California Death Index 1940-1997 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, Death Index, 1940-1997 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
California, United States
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type Death Index
Collection years 1940-1997
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of a name index of death records for the years 1940 to 1997. The index was created by the California Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Section in Sacramento.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The index includes the following:

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Father's last name
  • Mother's maiden name

How Do I Search The Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The date of death.
  • The place of death.
  • The names of parents or spouse.

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information in the list to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several persons in the list before you find your ancestor.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:

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

What Do I Do Now?

When you have located your ancestor’s death index 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 death date to obtain a death certificate.
  • 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, marriage, land,and other records.
  • Use Occupations to find military records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family member’s records 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 California, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the California Archives and Libraries.

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:

"California, Death Index, 1940-1997." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.}

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 California, Death Index, 1940-1997.


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.