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Alabama Deaths - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Alabama, Deaths 1908-1974
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Alabama, 
United States
Alabama flag.png
Flag of Alabama
US Locator Alabama.png
Location of Alabama
Record Description
Record Type Death
Collection years 1908-1974
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Alabama Department of Public Health


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection consists of an index to death certificates from the state of Alabama for the years 1908 to 1974.

Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. They were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates. The information pertaining to death is reliable; including cause of death, name of the attending physician or medical professional, name and address of the funeral home used, and the exact date and place of burial. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.

The trend of keeping state-wide death records throughout the United States expanded in the early 20th century after Congress passed a resolution in 1901 asking each state to gather information about births and deaths on a statewide basis. Because Congress did not fund it, it took several more years before it happened in every state. Death certificates were usually filled out by a mortician or medical professional. They filled in the information concerning the death and then obtained personal information on the deceased from an informant, usually a relative. Then, they sent the information to the county, who sent a copy to the state.

The state of Alabama has recorded deaths from 1 January 1908. Be aware that although recording of deaths was mandatory, the state did not achieve 90 percent compliance of death registration until 1925.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Deaths

  • Dates of death and burial
  • Frequently, birth date of the deceased
  • City, county, and state of death
  • Name and location of the cemetery where buried
  • Frequently, the country or state and sometimes the town and county of birth for the deceased
  • Frequently, the country or state and sometimes the town and county of birth for the parents
  • Name of the deceased
  • Married name of spouse
  • Names of parents, often with maiden surname of the mother
  • Name of the informant, who is often a child or other family member
  • Age of the deceased usually in years, months, and days
  • Sex of the deceased
  • Residence or address of the deceased, often including length of residence at that place or in the United States, if foreign-born
  • Whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death
  • Occupation of the deceased

The index

  • Name of deceased
  • Death date and place
  • Last residence
  • Burial date and place
  • Birth date and place
  • Names of parents
  • Name of spouse

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual
  • The date of the event or the name of a parent or spouse

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the information found in the death index to locate funeral home, obituary or cemetery records
  • Use the information to find other records such as birth, christening, marriage, census, land and probate records
  • Use the information to find additional family members

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Alabama.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

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