When you are trying to find official records of birth and death, be careful with fake websites designed to just take your money. The best course of action is to find the direct state website. Double check that the ending of the website is .gov. That’s the only way to know for sure that the site is safe. Don’t forget you can also go to the state sites in person to find these records – usually at the State Department of Health locations.
* Family Bible – Take a search in your grandparents’ house for a big, thick family bible. If they’re gone, take a look online for the many abandoned family bibles. Genealogists often collect old bibles and then transcribe the information and store it online.
* Online State Records – Each state has an online site that enables you to order and pay for a birth certificate or death certificate. You’ll have to prove who you are with your driver’s license, and you should be a direct decedent of the person you’re seeking records for.
* CDC – They have a good list of links for each state that have been obtained from the U.S. State Department. Click on the state you want the information from if you know. That way you can conduct an online search.
Link – https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/index.htm
* State Department of Health – Each state has a Department of Health where most vital records are stored. You can usually walk in and if you can prove a connection to the person you’re looking for the record for, they may give you an uncertified copy depending upon the dates.
* Obituaries – One way to find death records is to conduct an online search for your relative’s obituary. This can lead to the right information such as the date of death, which can then help you find the death certificate.
* Social Security Death Index – If the person you’re looking for lived during the time of being able to collect social security, you may be able to find death records via the social security death index. This is not comprehensive, because only people who could collect social security will be in it.
Link – https://www.ssa.gov/dataexchange/request_dmf.html
* Cemetery Records – This is another way to find out information about your relative’s death, which can also lead to information that you can use to get a proper death certificate.
Link – https://www.findagrave.com
The information you may need to find records are: Full name, spouse’s name, date (death, marriage, birth), place (death, marriage, birth), parents’ names, birthplace, dates, marital status, surviving relatives, cause of death, residence, occupation, place of burial, military service, name of funeral home, plus any other important names, addresses, and relationship information that you can find. The more information you can piece together, the better.
Some things to keep in mind is that if you’re looking at images of historical documents, they often used calligraphy, which can make it hard to decipher the words. Plus, spelling was not standard until about 200 years ago. Before that, people spelled things how they sounded and it was not considered a problem if everyone spelled things differently.