March 31, 2023, 7:26 pm
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General Information About California Death Records and Laws
When it comes to building a family tree or trying to gather information for your family's history, the use of California death records can help. These records are available within the state dating back well over 100 years. However, you can even do searches that are older than this on a local or online level. The good news is that once you find a record, you can easily use those records to build your family's history and to learn about other relatives or other details. This can be an empowering opportunity for you.
In the state of California, death records start at the county level. The county gathers the information regarding the death and then reports it to the Department of Health Services. In many situations, these death records can provide vital information about a person, but death records are harder to use than death certificates. Certificates are available at the local level. For older records, though, those certificates may not be readily available in California.
The state did not always gather this information. In fact, it did not begin to gather any vital records prior to the second half of 1905. At this point, records began being recorded by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. You can request this information from the following address:
Office of Vital Records and Statistics
Department of Health Services
304 South Street
PO Box 730241
Sacramento, California 94244
For those who are looking for California death records prior to 1905, though, the search becomes a bit more difficult. For those older searches, though, there is still the opportunity for you to gather this information. A good place to start is at the county level. County records tend to have more information as well. However, for those who need records that are from the 1800's and prior, the search gets more difficult. The use of churches, temples or even local city clerk's offices can help, though.
With this information you can conduct additional searches. However, it is a good idea to spend some time verifying data from very old records. You can also get most birth certificates and marriage records from the same organization. It is a good idea to spend some time gathering this data in addition to California death records. In California, there is a range of different resources available to help you.
Take a few minutes to invest time in searching for California death records through the Department of Health Services first. If you do not get the information you need from that point, you can gather additional information from the local county offices or even the town clerk. In very old towns from the 1800's, though, this information can be limitedly available. You may not find complete death certificates for those from prior to this time. It is a good idea to invest a few minutes in this type of search, but if you find it too difficult, also consider turning to churches and third party records to gather this data. The information on records does vary, though.
California Death Records

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