Difference between revisions of "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates (FamilySearch Historical Records)"

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{{FamilySearch_Collection
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{{breadcrumb
|CID=CID1320976
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| link1=[[United States Genealogy|United States]]
|title=Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates,1803-1915
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| link2=[[Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy|Pennsylvania]]
|location=United States}}<br>
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| link3=
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| link4=
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| link5=[[Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania Genealogy|Philadelphia County]]
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}}
  
<br>
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{{US State HR Infobox
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|CID=CID1320976
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|title=Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915
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|location=Pennsylvania
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| LOC_01 = Pennsylvania
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| LOC_02 = Philadelphia
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| LOC_02_type = County
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| LOC_03 =  Philadelphia
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| loc_map =US Locator Map Pennsylvania Philadelphia.PNG
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| state_loc_map = US Locator Pennsylvania.png
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| State_flag =  Pennsylvania flag.png 
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| record_type = Death
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| start_year = 1803
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| end_year = 1915
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| FS_URL_01 = [[Pennsylvania Genealogy]]
 +
| FS_URL_02 = [[Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania Genealogy]]
 +
| FS_URL_03 = [[Pennsylvania Vital Records]]
 +
| FS_URL_04 = [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=188272&query=%2Bplace%3A%22United%20States%2C%20Pennsylvania%2C%20Philadelphia%22%20%2Bkeywords%3Adeath FamilySearch Library Catalog]
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| FS_URL_05 =
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| FS_URL_06 =
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| FS_URL_07 = 
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| FS_URL_08 = 
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| FS_URL_09 = 
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| FS_URL_10 = 
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| RW_URL_01 = [http://recordsproject.com/death/pennsylvania.asp Pennsylvania Death Certificates]
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| RW_URL_02 = [http://www.deathindexes.com/pennsylvania/index.html Online Pennsylvania Death Records, Indexes &amp; Obituaries]
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| RW_URL_03 = 
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| RW_URL_04 = 
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| RW_URL_05 = 
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| custodian = 
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}}
  
== Record Description ==
+
== What is in the Collection? ==
  
 
The format of the records varies:  
 
The format of the records varies:  
Line 20: Line 53:
 
Be aware that not every name in this collection is the name of someone who died. Some of the hospital registers provide date of discharge of living patients and those names are mingled in with the names of those who died.  
 
Be aware that not every name in this collection is the name of someone who died. Some of the hospital registers provide date of discharge of living patients and those names are mingled in with the names of those who died.  
  
By Act of April 1, 1803, Philadelphia established its Board of Health, which began to record deaths and burials. In 1860 the city passed a law requiring that all births, marriages, and deaths within the city be recorded in a systematic way. The board became the Bureau of Health in 1899 and was placed under the Department of Public Health in 1903. In accordance with a new state law, the bureau began sending copies of death records to the state in 1906. The various collections cover those buried in the city of Philadelphia, including some out-of-city deaths. The same individual may be found in more than one collection.&nbsp;
+
By Act of April 1, 1803, Philadelphia established its Board of Health, which began to record deaths and burials. In 1860 the city passed a law requiring that all births, marriages, and deaths within the city be recorded in a systematic way. The board became the Bureau of Health in 1899 and was placed under the Department of Public Health in 1903. In accordance with a new state law, the bureau began sending copies of death records to the state in 1906. The various collections cover those buried in the city of Philadelphia, including some out-of-city deaths. The same individual may be found in more than one collection.  
  
Original images for the Philadelphia City Death Certificates are available on Historical Records (free) and also through the Philadelphia City Archives (fee).&nbsp;
+
Original images for the Philadelphia City Death Certificates are available on Historical Records (free) and also through the Philadelphia City Archives (fee).  
  
 
Photocopies of Philadelphia death records 1803-1915, are available by writing to:  
 
Photocopies of Philadelphia death records 1803-1915, are available by writing to:  
 +
*Philadelphia City Archives, 3101 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
 +
*Enclose $10.00 payment, check or money order, payable to CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, for each death record photocopy requested.
  
Philadelphia City Archives, 3101 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104&nbsp;
+
With your request include this information, found on the FamilySearch.org web pages for “Philadelphia City Civil Death and Burial Records.”  
 
 
Enclose $10.00 payment, check or money order, payable to CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, for each death record photocopy requested.&nbsp;
 
 
 
With your request include this information, found on the FamilySearch.org web pages for “Philadelphia City Civil Death and Burial Records.”&nbsp;
 
  
 
If the death occurred:  
 
If the death occurred:  
 
+
*1803-June 1860 - Name of Deceased and date of death  
1803-June 1860 - Name of Deceased and date of death&nbsp;
+
*July 1860-June 30, 1890 - Name of Deceased, date of death and cemetery name, if known  
 
+
*July 1890–1915 – Name of deceased, date of death, and certificate number (cn number)  
July 1860-June 30, 1890 - Name of Deceased, date of death and cemetery name, if known  
 
 
 
July 1890–1915 – Name of deceased, date of death, and certificate number (cn number)  
 
  
 
You can access Pennsylvania death records, if available, prior to 1906 through the courthouse in the county where the person died. A list of courthouses is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Vital Records Web site. Cemetery and church records are more likely sources to be available for 18th and 19th century deaths and burials.  
 
You can access Pennsylvania death records, if available, prior to 1906 through the courthouse in the county where the person died. A list of courthouses is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Vital Records Web site. Cemetery and church records are more likely sources to be available for 18th and 19th century deaths and burials.  
 
For a list of film numbers currently published in this collection, select the [https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//api.familysearch.org/records/collection/1320976/waypoints Browse].
 
 
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.
 
  
 
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.  
 
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.  
  
Philadelphia has recorded deaths since 1803.&nbsp;
+
Philadelphia has recorded deaths since 1803.
 
 
=== Citation for This Collection  ===
 
  
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.  
+
== What Can these Records Tell Me? ==
 
+
The '''information varies by record'''.  
{{Collection citation
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{| style="width:75%; vertical-align:top;"
| text=<!--bibdescbegin-->Bureau of Health. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City death certificates. Department of Records, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.<!--bibdescend--> }}
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
 
+
An '''Undertaker's Certificate''' included:  
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Burial records, 1807–1840 (Archival nos. Ph29A:1-26). Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
 
 
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Death records, 1834–1860. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
 
 
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Board of Health. Death registers, 1860–1903 (Archival no. 76.21). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
 
 
*Philadelphia General Hospital (Pennsylvania). Death records, 1866–1902 (Archival nos. 35.158, 65.60, 65.61). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
 
 
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Inspectors of the jail and penitentiary house. Death register, 1819–1914 (Archival no. 38.74). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
 
 
*City Hospital (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). City Hospital Register, 1840-1896 (Archival nos. 37.17, 76.29). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
 
 
[[Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)#Citation_Example_for_a_Record_Found_in_This_Collection|Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.]]
 
 
 
== Record Content  ==
 
 
 
[[Image:Philadelphia Death Record.jpg|thumb|center|Philadelphia Death Record.jpg]]
 
 
 
Important genealogical information varies by record:
 
 
 
City of Philadelphia Death Returns by Physician included the following:
 
 
 
*Full name and age of deceased
 
*Age, gender, race and marital status of deceased
 
*Date of death
 
*Cause of death
 
 
 
An Undertaker's Certificate attached to the Physician's Return added the following information:  
 
  
 
*Occupation of deceased  
 
*Occupation of deceased  
Line 93: Line 87:
 
*Date and place of burial  
 
*Date and place of burial  
 
*Name and address of undertaker
 
*Name and address of undertaker
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Death certificates, Bureau of Health, 1904–1915  
+
'''Death certificates''', Bureau of Health, 1904–1915  
  
 
*Date and place of burial  
 
*Date and place of burial  
Line 105: Line 99:
 
*Ethnic group  
 
*Ethnic group  
 
*Former residence of the deceased
 
*Former residence of the deceased
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Death registers, Board of Health, 1860–1903  
+
'''Death registers''', Board of Health, 1860–1903  
  
 
*Death and burial dates  
 
*Death and burial dates  
Line 116: Line 110:
 
*Race  
 
*Race  
 
*Cause of death
 
*Cause of death
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Death records, Department of Public Health, 1834–1860  
+
'''Death records''', Dept of Public Health, 1834–1860  
  
 
*Death date  
 
*Death date  
 
*Death place  
 
*Death place  
 
*Name and age of deceased and attending physician
 
*Name and age of deceased and attending physician
 +
|} 
  
<br> Registration of deaths, Board of Health, 1803–1903  
+
{| style="width:75%; vertical-align:top;"
 +
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
 +
'''Registration of deaths''', Board of Health, 1803–1903  
  
 
*Death and burial dates  
 
*Death and burial dates  
Line 133: Line 130:
 
*Residence of deceased  
 
*Residence of deceased  
 
*Cause of death
 
*Cause of death
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Burial Records, Department of Public Health, 1807–1840  
+
'''Burial Records''', Dept of Public Health, 1807–1840  
  
 
*Death date  
 
*Death date  
 
*Burial place  
 
*Burial place  
 
*Name and age of deceased
 
*Name and age of deceased
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Death records, general hospital, 1866–1902, death registers  
+
'''Death records''', general hospital, 1866–1902, death registers  
  
 
*Name and age of deceased  
 
*Name and age of deceased  
Line 147: Line 144:
 
*Country of birth  
 
*Country of birth  
 
*Cause of death
 
*Cause of death
 
+
|style=" vertical-align:top; width:25%;"|
Death records, general hospital, 1866–1902, death certificates  
+
'''Death records''', general hospital, 1866–1902, death certificates  
  
 
*Name of deceased  
 
*Name of deceased  
Line 155: Line 152:
 
*Death date  
 
*Death date  
 
*Cause of death
 
*Cause of death
 +
|} 
  
Death registers, prison, 1819–1914  
+
'''Death registers''', prison, 1819–1914  
  
 
*Name and age of deceased  
 
*Name and age of deceased  
Line 163: Line 161:
 
*Cause of death
 
*Cause of death
  
== How to Use the Record ==
+
== Collection Content ==
 +
=== Sample Image ===
  
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to deaths make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.  
+
<gallery>
 +
Image:Philadelphia Death Record.jpg|Death Record
 +
</gallery>
  
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:  
+
== How Do I Search the Collection?  ==
 +
You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:
 +
*The name of your ancestor
 +
*At least one other piece of information
  
*The place where the death occurred.  
+
=== Search the Index ===
*The name of the person at the time of death.
+
Search by name by visiting the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1320976 Collection Page].  
*The approximate death date.
+
#Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
 +
#Click '''Search''' to show possible matches
  
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestor in the death records. Compare the information in the death record to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
+
=== View the Images ===
 +
View images in this collection by visiting the [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https://familysearch.org/recapi/sord/collection/1320976/waypoints Browse Page].
 +
# Select '''Film Number (Digital Folder Number)'''
  
When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
+
=== How Do I Analyze the Results? ===
 +
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.
  
*Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
 
*Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
 
*Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
 
*Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
 
*Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
 
*The name of the officiator is 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.
 
*Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
 
*Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 
*When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
 
  
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
+
For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article [[FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks]].
  
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.  
+
{{Tip|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/1320976 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City death certificates, 1803-1915]. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.}}
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.  
 
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 
  
Keep in mind:
 
  
*The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
+
==What Do I Do Next?==
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.  
+
Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.
*There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
 
  
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: [[United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)|United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
+
=== I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now? ===
 +
*Use the information to locate funeral home, obituary or cemetery record.
 +
*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.
 +
*Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
 +
*[[Pennsylvania Church Records|Church Records]] often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.
  
<br>
+
=== I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now? === 
 +
*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.
 +
*Remember that sometimes individuals went by [http://usgenweb.org/research/nicknames.shtml nicknames] or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for [http://genealogy.about.com/od/first_names/fl/nickname-given-name-equivalents.htm these names] as well. 
 +
*Search the indexes and records of [[Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy]].
 +
*Search in the [[Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries]].
 +
*Search in the [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=188272&query=%2Bplace%3A%22United%20States%2C%20Pennsylvania%2C%20Philadelphia%22%20%2Bkeywords%3Adeath FamilySearch Library Catalog]
  
 
== Known Issues with This Collection<br>  ==
 
== Known Issues with This Collection<br>  ==
Line 208: Line 215:
 
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org support@familysearch.org]. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.  
 
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org support@familysearch.org]. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.  
  
== Related Web Sites  ==
 
  
[http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/death_certificates/14122 Pennsylvania Death Certificates] - $
 
  
[http://www.deathindexes.com/pennsylvania/index.html Online Pennsylvania Death Records, Indexes &amp; Obituaries]
 
  
== Related Wiki Articles  ==
+
== Citing This Collection ==
  
*[[Pennsylvania|Pennsylvania]]
+
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.
*[[Pennsylvania Vital Records]]
 
*[[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]]
 
  
== Contributions to This Article  ==
+
;Collection Citation:
  
{{Contributor invite}}  
+
{{Collection_citation | text="Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915." Database with images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
 +
}}
 +
'''Record Citation''' (or citation for the index entry):<br> {{Record Citation Link
 +
|CID=CID1320976
 +
|title=Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915
 +
}}
 +
'''Image Citation''':<br>
 +
{{Image Citation Link
 +
|CID=CID1320976
 +
|title=Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915
 +
}}
  
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
+
[[Pennsylvania,_Philadelphia_City_Death_Certificates_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)#top|Top of Page]]
  
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
+
== How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki? ==
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
+
{{Contributor invite}}
 +
<br>
  
=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
+
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Burial records, 1807–1840 (Archival nos. Ph29A:1-26). Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
+
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Death records, 1834–1860. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915." &nbsp;database and digital images, ''FamilySearch'' ([https://www.familysearch.org https://.familysearch.org]: accessed 1 April 20110. Ruth Brown, died 21 February 1904; citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 4,001,153; Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.<br>  
+
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Board of Health. Death registers, 1860–1903 (Archival no. 76.21). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 
+
*Philadelphia General Hospital (Pennsylvania). Death records, 1866–1902 (Archival nos. 35.158, 65.60, 65.61). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
[[Category:Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania]]
+
*Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Inspectors of the jail and penitentiary house. Death register, 1819–1914 (Archival no. 38.74). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. <br>
 +
*City Hospital (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). City Hospital Register, 1840-1896 (Archival nos. 37.17, 76.29). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Latest revision as of 15:14, 11 September 2017

United States
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia County
Access the Records
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 .
CID1320976
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Pennsylvania flag.png
Flag of Pennsylvania
US Locator Map Pennsylvania Philadelphia.PNG
Location of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
US Locator Pennsylvania.png
Location of Pennsylvania
Record Description
Record Type Death
Collection years 1803-1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The format of the records varies:

  • Registration of deaths, Board of Health, 1803–1915, exist in four formats: 1) Cemetery returns, 1803–1860, filed alphabetically by cemetery for each year (1803–1824), for each quarter (1825–1847), and for each week (1848–1860); 2) Death returns, 1860–June 30, 1890, filed alphabetically by cemetery name for each week; 3) Death certificates, July 1890–1903, filed by certificate number; 4) Death certificates, arranged by year and then by certificate number within each year.
  • Death registers, Board of Health, 1860–1903, are bound volumes with preprinted pages. The entries are filed chronologically.
  • Death records, Department of Public Health, 1834–1860, are bound volumes. The entries are filed by year and then by month.
  • Burial records, Department of Public Health, 1807–1840, are loose papers filed by death date.
  • Death records, General Hospital, 1866–1902, are bound volumes of preprinted forms and bound volumes of certificates, four to a page. The entries are filed chronologically.
  • Death registers, City Hospital, 1840-1896, are bound volumes with entries filed chronologically.
  • Death registers, Inspectors of the Jail and Penitentiary House, 1819–1914, are bound volumes.

