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How to find deceased people for free

Updated February 21, 2017

Sherlock Holmes would be astounded at the many possibilities that exist today for finding deceased people. Information about deceased people is sometimes needed for legal or health related reasons as well as for genealogical research. As more records become available, tracing deceased people becomes easier. Researchers should first investigate the vast amount of free data that is available to help find deceased people before paying for such information. Accessing free records may take a little extra time and patience but quite a bit of information is available to help a researcher find a deceased person for free.

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  1. Gather as much information as possible about the deceased person. There are often a number of individuals with the same name. When searching for a specific deceased person, it's important to locate the records for the correct person.

  2. Go to FamilySearch.org and type the person's name into the "search" field. This free service contains the death records of people who died within the United States after the establishment of the Social Security Administration. The records include the person's Social Security number, last known address, date of birth and date of death.

  3. View the available online records of the National Archives and Records Administration. Most of these records require payment, but some are free.

  4. If you have this information, visit the cemetery where the person is buried. Tombstones often offer valuable information about a person, such as their parents' names, name of spouse, and dates of birth and death. Look at nearby tombstones to see if there are other people with the same last names or other matching information. Record this information as well. Tombstones offer important information for a genealogical search as the search widens to include information about other deceased family members.

  5. Visit the local library to see what newspaper archival information there is concerning the deceased person. Obituaries offer valuable information for a genealogical search. Other articles may also provide information about deceased people.

  6. Go to the county courthouse. Courthouse records can include immigration papers, naturalisation papers and other documents that allow a researcher to find extensive information about a deceased person.

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Things You'll Need

  • Internet access

About the Author

Laurie Rappeport is a writer and blogger with more than 10 years of experience. Her areas of expertise are in education, child development, travel, pets, nutrition and health for Demand Studios and a major travel website. Rappeport holds a Master of Arts degree from Wayne State University.

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