How to Find Washington Death Records

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Finding Washington Death Records[edit | edit source]

The Washington Territory was established in 1853. Statehood was granted in 1889. Statewide registration of deaths in Washington began in 1907.

  • 1848 - Oregon Territory created, including present day Washington state
  • 1853 - Washington Territory organized
  • 1889 – Washington granted statehood as the 42nd state of the Union
  • 1891 – Washington law required counties to record deaths
  • 1907 - Statewide registration of deaths began on July 1

Next Step: When did the death occur? [edit | edit source]

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1891[edit | edit source]

Washington did not record deaths on the state level at this time. Before 1891, deaths were not required to be recorded by the county or the state. Search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Probate (wills, etc)
Tax Records
Church Records
Census
Bible Records
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths 1891 to 1907[edit | edit source]

For deaths recorded during this time period, try the following databases.

Washington Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images

Try 1st:


1881-1917 Washington State Digital Archives (Free) dates vary by county; includes death records and returns, city death registers, U.S. Mortality Schedules
also on Ancestry ($), Find My Past ($), and My Heritage ($)
Try 2nd:


Washington Deaths and Burials, 1810-1960, index and images. FamilySearch.org (free) .
Try 3rd:


Washington Deaths and Burials, 1810-1960, index and images. FamilySearch.org (free) .
Try 4th:


Washington, County Records, 1803-2010 FamilySearch.org (free) dates vary by county; includes death records from the county clerks for early Washington. This is a browse collection, search for your county and then the Death Records.
Try 5th:


Washington, Deaths, 1883–1960 Ancestry.com ($) free at family history centers. Find your local FamilySearch Center
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths 1907 to present[edit | edit source]

The state of Washington began recording deaths July 1907.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information[edit | edit source]

For deaths recorded during this time period, try the following database.

Washington Deaths Databases


Try 1st:


Washington, Deaths, 1883–1960 Ancestry.com ($) free at family history centers, index and digital images, find your local FamilySearch Center
Try 2nd:


Washington Deaths and Burials, 1810-1960, index and images. FamilySearch.org (free) .
Try 3rd:


Washington Death Index, 1940-1996 Ancestry.com $) free at family history center, index only, Find your local familySearch Center
Try 4th:


Washington, Death Certificates, 1907–1960

FamilySearch.org – free index only, also on the Washington State Archives ($) and Ancestry($)
If you can't find the death record in the above database, try the following:

Social Security Death Index (SSDI)


Try:
United States Social Security Death Index, 1935-2017 Free; Index to the Social Security Death Index for the United States
U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 Ancestry.com ($) free access at family history centers. Index to the Social Security Death Index for the United States
U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, incomplete, Ancestry.com ($) free access at family history centers. Provides more detail than Social Security Death Indexes



Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information


FamilySearch Microfilm Collections:

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate[edit | edit source]

PART A: You know the exact date of death

If the image was not included in the index entry above, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From County of Death From Washington State Department of Health
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

The State of Washington is an open record state. Anyone may order copies of Washington death certificates, as long as they can provide the required information.

If you do not want to order the death record, search other records with death information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of death

If you do not know the exact date or place of death the Washington State Department of Health will do a search for a fee.

If you do not want to order the death record, you can search other records with death information.

Return to top: Choose another death year


Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]