GuidedResearch:Why Can't I Find the Record - London Deaths

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London Deaths - Why can't I find a record?

This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find death information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the death section of the London Guided Research page.

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Additional records

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Mandatory death registration started in 1837. However, universal compliance did not occur until 1874. Before 1837, deaths and burials can be found in church records (mainly the Church of England). The oldest burial records date to 1538.

Additional Databases and Online Resources





Substitute records

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Additional Records with Death Information

Substitute records can contain information about more than one event, and are used when records for an event are not available. Because the substitute records may not be created at the time of the event, it may contain incorrect information. Search for as many substitute records as possible to corroborate information found in substitute records to help improve accuracy.

Use these substitute records to locate birth information about your ancestor:
Wiki Page
FamilySearch(FS) Collections
Why to search the records
Death Registration
See Wiki page
Death certificates list the deceased's death date and place, gender, age, occupation, and their occupation (or parent's name if a child).
Probate Records
See Wiki page
Wills and probate list death date and place.
Cemetery Records
See Wiki page
Monumental or tombstone inscriptions and records created when a deceased individual was interred in a cemetery.
Newspapers
See Wiki page
May contain death notices and obituaries.
Military Records
See Wiki page
Military records, after 1707, may include any death information for servicemen who died in service.
Nonconformist Records
See Wiki page
Society of Friends (Quakers) and other nonconformist churches, such as the Presbyterian Church, also have death and burial parish registers.





Improve searching

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Tips for finding deaths

Successfully finding death records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:

  • Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
  • Search given name. Search by given name (leave out the last name) with the approximate date of birth or death.
  • Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate birth date or parent's names if known.
  • Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
  • Search county. Search using the county name only instead of by parish.





Why the record may not exist

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Known Record Gaps

Records Start
Mandatory death registration started in 1837. However, universal compliance did not occur until 1874. Before 1837, deaths and burials can be found in church records (mainly the Church of England). Although the oldest burial records date to 1538, many parish churches did not start recording burials until the 1600s.

Records Published

Records Destroyed
Some church records may have been lost, destroyed, or damaged (especially in the 1500s and early 1600s). More specific information is not known. Civil registration records are generally complete.