Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1962 Death Certificates Now Available Online At The State Archives

In less than 72 hours, volunteers of the Missouri State Archives have managed to index all Missouri death certificates for 1962!  Yep, it's that time again, over 42,000 new documents just became available and are waiting to be researched.  While not receiving the fanfare of last year's release of the 1940 Census, the latest batch of death certificates are now available to the public for research.

To the non-genealogist, the idea of using death certificates in research may seem morbid, but this is (usually) the last record created documenting the life of a relative, aside from an obituary and possibly probate records.

Personally, I've found choosing just a county and a year (in this case, 1962) one of the best ways to search for information.  Using this method, I can browse the index and discover surnames of interest for individuals I might not have been aware of previously and is a great work around for spelling errors on the original document or a mistake in the trascription process.

These single sheets of paper can be a treasure trove of information.  The majority contain the date, place and cause of death, along with date and location of birth.  If the "informant" providing the information was close to the deceased, parent's names (including the ever-elusive mother's maiden name!!), spouse's name, address of usual residence, occupation, and social security number might be available.  Other information included is the funeral home taking care of the arrangements along with the date and place of funeral and burial.

The Missouri State Archives website explains:
"The Missouri Death Certificate Database, containing death records created after 1910 and over 50 years old, makes that information available online through a searchable index that links to a digitized image of the original death certificate. The index can be searched by first name and last name, county, and by year and month.  Once a name is selected, a digitized image of the original certificate can be retrieved."
Once retrieved, the image may be printed and/or saved to your own computer in PDF format.  The best part? It's FREE!!  To begin your search, go to: Missouri Death Certificates Database.

If you have questions or comments about these records, please contact the Missouri State Archives at  For death certificates less than 50 years old, contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through their website here.

Until the 1963 death certificates are released and indexed next year, happy hunting and good luck with your research!

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