Arizona Death Records and Death Index
You might be surprised how often genealogists face this set of circumstances. They know when their ancestor was born, when they married, when their children were born but they just can’t confirm when they died.
I have found a fair few instances where the only information missing is a death date and this can be very frustrating. This is why knowing what death records may be available to you can be vital in your research.
It is important to note that one of the biggest issues in finding a death record can be looking in the wrong place. You may be surprised how often people miss records because they are looking in the wrong county and sometimes even the wrong state.
In this post we will be looking at Arizona State death records and indexes to try and help you find those elusive ancestors. So if you are confident that your ancestor likely died in the state of Arizona then read on and hopefully we can help you out.
Arizona, also known as the Grand Canyon State, was until 1848 part of Spanish and Mexican territory. It was ceded to the United States in 1848 and would become its own territory in 1863. It was February 14th 1912 that Arizona became the 48th State of the Union just one month after their neighbors New Mexico.
This relatively small state with an area of 113,990 square miles had a population of almost 6.4 million in 2010 and goes by the motto "Ditat Deus" (God Enriches). For much of the state's history its economy focused around the so called 5-C’s Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate.
Social Security Death Index 1935 – 2014
All American citizens, naturalized immigrants and resident aliens require a Social Security number for proof of identification and authorization to work. This number follows us throughout our life and when we die this nine digit code is very important.
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of death records that was compiled from the United States Social Security Administration Death Master File. This was until 2014 when the rules changed and public access to the Death Master File had to take place through a certification program.
Those researching the deaths of ancestors in Alabama will likely find that most people who have died between 1936 and 2014 can be found on the Social Security Death Index. This does however only hold true if the person had a Social Security number when they died.
It is estimated that since 1973 the SSDI recorded 93% to 96% of the deaths of individuals aged 65 or over. The index was updated frequently and by June of 2011 there were 89,835,920 records available.
The index can be found on websites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com and offers details such as:
- Given name and surname (middle initial since the 1990s)
- Date of birth
- Month and year of death (Full date of death for accounts active after 2000)
- Social Security number
- State or territory Social Security number was issued
- Last place of residence when alive including ZIP code
U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
This is more or less an extension of the information you can find from the Social Security Death Index. It has been extracted from the SSDI records but features more details. It does not include all of the names found in the SSDI however but there are at least 49 million names included.
In this record you may find additional information such as:
- Date and place of birth
- Parents names if deceased would be over 75 when you are viewing the records (may be redacted if under 75)
- Citizenship status
- Sometimes race or ethnic group
Arizona Death Certificates, 1870-early 1972; and Birth Certificates, 1855-early 1947
This index comes from the Arizona Department of Health Services and allows you to search for both birth and death records for the state of Arizona. You can search by name and approximate dates of birth and death and see digital images as a PDF.
In terms of death records they become available on the site 50 years after the event was filed. This means at present as of 2022 the year range for death certificates is 1800 – 1972. The details you can find from these death certificates include:
- Full name including maiden name is applicable
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Names and places of birth for parents
- Cause of death
- Informant of death (often a family member such as a child or surviving spouse)
Birth records are also available at this site and are released 75 years after the event so you could find birth certificates from between 1800 – 1947.
Arizona Deaths, 1870-1951
This database is found at FamilySearch.org and features 264,534 images of death certificates. They are arranged in chronological order and by county. Again as with the above index you can learn all of the same things.
It should be noted that this database does not cover dates that occur as recently as the one above, available through Arizona’s Department of Health Services.
Arizona: County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971
This database is found on Ancestry so as such will need a subscription to view. It is made up of various death and coroner records and is drawn from various Arizona counties. The potential details you can learn from this database include:
- Date of death
- Place of death
- Age at the time of death
- Cause of death
- Dates and locations of obituaries
- Date and place of birth
- Location of interment
- Marital status
- Parents’ names and birthplaces
Some counties may have more detailed collections than others.
County Specific Indexes
Those who know what county their ancestor may have died in might be wise to look at some county specific databases. The table below will show some of these.
|County||Obituary & Cemetery Indexes by County|
|Maricopa and Phoenix||
Arizona Gravestone Photo Project
Some people may not deem a gravestone as a death record due to the obvious potential for incorrect information. It is not unusual for engravers ro make an error or for the purchaser to have some dates incorrect.
They still have value though so this is why we mention cemeteries and gravemarkers. The Arizona Gravestone project for instance has over 100,000 photos of grave markers in the state. If you can’t find it here you can also visit FindaGrave as well.
Arizona has a long and varied history which has seen Spanish rule and eventual statehood. It also has a deep Native American heritage in the form of the Navajo nation. Its death records can be traced back into the 1800s.
Arizona is one of those states that will unseal birth and death records for public viewing after a certain length of time which makes it a handy place to have had ancestors from. There are some states that require you to apply for and pay for access to such records.
Link To or Reference This Page
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" Arizona Death Records and Death Index". NameCensus.com. Accessed on October 1, 2023. https://namecensus.com/blog/arizona-death-records-and-death-index/.
" Arizona Death Records and Death Index". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/blog/arizona-death-records-and-death-index/. Accessed 1 October, 2023
Arizona Death Records and Death Index. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/blog/arizona-death-records-and-death-index/.