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General Information About Virginia Death Records and Laws
In Virginia, death records continue to be an important part of verifying family genealogy and for verifying where a person lived. The legal use of these records is often important immediately after a person's death. Often, a death record like this can help to prove a person's death has occurred so that family members can begin the process of managing the estate. For many people, getting a copy of older records is just for genealogy research but it can also help to verify the next of kin or the person's property ownership. Some of the records in Virginia date back hundreds of years and with this information, it is quite possible to piece together a long family history.
Throughout the history of the state, Virginia death records have been kept at various locations and with various detail. In 1853, the state required that deaths be recorded at the state level. This would continue until 1896. During the period of time when the Civil War occurred, many of Virginia's counties did not record deaths. This was difficult to do for many reasons, but some cities did keep these records nonetheless. From the period of 1896 through June of 1912, records are available sporadically. You can find some, but doing so will require a local look since only cities during this time actually kept records.
In June of 1912, the state began the registration of deaths. Since that time, it is possible to gain a copy of the record or to find the actually record on file with the Vital Records Office in the state. If you are looking for death records from the timeframe of 1912 onward, you can use write to or visit the following address to gain access:
Virginia Department of Health
Office of Vital Records
James Madison Building
PO Box 1000
Richmond, Virginia 23208
It is also possible to request a copy of a death record by phone through this agency. To do so, call 804-786-6228. There is a fee that must be paid in order for you to get the record. The agency does not say how long it will take to send the record information to you.
Also, some of the earliest records in the state from the time period of 1853 through 1896 are on microfilm. These are on record at the Library of Virginia and the FHL. You can also find many of the death records from prior to this time available through local religious organizations. Some of the first religious organizations to set up in the Virginia region have held long records and archives of the births, deaths and marriages of members since the early years of the founding of the region.
Finding Virginia death records is not always easy to do. However, there are many sources for these records and, once you find them, they can prove to be a very rich source of information for family genealogy research or for many other needs. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to find all records, though.
Virginia Death Records
  • Accident Reports

    Customer Records Work Center, Rm 514
    PO Box 27412
    Richmond, VA 23269-0001
    p (804) 367-0538
    f (804) 367-0390
  • chesapeake

    chesapeake City Hall Building
    306 Cedar Road Chesapeake, VA 23322
    Chesapeake, VA 23322
    p (757) 382-6586
  • Chesterfield County

    PO Box 40 Chesterfield, VA 23832-0040
    Chesterfield, VA 23832-0040
    p (804) 748-1000
  • Henrico County

    4301 East Parham Road Henrico, VA 23228
    Henrico, VA 23228
    p (804) 672-7486
  • The Library of Virginia

    800 East Broad Street in downtown Richmond, Virgin
    Richmond, VA 23219-8000
    p (804) 692-3888

    P.O. Box 2448 Richmond, Virginia 23218-2448
    Richmond, VA 23218-2448
    p (804) 864-7064

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