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 these Records Tell Me?

The certificates ususally include:

  • 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 usually includes:

  • 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?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual
  • The date of the event or the name of a parent or spouse

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.

  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.


For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the information to locate funeral home, obituary or cemetery record.
  • Use the information to find other records such as birth, christening, marriage, census, land and probate records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

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

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Alabama, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog .

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 2017. 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.


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