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How to Find Out About A Person's Death

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in LawDecember 21, 2021

 In our busy lives, it is easy to lose touch with friends and even family members. You might find yourself curious to learn what they have been up to or even if anyone in the family has passed away. Distance may make bringing up the topic of death awkward but don't worry; there are many ways you can find out if someone you know has passed away.

find an obituary for a specific person

What You Need to Start Investigating

Before you decide to search for details surrounding someone's death, you will need some information. The more details you have, the better. Different methods of searching will require specific information. Gather as much as you can and at the very least collect the person's:

  • Full name at birth.

  • Date of birth.

  • Place of birth.

  • Current address (city/state at least).

  • Family members' names and details.

If you have other information like an old email address or phone number, those could come in handy also. Prepare for your investigation by having as much information as possible. Relatives' names can also be valuable. 

8 Methods of Finding Out if Someone Has Died

There are various ways of finding information about someone. You can try a combination of the methods below to find out everything you want, including any deaths.

1. Search Online

The first place to start is with a general online search. You can enter the person's name along with their age or date of birth in Google to see what comes up. Next, you can combine the person's name and the word “death” or “obituary” to see if that yields any helpful results. If you come up empty-handed, move on to these other options.

2. Social Media

Roughly 75% of Americans use social media, even older folks. You can easily reach out on social media and see if anyone knows the person you are looking for or any information about their life/death. You may connect with relatives of that person and check in with them. If the person is still alive, you may find them on social media and can quickly reach out to reconnect. Sometimes when someone dies, the family will leave the social media account up for a memorial or tribute to the deceased. You can post a message there and reach out to members of the family.

3. Read Online Obituaries

Most mortuaries and funeral homes post obituaries online now. You can search through online newspaper listings as well to find notices of someone's passing. You can even go old-school and check out the actual local newspaper. 

4. Check Government Sources

Death records are kept and managed by government offices in the area where the person died. If you are looking for someone older, those records may be held in archives. Some county and state offices post-death records online, making them easy to find. But sometimes you have to visit the town clerk's office to get them. You may have to pay a fee to get copies. Some death records will contain the cause of death, and others may not. Access to some death records in certain states may be restricted to family only.

Every state has a vital records department where you can obtain information about what records they keep, how to obtain copies, what the requirements are, and how the process works. 

You can also consult the CDC's National Death Index to find someone who has passed away. Another handy database to consult is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) which may also give you the information you need.

5. Genealogy Websites

Another great tool is one of the many genealogy websites online where you can sign up for an account and search for friends, family members, and distant relatives. You may have to be related to the person before you can obtain specific details about their death, though. You may also have to pay for a membership or subscription.

6. County Courthouses

You can also visit the county courthouse in your area and ask for court records of deceased persons. However, courts often charge a fee, and they will require specific information to search and find the documents you want. You may also have to wait a while for your records.

7. Other Options

You can also visit your local library to find records. Someone there can help you access old registries, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and other resources that might fill in the blanks for you. 

If your area has a local historical society, you could also check in with them. If the person you are researching died a long time ago, this might be your best bet.

8. Public Records

One of the fastest ways to get information on another person is through public records. There is a wealth of information out there on just about everyone. For example, through public records, you could find out about property the person owned, which could lead you to a notice of their death and sale of their estate. 

Public records are perfectly legal and accessible by anyone. However, they are typically spread all over the place among various different government agencies. Checking public records individually could be a time-consuming activity and might be challenging and even expensive if you have to pay for each copy. However, there is a better way to search public records. 

Using the InfoTracer search tool and a quick name search, not only could you find out about the person's life and death, but you could also see any marriages and divorces, liens, bankruptcies, criminal records, court records, lawsuits, sex crimes, driving violations, properties they owed, other assets, dark web information, social media details, previous addresses, phone numbers, email accounts and so much more. InfoTracer culls millions of records from public records sources and private data sources, including social media.

The Bottom Line

A thorough public records search will yield you the quickest and best results. Using this method, you could find out more about someone than you ever expected.

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