United States Virginia Death Certificates 1913-1954

This blog post will be updated as new updates come along.

Post Last Updated: September 1, 2014

Current Part: A, B, C

Upcoming Part: D

Skill level: Beginner


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Sample Images

Sample Death Certificate

Sample Death Certificate

Sample Death Certificate

Sample Death Certificate

How to Index a Death Certificate

click link above for instructions

 
   
   


Instructions, Field Helps and Updates

If I haven’t listed something you are confused about please see the PDF Presentation listed above or ask in a comment. If there’s something you think should be on here please let me know. Everything is in Alphabetical order.

Age

Index only full years. If fractions of years were recorded, round down to the nearest full year. If less than one year was recorded or a child was stillborn, index the age as 0 (zero).

If the age was not indicated but the birth year was recorded, do not try to calculate the age from the birth and death years of the deceased.

If the age was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 37

Birth Day

Type the one- or two-digit number for the day on which the birth took place.

If the day was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 22

Birth Month

Type the first three letters of the month in which the birth took place: Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.

If the month was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Nov

Birth Year

Type a four-digit number for the deceased’s birth year.

If no year or only a two-digit number was recorded, you may be able to determine the year from other data on the image. If you cannot determine the full four-digit year, type what was written on the record.

If the birth year was not indicated but the age was recorded, do not try to calculate the birth year from the age of the deceased and the death year.

If the year was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark the field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 1844

Brightness and Contrast

To change the brightness of an image, click the View menu, and then click Brightness and Contrast.

To darken the image, move the Brightness slider to the left of zero; to brighten the image, move the slider to the right of zero.

To change the contrast, click and drag the Contrast slider to the right.

To sharpen the image, click the View menu, and then click Sharpen to adjust the slider.

Color or Race

Type the color or race or ethnicity of the deceased as it was written on the record.

If color or race was abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete word instead of the abbreviation. If you are not sure what the abbreviation stands for, index what was written, excluding punctuation. To use the lookup list for assistance, press Ctrl+F. If you cannot find the color or race in the lookup list, index what was written.

If the race was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Tab to skip this field.

Click here to see an example: White

Corrected or Crossed-Out Information

  • When information was crossed out and then replaced, type the new data in the appropriate fields.
  • When information was crossed out, was not replaced, and can be read, type the crossed-out information.
  • When information was crossed out, was not replaced, and cannot be read, mark the field as unreadable by pressing Ctrl+U.
  • When no entry on a record can be read, mark the entire record as unreadable by pressing Ctrl+Shift+U.

Date Filed: Day:

Type the one- or two-digit number for day the document was filed.

The file date was usually stamped or written at the bottom of the form.

Do not index the death day in this field. The death day has a separate field for this project.

If the day was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 19

Date Filed: Month:

Type the first three letters of the month when the document was filed: Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.

The file date was usually stamped or written at the bottom of the form.

Do not index the death month in this field. The death month has a separate field for this project.

If the month was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Jan

Date Filed: Year:

Type a four-digit number for the year the document was filed. If no year or only a two-digit number was recorded, you may be able to determine the year from other data on the image. If you cannot determine the full four-digit year, type what was written on the record.

The file date was usually stamped or written at the bottom of the form.

Do not index the death year in this field. The death year has a separate field for this project.

If the year was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 1913

Death County

Type the name of the death county.

If the name of the county was misspelled, spell it correctly. If it was abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete name instead of the abbreviation. To use the lookup list for assistance, press Ctrl+F. If you are not sure what the abbreviation stands for, index what was written. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written as part of the place-name.

If the county was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Wythe

Death Day

Type the one- or two-digit death day.

If the death day was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 5

Death Month

Type the first three letters of the death month: Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.

If the death month was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+Bo mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Apr

Death State or Country

Type the death state or country if it was recorded.

If the name of the state or country was misspelled, spell it correctly. If it was abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete name instead of the abbreviation. To use the lookup list for assistance, press Ctrl+F. If you are not sure what the abbreviation stands for, index what was written. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written as part of the place-name.

If the state or country was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Virginia

Death Town or City (Updated on 8/13/2014)

Type the name of the death town or city.

If the name of the town or city was misspelled, spell it correctly. If it was abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete name instead of the abbreviation. To use the lookup list for assistance, press Ctrl+F. If you are not sure what the abbreviation stands for, index what was written. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written as part of the place-name.

If the death town or city was not recorded but the district was, do not index the name of the district in this field.

If the town or city was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Washington

Death Year

Type a four-digit number for the death year. If no year or only a two-digit number was recorded, you may be able to determine the year from other data on the image. If you cannot determine the full four-digit year, type what was written on the record.

If the death year was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 1913

Deceased’s Gender

Type either M (male) or F (female).

Index the gender only if it was specifically recorded or you can tell what it was from relationship terms, such as “son” or “daughter,” or other indicators in the language, such as pronouns or titles or terms. Do not assume a gender based on given names.

If the gender was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: M

Deceased’s Given Names

The given names may be written either before or after the surname. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in this field.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Sr” or “stillborn,” with the name. If a name was abbreviated, type it as it was written on the document. Do not type a period after the abbreviation. Do not type punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name.

If given names were not recorded or were written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Susan J

Deceased’s Surname

The surname may be written either before or after the given names. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in the Given Names field.

