Death Certificate

A death certificate is a document suitable for official purposes. A death certificate is used for many purposes such as arranging a burial/cremation, life insurance claims and conducting Family History Research.

A death certificate is a document that confirms the date, location and cause of a person’s death.

When someone dies, before a death certificate can be issued, the authorities will normally request that the coroner or physician provides a certificate to them confirming the cause of death and the identity of the deceased. In more complicated cases where it is not completely clear that a person is dead (maybe someone on life support), a neurologist is called in to verify brain death. They will complete the appropriate documentation.

Registration of deaths began in 1837.

The contents of a full/ long form death certificate is as follows:

  1. When & where died
  2. Name & surname
  3. Sex
  4. Age
  5. Occupation
  6. Cause of death
  7. Signature, description & residence of informant
  8. When registered
  9. Signature of registrar

A death certificate cannot be viewed or ordered at The National Archives. The General Register Office (GRO) keeps all certificates of deaths in England and Wales since 1837. If you are tracing a death before 1 July 1837, look for parish registers in local archives.

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