Deaths


From a genealogical point of view, only the following information is of genuine interest:

  • place of death;
  • age of death, and,
  • occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant
.


As in the case of births, it is essential to uncover as much information as possible from other sources before starting a search of the death indexes. Thus, if a date of birth is known from parish or other records, the age at death given in the index along with the registration district provides at least a rough guide as to whether or not the death recorded is the relevant one. If the location of a family farm is known, the approximate date of death can often be worked out from the changes in occupier recorded in the Valuation Books of the Valuation Office. Similarly, if the family possessed property, the Will Calendars of the National Archives after 1858 can be the easiest way to pinpoint the precise date of death. With such information, it is then usually a simple matter to pick out the relevant entry from the indexes. Information from a marriage entry may also sometimes be useful; along with the names of the fathers of the parties marrying, the register entry sometimes also specifies that one or both of the fathers is deceased. There is no rule about this, however. The fact that a father is recorded as, say, John Murphy, labourer, does not necessarily mean that he was alive at the time of the marriage. If an individual is recorded as deceased, this does at least provide an end point for any search for his death entry. As already pointed out, however, death records give no information on preceding generations, and only occasionally name a surviving family member.

Using death records with other sources

The place of death given, if it is not the home of the deceased person, may be the home of a relative. This can be investigated firstly through land records , and then through parish and census records, and may provide further information on other branches of the family.