Maiden surnames should be typed in this field before married surnames.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Sr” or “stillborn,” with the name. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name. Do not expand abbreviations. Type what you see in the document.

If the surname was not recorded, do not assume a surname based on the surnames of the parents or anyone else listed on the document.

If the surname was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: Roberts Jett

Diacritics and Other Characters

  • If the name of a person or place was written with a character not on your keyboard, such as the “é” in José, please insert the character by clicking the Enter special international characters  icon (a square with an “ñ” in it) and then clicking the letter you want to insert, or:
    1. In the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Click International Letters.
    3. Click the letter you want to insert.

Father’s Given Names

The given names may be written either before or after the surname. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in this field.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Jr” or “Mr,” with the name. If a name was abbreviated, type it as it was written on the document. Do not type a period after the abbreviation. Do not index punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name.

If given names were not recorded or were written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field blank.

Click here to see an example: John

Father’s Surname

The surname may be written either before or after the given names. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in the Given Names field.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Jr” or “Mr,” with the name. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name. Do not expand abbreviations. Type what you see in the document.

If the surname was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field blank.

Click here to see an example: Roberts

File Number

Type the file number if it was recorded on the form. Do not include letters or symbols.

The file number is usually stamped or written on the top right of the form. The file number is usually listed as the “File Number.” If no file number was recorded, but a “Registered Number” was indicated, index it in this field.

If multiple file numbers appear on the record, index the file number that is most consecutive in relation to the other images in the batch.

Often multiple file numbers were included on documents.  Click here to see an example.

For the image above, the File Number would be indexed as: 20235, not 18017

If the file number was not recorded, press Ctrl+B to mark this field as blank.

Click here to see an example: 10228

Handwriting Help

[The best way for handwriting help is to ask other indexers what they see by using the Share Batch feature found within the Indexing program. See How Indexers Can Share A Batch within the Library of FamilySearch Indexing Information Forums to get the instructions and then you can share within any group / blog / forums you are part of.]

Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher the handwriting.

To access this resource, click the Handwriting Help icon (an inkwell with an orange feather quill).

The best help for deciphering difficult handwriting is the document itself. Before indexing, study the entire batch to determine the unique writing style of the recorder. Compare questionable letters with other names on the document.

Image Type

Click in the Image Type field, and then click the option from the list that best describes the image.

If the image contains a death record, select Normal. Then press Tab or Enter.

If the image is blank, is an exact duplicate of a previous image in the same batch, or is unreadable, select the corresponding option from the list. If the image does not contain a death record, select No Extractable Data Image. Press Tab or Enter, and, on the warning message, click Yes. Continue to the next image.

Do not index disinterment documents. If an image shows only a disinterment document, it should be marked as a No Extractable Data Image.

Click here to see an example: Normal

Mother’s Given Names

The surname may be written either before or after the given names. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in the Given Names field.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Mrs” or “Miss,” with the name. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name. Do not expand abbreviations. Type what you see in the document.

If given names were not recorded or were written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field blank.

Click here to see an example: Elizabeth

Mother’s Surname

The surname may be written either before or after the given names. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in the Given Names field.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Mrs” or “Miss,” with the name. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name. Do not expand abbreviations. Type what you see in the document.

If the surname was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Ctrl+B to mark this field blank.

Click here to see an example: Revel

Overlays

Overlays are normally small handwritten or typed notes that cover part of an original record.

Read the overlay. If it has information about a death record, index the information in the corresponding fields. If not, do not index information from the overlay;

If the document behind the overlay is a duplicate of document that is fully shown on another image in the same batch, do not index the information on the document.

If the document behind the overlay seems to be unique and is not shown on another image in the batch, index as much of the document as you can see.

Registration District Number

Type the registration district number if it was recorded on the form. Do not include letters or symbols.

The registration number is usually stamped or written on the top center of the form. Do not index the “primary registration district number” or the “registered number” in this field.   Click here to see an example.

If the registration district number was not recorded, press Tab to skip this field.

Click here to see an example: 781

Spouse’s Given Names

The given names may be written either before or after the surname. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in this field.

Often, the name of an informant was included on the document. The informant’s relationship to the deceased may be identified by a field next to the name. If the relationship of the informant was not identified, do not index the informant as the spouse.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Mrs” or “Mr,” with the name. If a name was abbreviated, type it as it was written on the document. Do not type a period after the abbreviation. Do not index punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name.

If given names were not recorded or were written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Tab to skip this field.

Click here to see an example: Samuel

Spouse’s Surname

The surname may be written either before or after the given names. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields on the indexing screen. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, index it in the Given Names field.

Often, the name of an informant was included on the document. The informant’s relationship to the deceased may be identified by a field next to the name. If the relationship of the informant was not identified, do not index the informant as the spouse.

Maiden surnames should be typed in this field before married surnames.

Do not include titles or terms, such as “Mrs” or “Mr,” with the name. Do not include punctuation, except hyphens and apostrophes when they were written on the document as part of the name. Do not expand abbreviations. Type what you see in the document.

If the surname was not recorded or was written as a variation of the word “unknown,” press Tab to skip this field.

Click here to see an example: Wood


All photos within this post come from the FamilySearch Indexing links listed directly above each photo all other information comes from links provided at top of this post.

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Filed under Death Records, Family History, FamilySearch, Genealogy, Indexing, United States, Virginia