Texas, Death Index, 1964-1998 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Texas Death Index, 1964-1998 .
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of a name index to Texas statewide death certificates for 4 million people who died since between 1964 and 1998.
Standard forms for death certificates and report of death were filled out by a county clerk, mortician or medical professional, who talked to the informant. The certificates were filed with county clerks or local registrars, who forwarded the information to the Texas Department of Health, now known as the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas has recorded deaths from 1903 to the present, plus about 250 registrations from the 1890s-1939 and nearly 2,000 delayed registrations of death from 1890s-1990, as reported from obituaries and probate records.
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.
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. The other information is usually provided by the informant (often a family member).
Information in the index:
- Name of deceased
- Death date
- Death place
- Marital status
Important genealogical facts in death entries:
- Date of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the burial and birth dates and places.
- Place of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the cemetery name where buried, as well as the birthplace (the state and sometimes town or county).
- Name of the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the name of the spouse and parents, often with maiden surnames of women. The informant, who is often a child or other family member, is also named.
- Starting around 1911, the records increasingly note the names of the spouse and parents
- Starting around 1911, indicate whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death
- Starting around 1911, give the occupation of the deceased and may identify the employer
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The name of the person at the time of death
- The place where the death occurred
- The approximate death date
Search the Collection
To search the collection by name:
Fill in the requested information in the boxes on 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 look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. 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 article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
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. For example:
- 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.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- 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.
- The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
The reliability of this information depends upon several things:
- Length of time since the event. Birth information or age for an adult may not be exact.
- If the informant knew the answers to the questions. An adult child or sibling of the deceased was more likely to know the answers. Women tended to learn and remember family information more often than men.
- The informant’s interest in giving accurate information. Some information may have been colored by family secrets, etc.
- Emotional state of the informant. Emotions generated by death may have degraded the quality of the information.
What If I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Texas, Death Records items in the FamilySearch Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Texas Archives and Libraries. For additional information about this state see the wiki article Texas Genealogy.|
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Related Wiki Articles
How You Can Contribute
| 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.
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.
- "Texas, Death Index, 1964-1998." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Department of State Health Services, Austin.
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 Texas, Death Index, 1964-1998.|