How to Find North Carolina Death Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png US Vital Records Gotoarrow.png How to Find United States Deaths Gotoarrow.png North Carolina Gotoarrow.png Vital Records Gotoarrow.png North Carolina Deaths

Statewide registration of deaths began in 1913 in North Carolina with general compliance by 1917. Counties have copies of these records.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Choose a time period to search for your ancestor's death record:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1913

Before 1913, no deaths were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

  Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Probate (wills, etc)
Church Records
Bible Records
Return to top: Choose another death year

Deaths from 1913 to the present

The state of North Carolina began recording deaths in 1913.

If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below try searching for death information in other records.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information

For deaths that exist during the time period, try the following databases. Try each link.

North Carolina Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1906-1930 - At Free; dates vary by county; coverage is not stated; click on "View image" to see a copy of the image
Try 2nd:
Choose one of the following:

1908-2004 - use at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center

1908-2004 - use your Ancestry subscription $, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available through your local public library for free
Next try:
Includes Index Only

Try 1st:
1931-1994 - At Free; dates vary by county; coverage is not stated
Can't search the index listed above? Try searching other records for death information.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

If the image was not included in the index entry above, with the person's name, date and place of death, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From County of Death From NC Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a 3-year search of the state index for free May be more expensive than ordering from the county

If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
The North Carolina Department of Health office will do a 3-year search for free (click on the death certificates tab).

Restrictions for persons who died within the last 50 years:
To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 50 years, you must be:

  • The parent, step-parent, or grandparent of the person on the certificate
  • The current spouse of the person on the certificate
  • The child of the person on the certificate
  • The brother or sister of the person on the certificate
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the death record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 50 years have passed from the date of the death.

Death certificates from 1913 to 1975, as well as an index covering 1913 to 1979, are available at the North Carolina State Archives.

Death certificates from 1906 to 1994, as well as an index covering 1906 to 1967, are available on microfilm through the Family History Library: FHL film 1909181 (first of 1,022 films).

If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another death year

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