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How to Find a Death Record in Texas

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What do you need to get started?

Genealogy requires a few basic items you should have available as you begin your project. A few sheets of paper or a notebook, a few empty folders, and a pen or pencil. As your research continues, you may also find a tape recorder, camera, and computer to be useful tools, but they certainly are not requirements to get started. Better to get started and add those tools later.

Through the first few steps, you will have collected information from a variety of sources. Individual memories, government documents, personal notes, and many other sources will provide a collection of names, dates, and places. Some of these sources will point in the same direction, but others will conflict with one another. In this stage of your research, you will set about to verify the accuracy of what you have found to this point.

Death records for genealogy and family history researchers

Vital records have been a great help to many genealogy and family history researchers, providing valuable information and clues to an ancestor’s or relative’s death. Presented in this article are links and tips to show you where all the best death record indexes and databases for Texas can be found.

Death certificates, for example contain details about an individuals death, but also include information leading you backwards to earlier records. An date of death and age at death can help establish an approximate date of birth. When used together, birth, marriage, and death records can help establish both time and place for many branches of your family tree.

Information collected in Census Records may help you to find which jurisdiction you will want to look for vital records in. For instance, if you find your ancestor's state of birth and approximate year of birth are reported in the census, you can then contact that local jurisdiction regarding their birth records. Certain census years (1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880) also had mortality schedules (1890-1900 were unfortunately destroyed), so you may find someone's death reported if it occurred in the year leading up to the census.

Texas

texas-death-records

Death registrations in Texas

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.


Texas death records search

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Texas Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Texas Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Vital records certificate

The Vital Statistics Section (VSS) maintains vital records for the state of Texas, including, birth and death certificates, marriage applications, and divorce records.

Vital records, such as birth or death certificates, are legal documents that are used to prove a person's identity. To get a certified copy of a vital record or make changes to the official record, you must be a person qualified to do so and submit a completed application. A completed application includes acceptable identification, the correct fees, and, in some cases, supporting documentation.

You could also contact your local government and ask for death certificates. Some counties like Tarrant County offer the service which you could find on their website.

Census Records

As is often the case in family history research, you'll find it easiest to step backwards through time when researching one or more family members in the census. Since Federal privacy laws restrict the U.S. Census from being viewed for 72 years after the original census date, the 1930 Census is the most recent U.S. Census available for research. The 1940 Census schedules won't be released for public inspection until April 2012, so you've got plenty of time to become a census expert.

Once you have some of this basic information, you'll be ready to begin. The procedure for conducting your search is basically the same online or offline, the big difference being the time required to obtain results using microfilm vs. the Internet. Keep in mind, many libraries, regional archives, and family history centers have online access to the U.S. Census, so even if you don't have a subscription of your own, you can benefit from understanding how to best use your time conducting research.

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