I believe a particular gentleman was born in 1921, and died probably in California between 1970 to 1975, but was buried in Wilkes County, Georgia where he was born.

He had been a merchant seaman at one time.

How could I confirm his death details?

  • Welcome to G&FH SE! I've edited your question to remove the name of the gentleman because to discuss identifiable people here they must have been born within the last hundred years (genealogy.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic). This is a policy that we all struggle with and which has caused much discussion within our community (meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/1904). I am hoping that you will understand that we will do what we can to help you find the records to answer your question, but without naming that individual, in case he is still alive.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 16, 2015 at 7:34
  • If you have his grave details, and are just after his death record, then posting that could enable his name to be restored to your question.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 16, 2015 at 7:35
  • Hi PolyGeo Sorry dont have grave details. I am going on information from his families younger generation who remember their parents going to the funeral and there grandfather paying for the cost of sending him back to Georgia Jan 16, 2015 at 9:43
  • 2
    Welcome to G&FH.SE! If you have searched already and not found him, please add that information to the original question. Rootsweb has a searchable CA death index at vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ca/death/search.cgi
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 16, 2015 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


Regarding whether or not the name should have been allowed to be seen, the federal government limits census records going back for 72 years. For example, my husband, who was born in 1937, is shown on the last publicly-released census of 1940. That census was released in 2012. The next census to be released will be the 1950 census in 2022. My point is that someone born in 1921 would already be showing up in many places, i.e.: census records, California Death Index, Social Security Death Index, public records, and searchable newspaper indexes.

I would suggest the the name be searched for in the California Death Index (which extends to approximately 1996 or so, and should verify county of death) and also in the Social Security Death Index, which should provide his last place of residence. Once that is established, it would allow the requestor to contact the county, and order a copy of the death certificate, which would provide how the gentleman died. Sometimes, however, the death certificate will only be released to a lineal descendant.

  • Our privacy policy is something we struggle with and so we err on the side of caution. I'll take on board what you have said here to see if we can provide more examples of circumstances under which identifying details of people born less than 100 years ago may be used. Welcome to G&FH SE! I hope that you will answer and ask more questions here.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 6, 2016 at 23:50
  • Hi, Pat, welcome! While it's true that the US Federal Census records in the US are closed for 72 years, in other parts of the world, 100 years is the standard privacy period. Since we have users from all over the world, we use the broader standard.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 7, 2016 at 0:17
  • Thank both for the welcome. I wanted to add another resource for John Morgan... and that is to search the "Find-a-Grave" website in the area that he was buried at, which may provide dates of birth and death. That would help in accurately searching the other indexes that were mentioned.
    – Redwood
    Jun 7, 2016 at 18:38

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