How to Find North Carolina Death Records
Statewide registration of deaths began in 1913 in North Carolina with general compliance by 1917. Counties have copies of these records.
Next Step: When did the death occur?
Deaths before 1913
Before 1913, no deaths were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.
|Records that give death information:|
Deaths from 1913 to the present
The state of North Carolina began recording deaths in 1913.
If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below try searching for death information in other records.
STEP ONE: Find Death Information
For deaths that exist during the time period, try the following databases. Try each link.
|North Carolina Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images|
|1906-1930 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; dates vary by county; coverage is not stated; click on "View image" to see a copy of the image. Also available at FindMyPast.com and MyHeritage.com.|
||1908-2004 - At Ancestry.com||($); Free at family history centers.|
||1909-1976 - At Ancestry.com||($); Free at family history centers.|
|Includes Index Only||
|1931-1994 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; dates vary by county; coverage is not stated. Also on FindMyPast.com and MyHeritage.com.|
|1898-1994 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; dates vary by county; coverage is not stated.|
|Can't search the index listed above?||Try searching other records for death information.|
|Can't find your ancestor in the index?||Tips for searching indexes|
|No death record for your ancestor?||Other records with death information|
STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate
If the image was not included in the index entry above, with the person's name, date and place of death, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:
|To Order Death Certificates|
|From County of Death||From NC Dept. of Health State office|
|May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state||County websites can be more difficult to use||Offers a 3-year search of the state index for free||May be more expensive than ordering from the county|
If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
The North Carolina Department of Health office will do a 3-year search for free (click on the death certificates tab).
Restrictions for persons who died within the last 50 years:
To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 50 years, you must be:
- The parent, step-parent, or grandparent of the person on the certificate
- The current spouse of the person on the certificate
- The child of the person on the certificate
- The brother or sister of the person on the certificate
- Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
- NOTE: A copy of the death record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 50 years have passed from the date of the death.
Death certificates from 1913 to 1975, as well as an index covering 1913 to 1979, are available at the North Carolina State Archives.
Death certificates from 1906 to 1994, as well as an index covering 1906 to 1967, are available on microfilm through the Family History Library: FHL film 1909181 (first of 1,022 films).
If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.