How can I look up death records WITHOUT paying for them or joining a site?
I shall assume you're asking about England and Wales.
Deaths post 1837 have been registered with the General Register Office (GRO).
You can search the death indices at Registration Services but you will need to register (free) so that might not meet your requirement.
An alternative is FreeBMD but the death indices there do not include age-at-death for all deaths, so may be less helpful than the GRO site.
In all cases, death registration indices will only provide information about the death registration district, quarter and year of the death registration and (maybe) age at death; to get full details you would need to order and pay for the death certificate.
Another alternative to find death registrations in some (not all) counties are the Local BMD indices accessed via UKBMD but again you will be limited to what is in the indices and you will not see the full certificate without paying for it. (Deaths were registered at a Local register office, and later centrally indexed at the GRO, which is why there are two options for finding registrations.)
Neither FreeBMD or the local indices require you to register at a site.
Burial record in Parish registers may also provide you with the information you seek. FreeBMD has a sister site FreeReg for Parish Registers, but the coverage is nowhere near complete yet. UKBMD can also point you to other optiions such as Online Parish Clarks and others who have transcribed records for some parishes; if you're lucky, you will find that somebody has covered your parish of interest.
And finally, FamilySearch has a wide range of historical records available that might yield what you want.
In the absence of you providing details about where and when the deaths occurred for which you seek records, I am going to make an assumption that it is Australia, so that even if this does not help you, it may help someone else who visits this Q&A.
The National Library of Australia provides a page on Australian birth, death and marriage records:
This guide to Australian birth, death and marriage (BDM) records provides:
- Links to State and Territory Registry offices and to [their] freely accessible online indexes, where available
If I were looking for a family member in South Australia, where I come from, I would follow the link to South Australia where it says:
The South Australian Government Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry does not provide an online searchable index service. However, Genealogy SA does provide an equivalent service through their free Online Database Search.
If I know my family member's name and date of death within a 7 year range then that search should enable me to find a record of that death in its index.
Obtaining more details of a death in South Australia, like a death certificate (or transcript of it), is not free, but simply finding a record of it, like that below (for my great grandfather) is free:
Year: 1943 Reg: 662/1786 Surname: STACY Given Name: Clement Howard Relative Name: undefined District: Adelaide
By searching the internet you may be able to find a free source of death records that includes your family members. To find the above site I started by typing: