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24 July 2013

Deaths Recorded Where They Died, Not Where They Lived

The civil record of your ancestor's death will be filed where he died, not necessarily where he lived or where he is buried. If your ancestor was travelling at the time of his death, had moved in her later years to live near a child, or was simply getting groceries in the nearest store across the county or state line, that is where the event will be recorded.

If you can't find a death record where they lived, are you certain that is the location where they died as well?


  1. Researchers always need to think outside the box. We may not know why an individual is found in a different location but we always need to be open to searching in other areas. I found an ancestor that died in the early 20th century and was buried two counties away from his home. I have yet to find out why he was in this county or why he was buried there rather than returned to his home for burial. A member of his family came to the county to sign the death certificate so it was possible to travel. It just adds to the mystery of the research.

  2. I am involved in a death certificate indexing project. A few things I've noted:
    Counties that had a charity hospital had numerous deaths of people from surrounding counties. If that hospital was located near the state line, out-of-state patients died there.
    People killed in auto accidents often did not die in the county of their residence. These persons may have even resided in another part of the country.
    Inmates in prisons, insane asylums, etc. died in those institutions.

  3. For the newbies. You also need to remember that the person may not have died in the same location as where their social security checks are mailed to. I have several relatives that lived in small towns and died in a hosptial in a neighboring town. Therefore the death certificate and social security have different locations of death.

  4. And in these days, a person could die while far from home for treatment in a specialized hospital (e.g. regional cancer center, university research hospital, etc).

  5. Dianne July 31, 2013

    How can you have the date of death, yet not find the place, whether in USA or elsewhere.

  6. There are plenty of cemetery records that will have the date of death but not the place.