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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cause of Death

From: KCx2L
I was looking at the article you had sent about Social Security. Also looked at the SSDI [Social Security Death Index.] I typed my ex's name in, and it was there. If I were to order a copy of the death certificate, does it list cause of death?? Just wanted to find out for my boys sake.


The Social Security Administration will not have his death certificate. If you request information, they will send you a copy of his SS-5, the application for the original number. This proves his parentage, since some sort of documentation had to accompany the original application. See: for more info.

As to the death certificate, that is usually obtained from the state government in question. Death certificates do normally include the attending physician's signature under his indication of cause of death. The same would be true if a coroner made a determination of cause of death. The problem occurs if the death took place in a state where they purposefully mark out the cause of death for "right of privacy." This makes it impossible to accurately compile a medical family history for your sons. Since you are divorced from the man, you probably won't have as much success in obtaining the unmarked death certificate. Ask one of your legal age sons to send in the request, with the expressed purpose of compiling his medical family history.

Online genealogists go to and then to the state in question, to determine the web site and contact information for the appropriate office of vital statistics or state health department. The office goes by various names in the different states. Alternately, one may look in ANCESTRY'S REDBOOK or EVERTON'S HANDYBOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS (books in libraries with genealogy reference sections) to locate the contact information. Some offices accept email or fax requests, others require snail mail letters.

DearMYRTLE. "Family Health Report." Briefly describes Myrt's experiences using a free program from the U.S. Surgeon General's office to document and diagram her medical family history.

Have any of my readers had experiences compiling MEDICAL FAMILY HISTORIES? Please drop me a line and share your experiences with the rest of us.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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