How to Document a Death, England and Wales

How do you document a death?

Some of the principal genealogy databases that provide births and marriages for the British Isles do not include deaths/burials–

… Because deaths and burials recorded in church records are often incomplete as to coverage of the population and as to recording the details of the who dead actually are.

…Because the advent of the internet combined with the interests of the genealogists, you now have the creation of secondary lists–compiled sources–from a variety of records. 

[I don’t wish to imply that these databases are unreliable. Or that the information upon which they are based is questionable, even when the actual source itself is not stated.  Compilers have taken considerable pains to ensure that their transripts have been double-checked.]

…Becauseof these considerations, you will want to corroborate the death/burial information for your ancestors from more than one database/source.  While such verification is always a good idea, it is essential that you corroborate the information to assure an accurate pedigree.  Dead children do not have descendants.  And many of the dead share the same name, and could share the same birthdate.

Check those databases listed in Genealogy Evidence Blog, 8 Jan 2011,which include births, marriages, and deaths if you have not already done so.  Then corroborate that information or supplement what you found, or add to the data using these databases.

$__  Index to Death Duty Registers, 1796-1903.  Inheritance taxes paid on estates with personal property more than L20 and  re4al property more than L100.These may contain actual street addresses in cities and towns and state who received what amounts.  1812-1857, the original registers provide an index to probates in England and Wales.  Since the property requirement was lowered to any property more than L20, most people whose estates were probated are included. 

__   FREE index to Death Duty Registers, 1796-1811.  This database also includes an index for wills for the same dates.    Strategy:  Find ancestral names in the indexes, then check the Family History Library for microfilm copies of the original records.

Monumental Inscriptions and actual photographs of individual gravestones can be found in several databases:






__   The International Cemetery and Funeral Association can point you to additional cemeteries already transcribed.

__  Indexes to non-conformists church records.  A database in progress.

County-wide death indexes and MI’s [Monumental Inscriptions] can be found online, on CD, and in print.  Consult the Family History Library Catalog to identify these .  Individual churchyard and regional/area databases are also available. Your favorite genealogy evidence guru, Arlene Eakle.  http://;  

PS  Stay tuned in–for a third installment of online vital records for ancestors from England and Wales.

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