There are many reasons why you would want to find information on a dead relative. Some reasons include building a family tree, finding a grave and for genealogy purposes. Where can you find the information on someone who died?
a) Church records
There are different types of records that are available depending on a specific church. The denomination and theology of a particular church determine the kind of records you can find. There are marriages, baptisms, admissions and removals, confirmations, communion, burial, church censuses, church school lists and financial records among others. The records may date back to when the particular church was started. A marriage record may give information like names of the bride and groom, marriage date, residence, and age. A burial record has information about the name of the deceased, age at death, marital status, and burial date.
How can you access the records? You may find the records at the original church, church archives, public libraries, and historical and genealogical societies. For you to know the church the dead relative attended, you need to know where they lived and their denomination. Searching an obituary may mention the particular church the deceased attended, and the country of origin may give a clue of the denomination of the person.
b) Death records
They are kept in the state that a person dies. Most states have records dating back to 1900s and some 1860s. The records contain burial permits, death certificates, and church records. It should be the first place to check as it is the most recent record, and it may give information of deceased with no marriage or birth records. The information in the records includes -:
• Date and place of birth
• Race and age
• Cause of death
• Name of a spouse/parent
• Social security number
• Burial information
• Last known residence
• Length of residency in the state
• Informant’s name
Death certificates – it is a secondary source of information as details are given by the informant. It is filed in the state where the deceased relative was buried and where they died. It contains witnesses at the time of death, details about the length of illness, marital status, the name of surviving spouse, residence and religious affiliation among others.
Where can you get the death records? You can access the church’s death and burial records, obituaries, city and county civil registries, family bibles and family history library.
c) Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
This is a database that contains details of the individuals who died between 1962 and present. The individuals in the index are whose death was reported to the Social Security Administrator. The information that you can find includes the deceased’s full names, birth and death dates, social security number, last known residence and residence where the death benefit was sent. You can apply to get additional information that may include the SSN application form of the deceased. The form has the father and mother’s name of the dead relative, application date, and their signature.
d) National archives
It contains a lot of records that are gathered from state departments. The historical documents include immigration records, census records, military records, major courts of law and Native American records.
e) Other sources of Information
Find a grave is a database with information of millions of cemetery and graves records. You need to know the first and last name of the deceased and the approximate year of death and birth.
Online genealogy sites- they give comprehensive database on records such as death, church, cemetery, and burial.
Why find information on my dead relative?
A person may find information about unclaimed money and property and help beneficiaries and heirs to claim the same. Establishing and interpreting the cause of death may help you know the health history of your family. It is important to note that not everyone can access the medical records of a deceased. You can get information on other relatives that one never knew about, and get the chance to meet them.
Retrieving information on a dead family member whether to protect identity theft, pay their debt, claim property or to help in tracking other relatives, is a task that people should embrace. One gets to know the history of their generation, for example, their denomination. Technology has made the task even much easier for genealogical researchers.