I'm considering ordering the death certificate from the GRO for a relative who died in England. But before I order it, I want to make sure I have the right person. What information am I likely to learn from the certificate? Can I find the same information from other sources?
The GRO's new website with a searchable index that offers a means to order certificates online has a FAQ which includes What information will I see on a certificate? The GRO has a guide to death certificates which you can download for easy reference.
Depending on the year the death took place, a certificate might include:
- Name, date and place of death.
- Date and place of birth (before 1969 a certificate only showed age of deceased).
- Occupation and usual address.
- Cause of death.
- The person who gave information for the death registration.
Apart from the name of the person who gave the information for the death registration, the rest of this information might be recoverable from other sources, such as newspaper accounts, or the probate calendar (viewable online at the probate search website).
Articles such as the England Record Selection Table in the FamilySearch Wiki or Sources of Genealogical Information can give clues about other sources that might have the same information, and research guides like Civil Registration, Death (England & Wales) at GenGuide or the FamilySearch Wiki's article England Genealogy and its subpages can give insight into problems with coverage and offer research strategies.
Related questions on this site might also be of interest, such as
- Strategy to find death of individual with common name?
- What "hidden" clues are there in the GRO Indexes of births and deaths?
For more information on Civil Registration, see Cyndi's List: United Kingdom & Ireland » U.K. General » Birth, Marriage, Death.