Finding the minimum amount of information for vital records
An individual's death certificate is a good place to look for the living relatives because it usually lists the informant. Death certificates are available from either the county or the state where the death took place, depending on the year of the death.
To find the names of living relatives on a death certificate, you must at least know the individual's full name at time of death, the approximate year of the death, and the state or county of the death, depending on when the event took place. If you do not have the minimum information to find a death certificate, you can either:
Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,
click the Back button on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find the names of living relatives, or
read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.
Finding vital records
Even if you don't have the minimum information required to find the original records, you're not completely out of luck. Indexes to vital records, including death records, have been made for some states and counties. These indexes provide you with the information you need to access the original record. Check with libraries and genealogy societies in the area -- they may know if any indexes exist for the records that you need.
Finding living relatives
Ensure that you have asked all of your immediate relatives, such as parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about any living relatives -- perhaps distant cousins that the family hasn't seen for quite some time. They may also recall the names of relatives that they visited when they were younger and the name of the town where those relatives lived. This information would give you a starting place.
If you have living relatives who, unbeknownst to you, are doing genealogy research and have submitted files to the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can get their names through the Ancestral File on the FamilySearch computer. All you need to do is look up your common ancestors in the Ancestral File.
Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. Look particularly close at pictures of large family gatherings. See the topic Finding information at home for more information.
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