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

About New Mexico

In 1853 as part of the Gadsden Purchase the region known today as New Mexico was purchased by the U.S. making it a territory. It would be almost 60 years before New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state on January 6th 1912.

Despite the name it is interesting to note that the Manhattan project did not take place in New York in fact it was actually New Mexico. It was on July 16th 1945 that the first atomic bomb created by this project was tested in Central New Mexico. The explosion is said to have been felt as far as 160 miles away.

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 Mexico Death Certificates, 1889 - 1945

This collection is found on the FamilySearch website which is free to use as long as you have an account with the site. It contains a collection of death registers and scanned death certificates spanning 1889 – 1945.

The death certificates can give us a great deal of information including vital biographical data, information as to cause of death and the names of the deceased parents if known by the documents informant.

It should be noted that the records are not perfectly organized so you may have to scan small sections to find the correct documents.

Click here to search New Mexico Death 1889 - 1945

New Mexico Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1993

This collection of wills and probate records is found on the website and as such will require a paid membership to view and use. It covers almost two centuries of legal records that may contain details pertaining to the deceased’s family and their financial status.

Click here to search New Mexico Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1993

Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County

There are several online collections to help research state death records but there are also plenty of options to help research on the county level as well. This can be especially beneficial for records that predate standardized state vital record recording rules.

County Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County
  • See Valencia County
Dona Ana
Las Cruces
  • See Dona Ana
Los Alamos
  • See Chaves County
San Juan
Santa Fe


New Mexico is a fairly new state comparatively speaking so its vital records got a late start on the state level. That said there are plenty of online options to help you find out grave locations, obituaries and county level death indexes.

It should always be remembered the further back we go the greater chance there is that a record of our ancestor's death was not made. Once mandatory vital record keeping began at the state level however the death should be reported and a death certificate should have been issued.

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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