- How to use death certificates in family tree research - Family Tree.
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Certain occupations, such as railroad workers, may have employment, pension or other occupational records available. Obituaries, tombstones and, occasionally, death certificates are a good place to look if you suspect that your ancestor may have served in the military. They will often list the military branch and unit, and possibly information on rank and the years in which your ancestor served.
Records and Authentications
With these details, you can then look for further information about your ancestor in military records. An important clue for anyone compiling a medical family history, the cause of death can often be found listed on a death certificate. If you can't find it there, then the funeral home if still in existence may be able to provide you with further information. As you go back in time, however, you'll begin to find interesting causes of death, such as "bad blood" which often meant syphilis and "dropsy," meaning edema or swelling. You may also find clues to newsworthy deaths such as occupational accidents, fires or surgical mishaps, that could lead to additional records.
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Death records also offer information that may lead to further research avenues. A death certificate, for example, may list the burial place and the funeral home — leading to a search in cemetery or funeral home records.
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An obituary or funeral notice may mention a church where the funeral service is being held, another source for further research. Since about , most death certificates in the United States list the deceased's Social Security number, which makes it easy to request a copy of the original application SS-5 for a Social Security card, full of genealogical details. Share Flipboard Email. Continue Reading.
5 Types of Genealogical Info Found on a Death Certificate
An official death certificate is a legal copy of a person's death record. One important difference of this version as opposed to the unofficial copy is that it will often include the cause of death.
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In most US states this is often considered sensitive information and is often only granted to members of the family along with their descendants. The official copy can contain the same information as the unofficial copy along with who reported the death, what an autopsy has revealed if one was done , and time of death. It can also state if the deceased was a veteran along with their social security number. An official death certificate is most often an exact copy of the original that is on file, printed on official government letterhead with the governing body's embossed seal or signed by an officiating person.
These are very helpful to someone who is trying to keep track of ancestral medical information, since a lot of diseases and conditions can be hereditary. Obtaining an unofficial copy of a death certificate commonly involves a small fee. An official copy will normally require a slightly higher fee, along with proof that the requester is a descendant of the individual on the death record.
Certified Copy of a Death Certificate
This can be done through a copy of a valid photo ID along with signed official request forms, depending on the governing body that holds the official record. From Gramps - Free Genealogy Software. Jump to: navigation , search. Category : Sources. Navigation menu Personal tools Log in Request account.