How to Estimate United States Death Information

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How to Find U.S. Death Records go to Estimate Death Dates and Places

Where and When was the Person's Death?[edit | edit source]

  • Census records: Locate a census for the person.
Choose a year when you know where the person lived.
Year FamilySearch
1850 United States Census, 1850
1860 United States Census, 1860
1870 United States Census, 1870
1880 United States Census, 1880
1900 United States Census, 1900
1910 United States Census, 1900
1920 United States Census, 1900
1930 United States Census, 1930
1940 United States Census, 1940
You know the Date of Birth[edit | edit source]
  • Follow your ancestor through every census you know they were alive. If they were born in 1878, search the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 Census.
  • If you can't find them in a census year, they may have died between the census you last found them in and the census you could not find them in.
NOTE: Be sure to check the subsequent census year after they disappear to make sure the individual was not mis-indexed.

EXAMPLE: William Peterson was listed as age 55, born in West Virginia in the 1930 Census. But he was not found in the 1940 Census. He may have died between 1930 and 1940.

  • If you don't know what year they were born, try looking for them right after they get married. If they were married in 1908, try the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 Census.

Look for clues where he or she may have lived when he or she died. For instance,

  • Search for William's death in the county he was living in the 1930 Census (West Virginia)

Guessing the Date?[edit | edit source]

  • Determine when your ancestor "disappears" from the census. If you can find them in the 1900 Census but not the 1910 or 1920 Census, they may have died between 1900 and 1910.

Guessing the Place?[edit | edit source]

Look up each family member in all:

  • Censuses
  • Directories
  • Tax lists
  • Land records

Find siblings places of births.