Florida Death Index

It is varied across the many U. S. states of when official death certificates became required. For the State of Florida, its Department of Health and Vital Statistics Vital Records handles the death records. Back in 1865, the city of Key West and a handful of other cities across Florida began requiring death certificate records. Everywhere in Florida was required by 1927, to have birth and death certificates completed. The purpose of death certificates were to help track locations of epidemics, plus they were needed in dealing with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.

ome of the type of information on a Florida death certificate include: full name, birth date, birth location, parents’ names, death date and location, cause of death, their spouse’s name, where the person lived, their occupation, the name of the doctor in charge, the burial location and who was providing the information for the certificate.

Using the online site of Florida Death Records for numerous counties in the state can be very helpful. Many of these offer the listings of cemeteries indexes for their counties plus any available obituaries indexes. Not all places or newspaper obituaries are accessible for all time periods.

FamilySearch.org has online the Florida Death Indexes. Place the surname and given name for a person you are searching. First list appearing will be those who died in Florida between 1877 and 1939. Further down you will see names that are mentioned on another person’s death certificate. This can be very useful when you do not know other family member’s names, such as the person’s mother’s maiden name. Click on the selected person to view on the data taken from the certificate. Compare and look for differences in spelling. A letter like an ‘U’ could be transcribed as a ‘N’ in someone’s name.

Ancestry.com (a subscription site)also has a Florida Death Index, this one goes from 1877 to 1998, giving you about 60 more years of records to examine.

To order a copy of a certificate, contact the Dept. of Health in Jacksonville, FL. Copies can be ordered on the phone, by mail, fax or in person and the charge is $5.00 each.

If there was an ancestor you haven’t located yet, check Florida, since so many came to the state to retire or on vacation.

Photo:  Key West, FL in 1905.

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