Strategy: Finding Death Information
Finding Kentucky Death Records
Kentucky was created in 1792 from Virginia and Indian lands. County governments sporadically recorded deaths in Kentucky from 1852 to 1910. Deaths were recorded by four cities 1866–1898. Statewide registration of deaths began in 1911.
When did the death occur?
- Deaths 1911 to present
- Deaths 1852 to 1910
- Deaths 1851 or earlier
- Death year unknown
Index and Online Records
- 1852-1953 Kentucky, Death Records at Ancestry.com - ($), incomplete for some counties
- 1843-1970 Kentucky, Deaths and Burials, 1843-1970 at FamilySearch - free
- 1911-1955 Kentucky, Death Records, 1911-1955 at FamilySearch - free
- 1911-1986 Kentucky Death Index for 1911-1986 on the University of Kentucky website - free
- 1911-2000 Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000 at Ancestry.com - ($)
- 1954-present Social Security Death Index at FamilySearch - free; nationwide death index
If you do not have access to Ancestry.com check with your local Family History Center which might have a subscription.
Microfilm Copy of Original Records
These records are also available on microfilm and can be ordered into a Family History Center. They are cataloged as Vital records in the pertinent county in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search, for example, Kentucky, Butler - Vital records.
Ordering Certificates - 1911 to the Present
You can order a copy of the death certificate from the Kentucky Department for Public Health for a fee of $6.00. Visit their website to obtain contact information.
1700s to 1851
No official death records were kept by Kentucky state or county governments during this period. To find death information for persons who died during these years, try these various alternative record types:
|Search first||Then search|
|Vital Records, Cemeteries, Obituaries, Probate Records||Military Records, Church Records, Bible Records, Land and Property, Tax Records|
Many death records are little known and quite obscure. Be sure to look for mortuary records, burial permits, transit records, funeral programs, newspapers, memorials, and grave purchases in addition to death certificates or other formal records.
If you do not find the person you are looking for, try various alternative records:
|Search first||Then search|
|Vital Records, Cemeteries, Obituaries, Probate Records, Funeral Homes||Military Records, Church Records, Bible Records, Land and Property, Tax Records|
- United States Record Selection Table
- United States, How to Find Death Records
- United States Vital Records
- United States Death Records
- Summary of Death Records in the United States by State
- Deaths and Burials Vital Record Index Collections (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Funeral Cards – A Little Used Resource
- U.S. Vital Records Overview
- Locating United States Vital Records
- United States, How to Use Death Records