Source Information

Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

About North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976

This database contains North Carolina death certificates from 1909-1976. It includes stillborn and fetal deaths. Information contained in this database includes:

  • Name of deceased
  • Certificate number
  • Death place
  • Death date
  • Residence
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Age at time of death
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Spouse’s name

Additional information such as social security number, birthplaces of parents, occupation, burial information (name and address of cemetery, and date buried), and cause of death may also be listed on the certificate and can be obtained by viewing the image.

Cautions about Death Certificates:

As any experience researcher knows, death records are only as accurate as the knowledge of the person who provided the information. Many informants are unaware of the name of parents or are unsure about dates and places of birth. Always try to find additional information about parents and dates and places of birth whenever possible.

Where to Go from Here:

Death records, both early and modern, can help you identify others related to the decedent. The information provided in the records is usually given to the authorities by a close relative. If the relative is a married daughter, the record will state her married name. Aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, and other relatives are listed as informants on death records. Each new name is a clue to the identity of other ancestors that should be pursued.

The death record informant may not have been the person who provided vital statistics to the funeral director or to the cemetery sexton. The death certificate names both the funeral home and the place of burial, so check both the mortician’s records and the sexton’s records to confirm the information on the death record and to look for additional information not included in the death certificate. Once you know the exact date of death, you can more easily look for an obituary notice in a local newspaper. Obituaries usually at least summarize the deceased’s life, sometimes including other towns of residence. They may also list all of the living heirs, as well as the names of parents, brothers, and sisters. Tracking backward with these clues, you can look for other members of the family and additional historical information.

Taken from Johni Cerny, “Vital Records,” The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006).