Alabama Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Alabama, Deaths 1908-1974 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Alabama, United States
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Flag of Alabama
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Location of Alabama
Record Description
Record Type Death Certificate
Collection years 1908-1974
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Alabama Public Health


What is in the Collection

This collection consists is an index to death certificates from the state of Alabama for the years 1908 to 1974.

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. The 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. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.

The trend of keeping state-wide death records throughout the United States expanded in the early 20th century after Congress passed a resolution in 1901 asking each state to gather information about births and deaths on a statewide basis. Because Congress did not fund it, it took several more years before it happened in every state. Death certificates were usually filled out by a mortician or medical professional. They filled in the information concerning the death and then obtained personal information on the deceased from an informant, usually a relative. Then, they sent the information to the county, who sent a copy to the state.

The state of Alabama has recorded deaths from 1 January 1908. Be aware that although recording of deaths was mandatory, the state did not achieve 90 percent compliance of death registration until 1925.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The certificates generally include the following:

  • Dates of death and burial
  • Frequently, birth date of the deceased
  • City, county, and state of death
  • Name and location of the cemetery where buried
  • Frequently, the country or state and sometimes the town and county of birth for the deceased
  • Frequently, the country or state and sometimes the town and county of birth for the parents
  • Name of the deceased
  • Married name of spouse
  • Names of parents, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Name of the informant, who is often a child or other family member
  • Age of the deceased usually in years, months, and days
  • Sex of the deceased
  • Residence or address of the deceased, often including length of residence at that place or in the United States, if foreign-born
  • Whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death
  • Occupation of the deceased

The index generally includes any of the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Death date and place
  • Last residence
  • Burial date and place
  • Birth date and place
  • Names of parents
  • Name of spouse

How do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The place where the death occurred
  • The name of the person at the time of death
  • The approximate death date


Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals 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.

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.

What Do I Do Next

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.
  • The name of the informant may be a relative. This can be helpful in identifying your ancestor.
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.


For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Alabama, Deaths, 1908-1974." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Department of Health, Montgomery.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Alabama, Deaths 1908-1974.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.