Be aware that not every name in this collection is the name of someone who died. Some of the hospital registers provide date of discharge of living patients and those names are mingled in with the names of those who died.

By Act of April 1, 1803, Philadelphia established its Board of Health, which began to record deaths and burials. In 1860 the city passed a law requiring that all births, marriages, and deaths within the city be recorded in a systematic way. The board became the Bureau of Health in 1899 and was placed under the Department of Public Health in 1903. In accordance with a new state law, the bureau began sending copies of death records to the state in 1906. The various collections cover those buried in the city of Philadelphia, including some out-of-city deaths. The same individual may be found in more than one collection.

Original images for the Philadelphia City Death Certificates are available on Historical Records (free) and also through the Philadelphia City Archives (fee).

Photocopies of Philadelphia death records 1803-1915, are available by writing to:

  • Philadelphia City Archives, 3101 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Enclose $10.00 payment, check or money order, payable to CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, for each death record photocopy requested.

With your request include this information, found on the FamilySearch.org web pages for “Philadelphia City Civil Death and Burial Records.”

If the death occurred:

  • 1803-June 1860 - Name of Deceased and date of death
  • July 1860-June 30, 1890 - Name of Deceased, date of death and cemetery name, if known
  • July 1890–1915 – Name of deceased, date of death, and certificate number (cn number)

You can access Pennsylvania death records, if available, prior to 1906 through the courthouse in the county where the person died. A list of courthouses is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Vital Records Web site. Cemetery and church records are more likely sources to be available for 18th and 19th century deaths and burials.

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.

Philadelphia has recorded deaths since 1803.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

The information varies by record.

An Undertaker's Certificate included:

  • Occupation of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Birthplace of father
  • Birthplace of mother
  • Place of death
  • Date and place of burial
  • Name and address of undertaker

Death certificates, Bureau of Health, 1904–1915

  • Date and place of burial
  • Name, age and gender of deceased
  • Occupation of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Place of death
  • Parents' place of birth
  • Attending physician, and undertaker
  • Ethnic group
  • Former residence of the deceased

Death registers, Board of Health, 1860–1903

  • Death and burial dates
  • Place of death,
  • Place of burial,
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Name of parents if the deceased was a minor
  • Former residence
  • Race
  • Cause of death

Death records, Dept of Public Health, 1834–1860

  • Death date
  • Death place
  • Name and age of deceased and attending physician
 

Registration of deaths, Board of Health, 1803–1903

  • Death and burial dates
  • Name and age of deceased and attending physician
  • Age, gender and race of deceased
  • Names of parents if deceased was a minor
  • Place of death and burial
  • Place of birth
  • Residence of deceased
  • Cause of death

Burial Records, Dept of Public Health, 1807–1840

  • Death date
  • Burial place
  • Name and age of deceased

Death records, general hospital, 1866–1902, death registers

  • Name and age of deceased
  • Death date
  • Color (W for White and B for Black)
  • Country of birth
  • Cause of death

Death records, general hospital, 1866–1902, death certificates

  • Name of deceased
  • Age, gender and marital status of deceased
  • Color (White or Black)
  • Death date
  • Cause of death
 

Death registers, prison, 1819–1914

  • Name and age of deceased
  • Death date
  • Prison where died
  • Cause of death

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • At least one other piece of information

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.

  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Film Number (Digital Folder Number)

How Do I Analyze the Results?

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.


For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.


What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the information to locate funeral home, obituary or cemetery record.
  • 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.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.



Citing This Collection

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
"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.


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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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 Records.

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



  • Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Burial records, 1807–1840 (Archival nos. Ph29A:1-26). Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Department of Public Health. Death records, 1834–1860. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Board of Health. Death registers, 1860–1903 (Archival no. 76.21). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia General Hospital (Pennsylvania). Death records, 1866–1902 (Archival nos. 35.158, 65.60, 65.61). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Inspectors of the jail and penitentiary house. Death register, 1819–1914 (Archival no. 38.74). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • City Hospital (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). City Hospital Register, 1840-1896 (Archival nos. 37.17, 76.29). Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.