helpful to keep a list of the names, certificate numbers, and DGS Film number of individuals with the same last name. That way you can easily return to them if you need to.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.
The following examples show ways you can use the 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
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The name of the cemetery may be 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.
- Others with the same last name could be children, siblings, parents, or other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- 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.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for an index. Local historical and genealogical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
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.
There is also more information about Texas Vital Records at the FamilySearch Research Wiki here.
Related Wiki Articles
- Texas Death Records, 1977-1986 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Texas Death Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Texas Vital Records
Contributions to This Article
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.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JD8G-KRQ: accessed 4 April 2012), Emma Tomlinson, death 29 Sept 1919, San Angelo, Tom Green, Texas; citing Bureau of Vital Statistics. Texas Deaths Records. State Registrar Office, Austin, Texas.
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