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Vital statistics records consist of births, marriages, and deaths (BMD). Records are sealed for a designated time period to insure the privacy of the individuals. Many records are sealed for 72 years.
Nationally, states did not require keeping vital statistics until the 1910s to 1920s.
Delaware required recording of vital statistics in 1913, though towns, counties, and churches kept records before then. In Delaware, most historical vital records are kept at the Delaware Public Archives. Some of these records have been digitized.
Copies you obtain may be "informational" (research) or “certified.” Who is entitled to request a death certificate varies by state.
Often kept by towns and counties, prior to mandatory reporting.
Mortality Schedules (U.S. Census)
Taken in Census years: 1850-1880. Every 10 years, at the time when the Census was conducted. Note: they only cover the 12 months preceding the Census. Information: name of person, county and state where died. Age, sex, month of death, state of birth, cause of death, occupation. Note: not all states and years have been digitized.
Obituaries and Death Notices; Newspaper Articles
Social Security Death Index
Created from Social Security Administration records. It is a file of persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration.
Funeral, Memorial, and Prayer Cards
Not an official death record, but these often have date of death, date of burial and service, names of relatives and other helpful information.
Note: in newspapers, occasionally a death is a feature story and there may not be an obituary.
Although not aimed at genealogy and family history, the collections of the University of Delaware Library (Morris Library) include materials useful to genealogists and family historians.
This Genealogy Research Guide is provided as a service for genealogists. It presents topics and resources to assist researchers.
The UD Library does not specialize in genealogy and does not have staff responsible for genealogy. Library staff cannot conduct research.
For questions about library resources and holdings, use the Ask the Library service.
For questions about getting research assistance, see the suggestions on the home page of this guide or on the topic/resources pages.
Vital Records include birth, marriages, death, and divorce. Records are sealed for a designated time period to insure the privacy of the individuals.