It seems strange to start at the end of someone’s life but I have found that starting at the end can give many clues. I have been able to find spouse information or parent information and much more from death records. One of my goals for 2015 is to try to find as many death records for my family tree as I can.
Death records in some cases tell a lot about a person. One such ancestor’s father name was no were to be found. I knew the mother name but all I had for the father was a last name. Upon founding the record I was able to get a place of birth and name for the father it still unfortunately didn’t let me anywhere new but at least gave some more useful information.
I have also found that finding one ancestor in a cemetery can lead to finding others. I have found one ancestor grave and then after checking for others with that last names I have often found other found other family members. This was quite a discovery with some of McLachlans ancestors as I was able to find multiple ancestors in the same cemetery as well as multiple ancestors buried in the same grave. I have found it is very common for single sons or daughters to be buried with parents or children who died young.
I have found that records of death also give clues to the living as well. I have found that looking at British probate records and who is receiving the will, It can give clues to living family members. Such as if the will is going to children then most likely the spouse is already passed away. The British probate records also listed the last address of the dead as well as the jobs of the will receivers this information can be very helpful in tracing family members that were still living at the time.
In the United States there is the Social Security Index which gives date of birth, death date, state and year that they social security name was issued. This can be helpful for finding people if the social security number was issued in a different state then the death. This is not a source to rely on alone as it doesn’t always give enough information to be sure you have the right person.
Canada’s death records are not so easy. Due to the fact the Canada is still a fairly young country and privacy laws, records are not always easy to find. If you have ancestors not from Ontario, the records tend to much harder to find. On Ancestry and the web, there are indexes for cemeteries.
Manitoba-Death information can be found from Vital Stats Manitoba from death more than 70 years ago. There is an index, it available from Manitoba Vital Stats directly or can found on Ancestry. You do have to order the records from Manitoba Vital Stats for a fee. I have done this myself and the turnover time was pretty fast. It will though depend on were you are located. I don’t believe that you can get the records in person.
One is CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project-a website that has indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. All the work of indexes etc is done by volunteers. You can search a cemetery or name.
Another is Canadian Headstones-a website that indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. It does a search by name only not by cemetery.
British Columbia-I don’t know a lot about British Columbia death records. I know that on Ancestry there is a couple of Indexes for Deaths in British Columbia. I don’t have a lot of connection to this province so I my knowledge is limited.
Alberta -I know that I have found some death information via Ancestry from grave indexes. Again not much connection to province so limited knowledge on death information.
Saskatchewan-Similar to Manitoba, death information can be obtained from Vital Stats Saskatchewan. It doesn’t give a lot of information online, so would suggest tried to confirm the death info though our sources before ordering a copy.
Ontario-As Ontario is a much older province and had a larger population, death information is I have found is easier to find here. On Ancestry, there is a records for deaths in Ontario from 1869-1938. These records usually given the reason or cause of death, vital information and may give other information as well depending. There are also other indexes on Ancestry for Canadian graves that are often mostly Ontario. As well as the two websites above, cover a lot of Ontario cemeteries.
Other places in Canada not mention are because no connections there.
As always, thanks for reading