How to Find Texas Death Records

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

Texas was created in 1845 as the 28th state of the Union. Some counties began registration of deaths in 1903, but statewide registration began in 1908. Death records are accessible through county clerks or through the state Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1890

Death registrations began officially in 1903 by the county and state. A few stray death registrations and delayed death records were created from 1890s-1990, as reported from obituaries and probate records. These delayed death registrations are grouped with the regular death certificates.

If you cannot find your ancestor's death record before 1903, you may wish to search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

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


Deaths from 1890 thru 1986

The state of Texas began recording deaths officially in 1903, although a few early deaths were recorded beween 1890 and 1903.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information

For deaths that may exist between 1890 and 1986, try the following databases. If you can't find your ancestor in the first link, try all of them.

Texas Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images (FamilySearch)
Try 1st:
1890-1976, FamilySearch.org Free. New index, new images. Dates vary by county. Few deaths before 1903. Click on a linked name and "view image" to view the image.
Try 2nd:
1977-1986, FamilySearch.org Free. Dates vary by county. Click on a linked name and "view image" to view the image.
Texas Death Indexes Only (1903-2000)
If you can't find the death record in the above databases, try the following indexes:

Index, 1903-2000, FamilySearch Free.

Index, 1903-2000, Ancestry.com Ancestry.com. Free at FamilySearch Centers.


Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Can't find your ancestor in the online index?

Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

PART A: You know the exact date of death

If the image was not included in the index entry above, 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 Texas Department of State Health Services
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 search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See a list of restrictions for ordering death records

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

PART B: You don't know the exact date of death

If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
For a fee, the Texas Department of State Health Services will do a search of other years, but may take longer to process the request.

See the list of restrictions for ordering death records


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

Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths after 1986

PART A: You know the exact date of death

With an exact date (from your records), 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 Texas Department of State Health Services
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 search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See list of restrictions for ordering death records

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


PART B: You don't know the exact date of death

Don't want to order the death record? Search other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Restrictions for Obtaining Death Records

Restrictions for persons who died within the last 25 years:
Death certificates for deaths in Texas within the past 25 years are considered protected records. To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 25 years, you must be:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • An immediate family member of the deceased
  • A parent of the deceased
  • Funeral director
  • Anyone who has a legal interest in the certificate

If you do not want to order the death record, you can search other records with death information.
Return to top: Choose another death year


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