FamilySearch’s Top 10 Most Searched Record Collections: Collection 8—Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976

March 5, 2015  - by 
Texas Death Records

With more than 4.5 million death records, the Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976 record collection is a gold mine of information for anyone searching for their Texas ancestors in the 1900s. This record collection is # 8 in our list of the top 10 most searched record collections on FamilySearch.org and is a valuable source of when and where your ancestor died in Texas.

The collection consists of images of Texas statewide death certificates–including delayed certificates, foreign deaths, and probate obituaries–from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin.

Death certificates and reports of death were filled out by a county clerk, mortician or medical professional, who talked to the person reporting the death. The certificates were filed with county clerks or local registrars, who forwarded the information to the Texas Department of Health, now known as the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Information pertaining to the death of an individual generally included:

  • Cause of death.
  • Name of the attending physician or medical professional.
  • Name and address of the funeral home used.
  • The exact date and place of burial.
  • Other information as provided by the informant.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Death Records

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the cemetery may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Others with the same last name could be children, siblings, parents, or other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

If you can’t find the death record you are looking for by doing a general search from the FamilySearch homepage search feature, look in the Historical Records Collection for Texas records. Review each death record collection (there are 4 of them) individually to see if you can find the person you are looking for. If that doesn’t work and you know that your person died in Texas, try a search using the Family History Library Catalog. There may be record collections still on film in the library that have not yet been added to the FamilySearch website.

Visit the FamilySearch Wiki to learn more about what Texas Death Records from 1890-1976 has to offer.

 

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  1. My grandfather’s brother Harold C. McElree, born July 1, 1897, died November 11, 1962. He died in Dallas County, and is buried in Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Tx. I have a photo of his headstone in the family burial plot. I need to attain a copy of his death certificate to provide to the State of Texas Comptroller regarding $4,000 of mineral royalties that are there for me to be awarded as a direct bllod line relative. Harold C McElree was the older brother of John P McElree who was my grandfather, and passed away in 1982.