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Death Certificates

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Graham Report 14 Apr 2014 10:15

Do you think it is worth buying death certificates?

Death certificates don't usually tell you who the deceased was related to. So, in that respect, they don't help you build up your family tree. But a death certificate does tell you when, where and how a person died. If you're researching one particular individual, then don't you need to know those things to get a complete picture?

How important is it to know what a death certificate can tell you? Are death certificates worth spending £9.25 on?


Reggie Report 14 Apr 2014 10:32

The informant is usually a relative. And his/her details may prove informative.

The cert also records the deceased's address, which is not necessarily where he/she died

If the deceased was a married woman, her husband is usually named, but, if you've done your research, you probably have that info anyway - although you may be unsure, in which case, the cert will clarify

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make (if any) - your statements are contradictory............

As with all things, it depends on the individual circumstances, and one's requirements

I recently purchased a copy of my mother's death cert which told me a lot I didn't know.

She died when I was 7, and my father re-married to a woman who would not allow any mention of my mother, so the cert was the only means I had of getting info


KathleenBell Report 14 Apr 2014 10:56

I find that causes of death are fascinating. It is amazing how many ailments in our family today seem to have been in the family for 150 years. You can see which side of the family things have been passed down from.

In any case - at least for my direct line of ancestors - I try to get birth, marriage and death certificates.

I'm sure everyone is different and it depends how much detail you want for your family tree.

Kath. x


Margee Report 14 Apr 2014 11:21

I was disappointed when I purchased gt. grandfather's death certificate. (My avatar Thomas Turnbull). The death was reported by his farm manager so no mention of wife or any other relative. Although, curiously his widow went on to marry the farm manager.

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 14 Apr 2014 12:49

Yes, I think it is worth buying death certificates.

From one particular death cert, where the informant was a (married) daughter of the deceased, I was finally able to discover who and when the daughter married (previous searches had yielded nothing), and I was thereby able to start on another branch of the tree :-)

From another death cert, of my grandparents' newborn baby, I was able to discover the address they were living when they first married - previously unknown to me, and which I doubt I would have ever found since they didn't stay there long, besides being an area so unconnected with either of them, I never would have searched there.

Causes of death and ailments being passed down the line are as interesting as they are informative - I'm fairly sure what I shall die of :-| Is that a good thing....hmmmmm :-S

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 14 Apr 2014 13:44

I do buy death certificates and as previous posters have said they can help with further research.

Way back, I bought one believing it to be my 3xGGrandfather and was disappointed that it was for a child. However it turned out that the person registering the death of his Grandson was my 3xGGrandfather! I wouldn't have known anything about the child as he was born and died between censuses.

A few years ago I had to provide details of causes of death of my paternal line when having Genetic testing and the Geneticist was most impressed I could go back to 1837. Apparently most people struggle back past their own parents.



Graham Report 14 Apr 2014 13:52

The cause of death can certainly tell you something about a person. You can see that certain people might have been ill for some time. Other people might have been involved in employment where there was a certain level of risk.


DazedConfused Report 14 Apr 2014 14:06

Can be essential if you find 2 men same name, age and area.

One of my g/g/grandfather and a.n.other were born in the same year, lived in the same area and died the same year. The only difference is that the other one died in a railway accident and mine fell down the stairs of a pub!!!

So if I had not ordered both I would never have known exactly when he died.

And then you get the incidences of 3 or 4 people of same name dying over a period of several years. How do you know which is yours?

Death certificates are essential in some instances. :-)


wisechild Report 14 Apr 2014 17:27

We were always led to believe that my g grandfather "did a runner" in about 1890 after my grandmother was born.....significant??? She was the 11th child after all.
My g grandmother was given as a widow when she died in 1897, her sister being the informant.
However I found g grandfather´s death in 1901, with his eldest daughter as informant, so obviously they knew where he was & that their mother wasn´t a widow (probably shown as such to keep face with the neighbours.
From all this info, we were able to trace g grandfather´s grave, which turned out to be just a few yards from that of my g grandmother, so even in death he couldn´t get away from her!!!


bob Report 14 Apr 2014 20:51

One death cert I bought showed the informant as G.H*******d, daughter, who I didn't know was married, which opened up another avenue of research. Also, when I had a heart attack and was asked about family history, I could give the cardiologist cause of death of my male line going back five generations. He was most impressed. Bob

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 14 Apr 2014 20:59

These examples make some interesting reading :-)


Graham Report 15 Apr 2014 09:21

I quite agree Karen. There seems to be some quite convincing arguments in favour of getting death certificates. :-)

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~  **007 1/2**

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~ **007 1/2** Report 26 Apr 2014 10:31

Also, don't forget scottish death certificates are completely different to English ones. They give who the deceased married and their parents (including the mother's maiden name.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 26 Apr 2014 10:52

Absolutely ! One of my grt umpteen grandfathers born in 1798 could never remember how old he was from census to census he would age 5 years and then 12 years and then 15 years
After the last sighting on the 1881 census living with one of his unmarried daughters I took a chance on a death cert which was 3 years out in age but the cert established it was him as the same daughter reg the death , she too wasn't too sure how old he was .

It was surprising how many records there were for his name so pinpointing was a problem at times

I like to cross the T,s and dot the I,s if I can for BMDS