Ahh… Death records. Many family historians will or already have altered out-of-state family vacations to obtain death information on their ancestors. Whenever I travel, I locate county clerk offices, courthouses, cemeteries, and state archives along the way, just in case I might need to stop for records I cannot obtain online or in my home state.
Fortunately, Michigan researchers are only a click away from unearthing Detroit and Wayne County death information ranging from 1800–1996. Better yet, Detroit and Wayne County death record images are available from 1867 – 1920 online for free thanks to Family Search and the Archives of Michigan – Seeking Michigan (seekingmichigan.org). Just in the past year, researchers have been able to view indexed Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952 information and request image copies from Family Search for free. How to receive free Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 images on Family Search will be covered shortly.
Typical information found on Michigan death records
(Varies by record collection)
- Name of deceased
- Death date and place
- Birth date and place
- Marital status
- Name of spouse
- Names of parents
- Cause of death
- Name and relationship of informant
- Burial date and place
With so many resources at our disposal, the topic of Detroit death records will be spread out over several posts (Michigan & Ontario Family Search death records, Other Family Search death records, Ancestry.com & Seeking Michigan, etc.) over the next few weeks. Today, we’ll be looking at Michigan & Ontario Family Search death record resources.
Michigan, Deaths and Burials, 1800-1995
140,196 Detroit death records
268,302 Wayne County death records
A random collection of indexed Michigan deaths and burials from 1800-1995
Michigan, Death Index, 1971-1996
382,644 Detroit death records
622,675 Wayne County death records
The collection is an index is provided by Ancestry.com and consists of indexes to deaths for the years 1971 – 1996 from the Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records (Lansing, MI).
Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897 **With Images**
73,042 Detroit death records
94,096 Wayne County death records
Registration of Michigan deaths began in 1867 and continued until 1897 when the state required a death certificate be issued. This collection covers deaths registered by county clerks from 1867-1897. With only a smidgen over 500,000 records in the entire collection, Family Search estimates that nearly half of Michigan deaths were not recorded.
I have learned from personal experience that when you order a death certificate from the State of Michigan during this time period, they take the exact data off these records to fill in the certificate. They have no more information that what you see on the Family Search images so you might want to save yourself $36+ unless you’d like death certificate with the raised seal from the State of Michigan.
Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952
454,692 Detroit death records
592,534 Wayne County death records
The collection consists of an index of death records from the Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics (Lansing, MI) and was indexed by Family Search volunteers in 2012 & 2013. If you were researching your Michigan ancestors at the time, you anxiously awaited (and constantly checked Family Search) for the release of this collection.
So how do I receive free Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 images on Family Search?
With Family Search’s Photoduplication Service, you can request photo copy of Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 or any other record not found online at familysearch.org or at books.familysearch.org.
Diane Gould Hall of Michigan Family Trails posted a wonderful “how to” guide on requesting a Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 from Family Search’s photoduplication services and where to find the correct information to fill out the request form.
Photo Duplication Requests on Family Search – Plus A Little Bit About Legacy and Evernote
Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947
Being so close, Many Detroiters enjoyed crossing over to Ontario, Canada for various reasons like vacations, business, or to visit family.
This collection is a tad finicky. If you type in the place of death as “Detroit”, anyone who died (1939-1947) or was buried (1869-1937) in Detroit will come up.
I had one 2nd Great Grandfather retire in Ontario after living in Detroit for 45+ years. Image my surprise to find his death certificate when not one time in the years I researched his life was there a mention of his summer home in Riverside, Ontario.
Next post: Other Michigan Death Records on Family Search