California Death Index, 1940 to 1997

The California Death Records Index holds 9,289,235 death records between the years of 1940 and 1997. The death records in this index were compiled from the California Department of Public Health, which operates the Center for Health Statistics for the state. For more information on the role of this office, visit their website at California Department of Public Health Center for Health Statistics .

Information Available In This Collection

The death records within the California Death Records Index typically contain the full name of the deceased, date of death, birth date and location, father's name and mother's maiden name, location of death and gender of deceased. Any missing information is a result of an incomplete source death record.

About the California Department of Public Health Center for Health Statistics

The Center for Health Statistics, which is overseen by the California Department of Public Health, is responsible for maintaining the state's vital records. This includes death certificates, but also encompasses all records of births, marriages, fetal deaths and divorces within California dating back to 1905. This equals over 45 million vital records at present.

The Center for Health Statistics is not only responsible for being the state's central repository for vital records,, but also issues certified copies of vital records like death certificates to the public and typically distribute 120,000 vital record copies annually. In addition, they are striving to enter many of these vital records into a digital database and have succeeded in transferring over 15 million records.

In California, death records are protected and considered private instead of public information. They are, therefore, not released to the public, but only to authorized individuals, which include a blood relative or spouse of the deceased for a death record and the person on record or person related by blood or marriage for a birth certificate. However, if the death record is for informational purposes only and an authorized copy is not required, anyone may obtain this version of the death record, which will only include information deemed not private.

The Center for Health Statistics only accepts mailed requests for death records, both authorized and informational, and the typical turn around time is six weeks. If a death certificate copy is needed sooner, individuals must visit the county recorder's office where the death occurred and request the death record there. For additional information on obtaining a death record from the Center for Health Statistics, visit:

California Department of Public Health Center for Health Statistics
PO Box 997410
Sacramento, California 95899
916-445-2684


California Record Collections

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