Texas death records are obtained for various purposes. Many people use the records in helping recreate their genealogy tree. For legal purposes, it can be used by heirs to help strengthen their inheritance claims. For others, they can prove their widow/widower status by providing a record of their deceased spouse.
Death certificates contain various data. Usually they contain the name, place, cause of death of a person. However, some papers have special information. For infants that died before they could be named, you will find the statement “Inf of” instead of the first name which means “infant of”. Some documents have the wife listed under the husband’s name instead of their real names. Knowing this information beforehand will help you if you need additional documents to validate the death certificate.
Currently, the Texas department of state health services keeps the certificates of deaths in Texas. However, if you’re looking for information prior to 1956, you will find that the index are grouped in certain years. For deaths from 1904 to 1940 there is only one index. The same goes for 1941 to 1945 and 1946 to 1955. Documents after 1956 now had one index per year. For deaths before 1903, you will have more luck finding the record in the county clerk’s office. Just be sure to look for the record on the county where the death occurred. Not the birthplace of the dead person.
Not just anyone can get information of the deceased individual. There are specific guidelines that need to be followed. Records of persons that died in the past 25 years or those born 75 years ago are considered as protected documents. Only the immediate family members can make the request as the documents can’t be released to the public unless if there are court orders or special reasons why they need to be divulged. For requests outside of the state of Texas, only the living spouse or parent of the disease can obtain the documents. One of the exemptions to the rule is the funeral director that took care of the corpse. The funeral director may request for the record only for record keeping purposes.
To obtain a certificate of death, proper identification is required. You will need to provide a valid government issued ID card or a state issued driver’s license. A form found in the website of the vital records department will need to be completed. You will have to provide the names of the parents of the deceased. The form may also require the maiden name of the mother of the deceased. Finish the form with the reason why you need the document and how you are related to the deceased. Mail the form along with a check or money order worth $20 to the bureau of vital statistics. Getting the documents via mail will take about three to four weeks.
If you can’t wait then you can opt to request the death notices online. The website of the Texas government has an online service that allows you to request forms online and pay via credit card which can be more convenient than checks and money orders. You’ll get a reply within 10 to 15 days. If you want to get the records as soon as possible, some online websites offer rush service for a small fee. You will be assured that the record is certified and delivered within four to seven days upon request.