Michigan Deaths - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of Michigan|
|Location of Michigan|
|Michigan Department of Health and Human Services|
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
The state of Michigan required registration of deaths beginning in 1867. This collection covers deaths registered through 1897.
This Library of Michigan collection of Michigan death certificates features nearly 1 million records. This statewide collection offers researchers critical information in tracking Michigan ancestors during this time period. Information includes the decedent's birth date and place, parents' names and birthplace, cemetery name and location, and much more.
The deaths are recorded on a two page ledger form provided by the Michigan Secretary of State. The registration ledgers are bound in volumes by year. The counties are listed alphabetically within each volume.
From 1867 to 1897, the township supervisor or city assessor or supervisor annually canvassed their area and recorded the deaths that took place the year preceding the first Monday in April. The supervisor or assessor returned the results to the county clerk within 30 days of completing the canvass. Each year the county clerk forwarded the records to Secretary of State. The Secretary of State had the records bound in books, one for each year, and made an annual report to the Governor. Registration was initially very incomplete. Some counties did not report any deaths during the first three years of this statute. This law remained in effect until 1897, when the state required a death certificate be issued. It is believed that approximately half of the deaths were missed in the time period from 1867 until 1897.
Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They are also used to probate wills and administer the deceased person’s estate. Death information was collected during the year following the death of the individual. The assessor or supervisor could obtain the information from anyone who had knowledge of the death. Normally it would be the spouse, parent, or child, but could be another relative, neighbor, physician, or undertaker. The information would only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
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What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
The following information may be found in these records
- Name of deceased
- Date and place of death
- Gender and race
- Age in years, months, and days
- Marital status
- Cause of death
- Birthplace of deceased
- Parents' names and their residence
- Date record was made
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Image[edit | edit source]
Digital Folder Number List[edit | edit source]This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. The list does not contain any description of the DGS folder's content. A table listing each DGS number and its contents can be found at Michigan Deaths Digital Folder Number List.
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The approximate date of death
- The place where the death occurred
- The names of family members and their relationships
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]To view images in this collection:
- Look at the Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see
- Go to the Browse Page
- Select the Film number to view the images
How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]
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. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Use the information found in the death registers to locate an obituary
- Search for the family in census records
- Use the age to calculate the birth date
- Search for church, land, and probate records
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
Research Helps[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Michigan.
Known Issues[edit | edit source]
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
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.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.