New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey then read on and hopefully we can help you out.

About New Jersey

The 3rd state to ratify the U.S. constitution and one of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey became a state on December 18th 1787 just 11 days after Delaware became the 1st. Named for the island of Jersey in the English Channel, its impressive coastline has made a top vacation destination in the U.S.

A central point within the early colonies New Jersey was the site of more Revolutionary battles than any other state. In fact many historians believe the battle of Trenton to be one of the pivotal battles in the entire war.

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 this state 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 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 Social Security Death Index 1935 – 2014

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
  • Gender
  • Sometimes race or ethnic group

Click here to search U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

New Jersey Death Index, 1901-2017

With nearly 5.5 million records this impressive index on covers over a century of death records in the state. It consists of pages of indexed death data which include very basic biographical information.

Where applicable you may find a death certificate number listed which will allow you to order a copy of the original document. This would hold far more detail regarding the deceased individual. It should be noted that you will need a paid membership to make use of this collection.

Click here to search New Jersey Death Index, 1901-2017

It should also be noted that the above collection is largely available to search for free at Reclaim the records. To search this index click here New Jersey Death Index, 1901-2017 (with gaps) from Reclaim the Records

New Jersey Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991

This is another collection found on so again it will require a paid membership to view fully and make use of. It includes over two centuries of wills and probate records which may offer up details about the person's death, their family and their worldly possessions.

Click here to search New Jersey Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991

New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980

This is a free collection from FamilySearch which you can utilize as long as you have a registered account on the site. It will likely have many of the records found in the above collection but actually goes back even further.

Click here to search New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980

Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County

Prior to standardized vital records becoming mandatory and the responsibility of the state it was county clerks who were recording deaths. This means that you might find older events at the county level and for New Jersey there are plenty of online options to help you with your research.

County Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County
  • See Essex County
  • See Mercer County


New Jersey does not allow death certificates to be displayed as part of online databases so to find these records you will need to order a copy. In order to do this you need the certificate number which can be found in several locations online within indexes.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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