Death Certificates Online

Can I Get a Death Certificate Online for Free?

Dealing with the death of a family member is hard enough. The last thing you want to be thinking about is all the tasks that need to be taken care of in the absence your deceased loved one. Death certificates are vital documents required for funeral arrangements, estate settlements, medical benefits, and so much more. You’re probably wondering how many copies you’ll need and where to get them. Read on to find out how to order a death certificate online.

What is a death certificate?

A death certificate is an official, government-issued document which states the cause of death, location of death, time of death, as well as additional personal information about the deceased. As we mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why someone would need a copy of a death certificate. Most often it’s to serve as proof for legal purposes.

The history of death records

Death records have been stored away by most states since the early 1900s. A few states, such as Massachusetts, have been storing death records as early as the 1600s. These days, it is required by federal law for all states to keep death records just be aware that the information included in the record can vary.

What information can be found on a death certificate? 

A death certificate contains important information about the deceased. What’s included on the death certificate varies from state to state, but often includes the following:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth and birthplace
  • Father’s name and birthplace
  • Mother’s name and birthplace
  • Complete or partial Social Security number
  • Veteran’s discharge or claim number
  • Education
  • Marital status and name of surviving spouse (if applicable)
  • Date, place, and time of death
  • Cause of death

Understanding death certificates and death indexes

An official death certificate is usually issued at the time of a person’s death and includes detailed information about the deceased, such as personal information and details of the death. An official death certificate is a stamped document that is normally issued by the funeral home, vital record agencies or government approved online agency such as VitalChek. A death index, also known as Social Security Death Index (SSDI), is a database of records that contains all deaths reported to the Social Security Administration. A death index is more easily accessible as it does not contain personal details of the deceased. Most SSDIs can be found through genealogy websites such as Ancestory.com.

Can I get a death certificate online for free? 

Obtaining a copy of a death certificate online is possible. There are several services such as SearchQuarry that will provide you with death records online. However, a majority of those copies are not official vital records. If you need a copy of a death certificate for reasons such as settlements or benefits, then you must obtain a certified copy. Depending on the state in which the death took place, the process for obtaining an official death certificate can be slightly different. For a list by state, click here. Going directly to a vital record agency is the most convenient and fastest way to obtaining certified copies of death records, as most agencies will provide you with the records the same day. However, if for any reason you are unable to get to an agency, VitalChek is an authorized online service that is able to help get the vital records you need, quickly and securely. 

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