18 February 2007

Death Spiral

I've been working with death records a lot lately but the rules various jurisdictions set up can be really frustrating and nonsensical. They are just not set up to deal with genealogists. I'm telling you, without Joe Beine's always up-to-date death indexes site, I could not even find half the places that issue death certificates.

Some places have rules based on how long its been since the person died. In Texas, if they've been less than 75 years, they're not dead enough. Why does it matter how long the guy's been dead? He's dead.

In New York, to get someone's death certificate you need to provide "an original, notarized letter signed by that person authorizing release of their certificate to you."

Utah, bless them, puts the actual certificates on line. Now that's a state that knows genealogy!

California has always allowed anyone to order a death record. But as part of recent "statewide efforts to reduce identity theft," they now stamp it as Non-certified. Can someone please explain to me how someone would use a death certificate to steal someone's identity???


Anonymous said...

How often do banks use your mother's maiden name for password protection. In certain circumstances, probate issues are not cleared up for months or even years after death. Protecting certificates can prevent fraud. Limiting access can also protect privacy by not announcing the cause of death, martial status, etc. You don't need anyones DC for genealogy except family members. If your family won't share with you, there must be a reason.

Anonymous said...

My family members did not keep papers, everything was trashed or burned. It has nothing to do with some ulterior "reason", they just liked to clean things out!