In USA, are deaths registered in the state in which the death occurred?

+7 votes

I have two sources for the death of Elsie Carlock:

Obviously both are transcriptions, but provide different information from the original record. Mooseroots gives her Location of Last Residence as Deming, New Mexico, but doesn’t actually record the place of death. Findmypast lists the place of issue as Michigan.

In Australia, the death certificate is issued by the state in which the person actually died, regardless of where they usually lived. Is that not the case in the USA? A relative of Elsie's assures me she died in New Mexico. I’m just wondering why findmypast would have it issued in Michigan?

WikiTree profile: Elsie Carlock
in The Tree House by Wendy Scott G2G6 Mach 1 (17.6k points)
edited by Ellen Smith
I have seen an exception where a person that lived in Georgia but died in Tennessee also had a Georgia death certificate (which stated he died in Tennessee.)  Rare and I don't even know where to look for it but I know it's on one of my relative's profile.

1 Answer

+11 votes
Best answer
Mouseroots appears to be citing the Social Security Death Index. which normally lists the last residence.  That's not necessarily where the person died; it may be where they last received a social security benefit, for example.

I can't access the FMP link, but deaths here are registered by state.So if they're citing a state record, I would go with that one.
by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (273k points)
selected by Dale Byers
Concurring with Nan's statement: death records in the USA are kept by the individual state. My mother, for instance, died in Oregon USA, but the SSDI lists California - she had lived with my sister at that address before she returned to Oregon to a mental care facility in my home town.The death certificate lists the correct location.
Concurring on the Social Security statement.  The SSDI (Social Security Death Index) provides the location where the last payment check was sent.  It may be where the deceased last lived but does not always have to be.  If the last payment check went to a relative in another state (possibly across the country) you may be sent on a wild goose chase; however, from this info, you may learn where other relatives were living at the time of the death.
The death certificate will be recorded in the state where the death occurred.  Social Security does list the last place of residence but that may not be where the person died.  My father-in-law moved from Mississippi to Minnesota to live with us but he maintained his bank account in his home town in Mississippi where his social security check was automatical deposited by the government each month.  My father-in-law died while living with us in Minnesota and we returned his body to Mississippi for burial and his estate was probated in Mississippi.

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