Death certificates aid in genealogical research

Example of an Alabama death certificate - File photo
Example of an Alabama death certificate - File photo

Many family history clues can be derived from death records. Perhaps we may already know where and when our ancestor died, but it is still worth the effort to order the record or to look it up online. One of my favorite websites is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons have a plethora of genealogical information on the web as well as numerous records located at their Family History Centers across the country.

In addition to the death date and the death location, the birth date and the place of birth will probably be listed on the death certificate. The spouse’s maiden name and the names of parents may also be shown. The certificate will usually at least list the next of kin. The cause of death may be an invaluable piece of data in learning more about our ancestor and possibly more about our own health as well.

The burial place and the funeral home will be found on the death certificate. Military information can often times be gleaned from the record; the military branch or unit may be listed and that will provide further research avenues for you in searching certain military records for information about your ancestor.

Marriage certificates, birth certificates, tombstones, and funeral home records all can provide needed information about your ancestor, but just remember not to overlook the death certificates in your research. The precious clues found in death records just may lead to the tearing down of those genealogy brick walls.

Article by Melissa Parker

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