Maine Death Records and Death Index
It may surprise you to learn how often genealogists face this particular set of circumstances. They are aware of when their ancestor was born, when they may have married, when their children were born but they just can’t find out when they died.
There are a fair few instances where the only information missing is the death date which 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 Maine 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 Maine then read on and hopefully we can help you out.
The largest of the six New England States, Maine became the 23rd state to join the Union on March 15th 1820. This was part of a deal known as the Missouri Compromise which saw Missouri enter the Union as a slave state a few months later. Maine was entered as a free state.
Famous for its amazing seafood industry and specifically for the lobsters which are caught in its waters Maine is a very touristic state. With thousands of square miles of natural beauty it is also known as the Pine Tree State and rather amusingly Vacationland.
The earliest English colonists arrived in Maine around 1607 the same year in which Virginia’s Jamestown was founded. Until 1820 when it became its own state Maine was actually a district of Massachusetts.
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 Maine 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
Click here to search Ancestrydeathindex
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
Click here to search AncestryDeathindex
Maine Death Index, 1960-1997
This index can be found on Ancestry.com and as such will require a paid subscription to view. You will note that it is relatively recent in terms of the years covered so you would think less important in terms of genealogy.
Actually however this index can help you find and order a copy of a grandparent's or great grandparent's death certificate if they died between 1960 – 1997. On those documents you may discover information concerning their parents.
This index itself does not have images of the certificate but you can find basic details about the death, the person and the certificate number. This number will be needed to order a copy of the actual certificate.
Click here to search Maine Death Index, 1960-1997
Maine Death Records, 1761-1922
This is another death index from Ancestry.com but this time it covers reported deaths from 1761 – 1922. Many of these records will have been reported at the county level prior to standardized state issued death certificates in the early 1900s.
The older records will be sparse so it is possible that your ancestors' deaths may not be recorded. If they were recorded at the county level they may be in this index or in some other online local index.
Search here for Maine Death Records, 1761-1922
Maine Vital Records and Cemetery Indexes
This is not just one index but actually a group of indexes available for free through FamilySearch. This is a website created by the Mormon church which is free to use as long as you start an account. The link at the end of this section will actually take you to a list of the death indexes and records.
You will find indexes for cemeteries, vital records, wills, probates and other helpful databases.
Click here to search FamilySearch Maine Vital Records and Cemetery Indexes
Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County
There are only 16 counties in Maine and almost all of them have some form of online death index which can help you with local research. When looking for early deaths that pre-date death certificates it is always a good idea to look at the county level.
Maine is not a large state but most of its 16 counties have genealogical resources that can help researchers try and find ancestors' death records. As the state has a long history you might potentially find very early death records but also it is possible that your more distant ancestors' deaths went unrecorded.
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" Maine Death Records and Death Index". NameCensus.com. Accessed on December 6, 2023. https://namecensus.com/blog/maine-death-records-and-death-index/.
" Maine Death Records and Death Index". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/blog/maine-death-records-and-death-index/. Accessed 6 December, 2023
Maine Death Records and Death Index. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/blog/maine-death-records-and-death-index/.